Dorset HealthCare NHS Foundation Trust (DHFT) are a a Specialist Trust providing Mental Health, Learning Disability, Addictions, Community Brain Injury and Community Dental Services for over 700,000 people in Eastern Dorset and a number of services across the whole of Dorset. They had a pressing need for data centre space to meet growing requirements. However, sited on a limited power supply, expanding the data centre was not possible as the main power phase was stretched to the limit.
Healthcare IT specialist MCSA, developed a creative resilient solution that unlocked space, reduced power draw and provided a flexible future proofed infrastructure.
DHFT sits on a limited spur of the local electricity network and is housed in an old Victorian building with poor energy performance credentials. Legacy infrastructure also generated considerable amounts of heat that demanded large amounts of cooling, which in turn drew heavily on power.
With pressure to increase capability to cope with N3 and Community of Interest Network (COIN) projects, the IT team had to find space and power to house two full cabinets of equipment.
A solution needed to be found to solve the issue and ensure business continuity.
MCSA used a Novell PlateSpin PowerRecon Assessment to qualify that DHFT could consolidate its existing estate of over 30 servers, reducing power requirement and saving space.
The team developed a value for money plan to consolidate the Trust’s Windows server estate, based on HPE DL Servers, but maintaining some existing HPE UNIX technology for flexibility. Virtualisation became the only feasible option given the constraints of the challenge.
Three HPE blades running VMware ESX and two management blades have been introduced. The application of VMWare and blade architecture has paved the way for future projects to consolidate and migrate both live and legacy UNIX systems to a virtual environment.
The team had to design a tight implementation plan with little tolerance for downtime, given a need to test and introduce the virtual infrastructure before cooler autumn months, when the Trust’s power requirement classically went up.
Equally, the team had to design a staged and managed process of build and migration as the poor power availability limited parallel operation of new and old infrastructures.
Nigel Rodgers, Head of Information Technology at the Trust, said: “We have consolidated our infrastructure by 67% and saved 74% on our energy bill thanks to a refined and efficient data centre that meets green IT imperatives.
“We have future-proofed the Trust’s capability to accommodate the next generation of applications and deliver services beyond community of interest projects.
“We have unlocked flexible backup, improved its speed and can test encryption processes. This has elevated the credibility of our DR and backup policies, providing an extra layer of security and resilience.
“Overall we have achieved 100% resilience, eliminating physical issues, black-outs and downtime since project delivery.”