The MEHS NHS Trust employs nearly 4,000 staff to provide local elective and emergency services to 380,000 people living in and around the districts of Chelmsford, Maldon and Braintree. The Trust also provides a county-wide plastics, head, neck and upper gastrointestinal surgical centre to a population of 3.4 million. Also provided, is a world-renowned, supra regional burns service at the St Andrew’s Centre that serves a population of 9.8 million.
To support its growth and further improve patient care, the Trust needed to optimise how it delivered all services and applications, across its two data centres, by refreshing its IT infrastructure. The Trust looked to initiate key transformation programmes that included; improving data protection and availability requirements plus server consolidation.
One key area the Trust needed to improve was its disaster recovery (DR) capability – so it could achieve complete site-to-site recovery of its services – with minimal downtime. The Trust’s original storage environment of HPE EVA fibre channel disk arrays faced future operational and support challenges. With greater data volumes needing to be backed up faster, the Trust wanted a new storage and DR system that could accommodate increasing workloads – and provide better operational continuity.
The Trust required an IT partner to help them create a long-term infrastructure that could effectively deliver its services – now and into the future. The Trust chose MCSA, partnering with HPE, to design and implement a high performance, scalable, manageable, available and resilient architecture. MCSA was selected as it possessed an excellent track record of delivering best-in-class technology implementations – across the UK healthcare sector.
The starting point of the infrastructure modernisation programme was the refresh of the Trust’s storage solution. MCSA worked in partnership with the Trust to migrate data and services from its legacy HPE EVA environment to the new HPE 3PAR StoreServ 7000 Storage platform. The new solution ensures that the Trust deliver an “always on” service provision of its critical, clinical services.
Equipped with a highly stable and better performing platform, the Trust was able to deploy more services and proceeded with its virtualisation strategy of services, delivered from two virtualised data centres – geographically separated on campus.
As its infrastructure has grown rapidly, the Trust must ensure that its data is backed up for both compliance and DR purposes, the Trust invested in HPE DataProtector and dual site replicated HPE StoreOnce disc backup solution. This move has provided 99.8% data backup success, and availability of services is now significantly improved – in excess 99.5%.
As part of the end of a national contract, the Trust also had to localise its digital picture archive system. This proximity shift enables greater access speeds of patient records – from minutes to seconds, which further improves customer care. MCSA worked with the Trust to provide the supporting infrastructure to enable this initiative.
The Trust now has a highly efficient, costeffective and available storage environment, which ultimately improves patient services. The new platform enables the Trust to spend less time managing storage, instead focusing resources on growing the business. With faster data access times for the Trust’s end-users, a better end-user experience is also being achieved, the Trust’s data backup capabilities are greatly enhanced too – with more data being restored – moving from terabytes to petabytes.
The Trust also reduced its purchasing of storage capacity by 75%, with a reduction in 100 servers – the result was less equipment to maintain, fewer disks to power and cool and less hardware to retire after its end of life. Also, from an environmental perspective they were also able to show a reduced carbon footprint – delivering an estimated £40,000 per year saving in energy consumption costs alone.
Jon Clark, infrastructure manager at Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust, said, “MCSA and HPE teams possessed excellent technical skills and were very effective in making sure that the project was delivered with minimal disruption – on time and budget. We now possess a better performing, available and secure storage environment.”