NHS Consortium: Saves Time & Money with Scalable IaaS - BrightCloud Technologies
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NHS Consortium: Saves Time & Money with Scalable IaaS


Executive Summary

When three NHS Trusts were proposing to roll out the same application to just a small number of staff, they needed a solution that would be very cost effective and easily scale from hundreds to thousands of users. Internal infrastructure, budgetary and timescale demands meant the best way to deliver the project was to host the application externally.

Once the design of the hosted infrastructure was agreed with the consortium and software provider, BrightCloud took just five days to set up a tested system ready for the initial pilot phase. As performance is vital to the three trusts within the consortium, BrightCloud also provide network and infrastructure performance monitoring, allowing issues to be identified before they impact the users’ experience.

This project demonstrates the absolute value of cloud services when wanting or needing to deliver a fast, faultless and accessible solution.

The ability to Scale in both power and cost and to add and decrease users as required is as invaluable as the guaranteed security that comes with a privately hosted solution.

NHS Spokesperson

Challenges

doctor with ipadThree NHS Trusts were proposing to roll out the same application to just a small number of staff, but over time the scope would grow to thousands of users. The objective of the application was to streamline processes, increase efficiency and control costs. It was therefore essential that the cost of installation and on-going management and maintenance of the application was in line with this and carefully controlled.

The obvious solution for the internal IT team would have been a single shared system, but there were operational issues relating to the internal infrastructure that made this difficult to deliver. Additionally, the capital costs of building a scalable platform were huge and beyond the realistic spend of a carefully controlled IT budget. Add to this the estimated six month lead time to implement an internal solution and the project started to become an untenable option for the NHS Trust consortium.

Following a recommendation from the author of the software, the decision was made to externally host the staffing application with an external partner.

The Solution

Security was at the top of the agenda. Staff needed the option to access the system from within the secure N3 network and from their home locations via the internet. With this in mind, BrightCloud designed a data protected solution using Citrix NetScaler, the Gartner Magic Quadrant recommended application delivery controller. This would broker secure access to the application without a direct connection, while still allowing remote access to the application from users on their home internet connection. This also ensured that the NHS consortium was compliant with IGSoc guidelines.

BrightCloud designed an initial cloud – based framework with shared SQL resources; this immediately minimised infrastructure and license costs. Three application servers were then added to guarantee fast performance to the entire user community. This scalable cloud meant BrightCloud could plan the database, starting with the initial low number of users, but with the scope to scale to a considerable system as demand grew.  With continued collaboration, it was later decided to move the consortium to three separate database servers.

This build approach meant that the consortium would only pay monthly for the IT resources it was actually using. It’s also quick and easy to scale up (or down) as resource needs change, allowing the consortium to start small and remain in control of costs.

We are very proud of the recognition our BrightCloud hosting and managed services have within the NHS, from Trusts through to specialist agencies including the Ambulance and NHS Blood and Transplant services.

Our reputation comes from our team’s ability to guarantee the availability, scalability and security of the vital data and applications essential to the day-to-day functioning of these life-saving bodies that make up the NHS.

Duncan Little, Managing Director, BrightCloud

Once the design of the hosted infrastructure was agreed with the consortium and software provider, BrightCloud took just five days to set up a tested system ready for the initial pilot phase.

The pilot phase took longer than anticipated as users got used to the new application and processes, but this meant that the launch phase was very smooth. It also proved that being able to access the system remotely helped enormously and users liked the option they now had to work from any access device, from anywhere and at any time.

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