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Posted by John Lamb PM | on Tue, 20/09/2011 - 14:10  1536

Royal College of General Practitioners goes virtual

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has upgraded its ICT infrastructure with virtualised servers and a new network in a move it says will improve service to users.
 
Under pressure from its 42,000 members, the professional body for family doctors has consolidated over 40 servers to an estate of just six using VMware and introduced a NetApp storage and disaster recovery solution.
 
RCGP's previous infrastructure supported 28 sites around the UK and was based on out-of-date servers. According to the body's Head of IT, Andy Smith, this topolog lacked flexibility, could not support the demands of the business and was unable to guarantee disaster recovery.
 
"There was a lack of cohesion and spending was happening in too much of an ad hoc way, in my opinion," he went on. "All in all our operational capability was not fit for purpose and I needed to change that - radically."
 
Smith called in solutions firm Vohkus to implement a NetApp storage and disaster recovery system centred on VMware. The implementor installed two FAS2040 systems from the supplier, located in two data centres, using a software system called Snapmirror to replicate between them.
 
The move to install a scalable platform, new network in the data centre and migration of the entire estate from a physical to a virtual set-up, took eight weeks. 
 
The installation has enabled RCGP to reduce the number of peripherals it operates from 100 to less than 10 as well as providing hot desking, Smith added, a move he says has also left him in a much better state to deal with any business change requests going forward.
 
"They can throw me as hard a curveball as they like now - as they tend to,"" he joked. "But I know I can cope with it."

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