NHS Stockport data infrastructure overhauled alongside tech partners

The digital transformation project at the Stockport NHS Foundation Trust, which brought together capabilities from CDW, Cisco and Cohesity, resulted in application performance being 20 times faster, and allowed the trust to save licensing costs.

Led by the trust’s network and unified communications lead, Hugh Hughes, has been able to overcome new challenges that have come with running a large network of hospitals and clinics across various sites, while treating over half a million patients a year.

The project

Solutions provider CDW worked with NHS Stockport to design and implement a new IT infrastructure, with CDW assessing options as part of a vendor-agnostic process before recommending Cisco and Cohesity.

From here, Cisco delivered its Hyperflex hyperconverged infrastructure solution, as well as its Intersight SaaS Systems Management platform, and Application Centric Infrastructure.

Cohesity software was then installed on Cisco UCS servers to provide modern data management tools, fast backup, and data recovery capabilities.

The Cisco and Cohesity solutions were deployed across NHS Stockport’s two data centres, providing integrated backup, archiving and file storage capabilities.

With the new capabilities, the trust can leverage synchronous replication, continuous backups, and failover, increasing the resiliency of its data centres in the face of possible cyber attacks and decreasing backup time from days to hours, or even to minutes in the case of some workloads.

As part of the upgrade, the overhaul meets UK data regulations, by including ISO 270001 certification, the international standard for data security, in its backup system.

In addition, the IT team, which consists of just 25 staff members and is responsible for delivering services for over 6,000 employees, has access to a dashboard to monitor usage and capacity, as well as predicting future requirements, which has increased operational efficiency.

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“When you have disparate systems and too many management tools, there can be problems with backups, integrations and licensing,” said NHS Stockport network and unified communications lead, Hughes. “We no longer have those problems, thanks to CDW, Cisco and Cohesity.

“We now have the right data centre infrastructure in place, and we know we’ll get more out of it in the months and years ahead.”

Joachim Mason, UKI director, specialists at Cisco, said: “Having a simplified, robust and resilient data centre infrastructure is important for any organisation, but for healthcare providers, it can be critical. That’s why we’re proud to support NHS Stockport together with Cohesity and CDW.

“Our hyperconverged infrastructure solutions, and SaaS management platform means that the foundation gets a simplified, holistic view of its data centre, while also saving costs and speeding up critical applications.”

Andrew Fitzgerald, sales director, Western Europe at Cohesity, added: “Given the size and specific requirements of NHS Stockport’s IT team, it was clear that a simplified backup and recovery system was needed to ensure operational efficiency, while also helping the team meet the governance requirements.

“By consolidating the Trust’s legacy IT infrastructure, Cohesity was able to deliver a highly efficient data management solution that removed infrastructure silos so often seen in healthcare organisations.

“In addition, the NHS Stockport team was able to leverage backup data for development testing while enhancing its security posture – critical as more organisations are being targeted by cyber attacks.”

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Future plans

Going forward, CDW will continue providing long-term support to NHS Stockport, and is looking to help the trust add policy-driven micro-segmentation, multi-tenancy and assurance to the data centre environment.

This solution will be extended to all Stockport NHS hospital campuses and clinics, using a combination of Cisco ACI, Cisco Meraki and Cisco DNA solutions.

“As a long-standing IT services and solutions provider for Stockport NHS Foundation Trust, we’re proud to work with an organisation that is dedicated to delivering high-quality patient care,” said Eoin Perera, head of healthcare at CDW UK.

“We also recognise that outdated IT infrastructure presents major challenges to most healthcare organisations, risking financial wastage, data-breaches, and inefficiencies.

“Using an agnostic approach, we worked closely with Stockport NHS Foundation Trust to orchestrate the most suitable technology solution to meet its requirements.

“This digital transformation project shows healthcare leaders that you can upgrade IT infrastructure quickly, securely and save money in the process.”

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Aaron Hurst

Aaron Hurst is Information Age's senior reporter, providing news and features around the hottest trends across the tech industry.