Simplifying your IT infrastructure

Lincolnshire County Council (LCC) has begun an IT infrastructure change programme that it predicts will significantly reduce IT support and administration costs over the next four years.
    
The large-scale migration and transition project is one of six public sector projects currently being undertaken by the ICT integrator Fordway Solutions. The migration includes seeing the Council move its 5,500 users from Netware/Groupwise to Windows/Exchange, creating a centralised single operating system, as well as server consolidation taking over 80 servers off remote sites. As a result the Council will benefit from faster recovery, application compatibility and a simplified infrastructure that is significantly easier to maintain and manage.
    
“We realised that we needed a faster, more reliable IT infrastructure,” explains John Ward, programme manager at Lincolnshire County Council. “Without it we wouldn’t be able to support new ways of working for our staff, which is a key element of enabling us to provide improved service for customers.”
    
The project is part of the council’s ACORN initiative (Actively Creating Opportunities for Remote & New Ways of Working), which incorporates three key elements; the above migration from Novell to Microsoft, replacement of the WAN (wide area network) and expansion of thin client. ACORN is scheduled for completion in 2010.
    
For the migration LCC chose ICT integrator Fordway, who won the business through EU journal tender because of its extensive experience in the sector.
    
“We have an enviable track record of managing highly-complex infrastructure change for public sector organisations,” said Richard Blanford, managing director of Fordway. “This is because we believe in delivering on-time and on-budget and in designing a solution that directly reflects the organisation’s objectives.”

Meeting public sector needs
Other Fordway public sector projects underway include a corporate governance project for the University of Cumbria, long-term infrastructure change management for Somerset County Council, and SAN installation for the Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
    
Earlier this year the integrator was appointed to the National Health Service’s Additional Supply Capability and Capacity framework, one of only 38 officially approved IT systems suppliers for the National Programme for IT (NPfIT) and wider IT-based projects in the NHS.
    
Fordway’s other public sector clients include Leicestershire County Council, Devon and Cornwall Police, Bournemouth Borough Council, the Council of the Borough of Oswestry, Wycombe District Council and Chiltern Borough Council.
    
For both the Countess of Chester Acute Trust and in a recent project for Hammersmith and Fulham Primary Care Trust, Fordway provided server and data storage consolidation that reduced the complexity and cost of managing their IT infrastructure, significantly improving the performance and resilience whilst ensuring considerably faster system recovery.

Optimised infrastructure
Fordway is now offering a new managed and hosted infrastructure service. It claims this will provide them with cost savings of around 25 per cent per annum to deliver and support a standard corporate desktop, including their key applications.
    
The service is based on many of the principles on which the new IT infrastructure at Lincolnshire County Council is designed, but uses thin client application delivery rather than desktops managed by SMS.
    
Savings are generated by reducing both operational and management costs. Bandwidth optimisation, central provisioning via a web portal, optimised server usage – reducing rack space requirements and energy costs – less hardware and lower maintenance costs plus virtualisation of almost every element combine to generate the 25 per cent savings.
    
These figures are based on benchmarking the optimised infrastructure with several medium sized organisations in both public and private sectors, and apply whether the desktop is delivered via the hosted service or dedicated use of the managed infrastructure service.

Best of breed technology
The solution combines ‘best of breed’ technology – using products from VMware, Commvault, Riverbed, Citrix, Microsoft and Compellent – with ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) process improvement, ISO27000 information security and Fordway’s APAC (Alignment, Performance, Agility and Constraints) IT governance. It enables organisations to improve their business efficiency, reduce IT infrastructure costs, lower the risk of a business outage, improve resilience and speed of recovery in the event of a disaster and maximise the return on their investment. “We are offering what you might term an ‘infrastructure in a box’, explains Richard Blanford.“ We have parcelled our expertise in IT governance and business alignment, operational processes improvement and pre-integrated technology to provide the complete optimised IT infrastructure for public sector organisations.  
    
“They can choose whether they want us just to provide an optimised infrastructure, to provide it and manage it for them, or to host it for them and deliver their corporate desktop as a service. Whichever solution they choose will reduce their IT costs significantly.
    
“Organisations can no longer increase their competitive advantage by optimising every aspect of their IT themselves. They should treat the provisioning, operation and management of their IT infrastructure as a utility which someone else can manage and run on their behalf, allowing them to focus on specialised applications, business intelligence and information management which add real value to their organisation.”
    
Blanford concludes with a challenge: “We believe we can install this solution and run it for whatever an organisation is budgeting to spend on their IT infrastructure in the next three years and save them money. We are prepared to offer a money-back guarantee if we can’t achieve this, and challenge medium and large organisations to put us to the test.”

For more information
Fordway will be holding a number of seminars around the UK to explain more about the new service. Anyone who would like further information should call
01483 528220, e-mail seminars@fordway.com or visit www.fordway.com

Please register to comment on this article