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University Hospitals of Leicester

The University Hospitals of Leicester go from hard-to-administer Microsoft DNS and DHCP to 99.999 percent availability—in spite of a limited staff.


Industry: Healthcare

The Customer

The University Hospitals of Leicester is one of the busiest and largest NHS Trusts in the UK. The hospital campus, which is spread out across a six mile area, includes Glenfield Hospital, Leicester General Hospital and Leicester Royal Infirmary. The Hospitals employ more than 12,000 staff and provide services for nearly two million people across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.

In 2006 the University Hospitals of Leicester began a network infrastructure refresh project. This included edge routers and a migration to an IP telephony phone system, including 8,000 new handsets for more than 12,000 employees across three campuses.

The Challenge

The Hospital previously relied on Microsoft servers to deliver and manage domain name resolution (DNS) and IP address assignment (DHCP); however, the systems were difficult to administrator and would not scale to meet the University Hospitals of Leicester infrastructure needs, especially those for the new IP telephony system which requires “dial-tone” reliability for delivery of IP addresses to handsets. Additionally, because the hospital network is continuously used to access patient picture and diagnostic data, security of all network systems is essential.

In order to achieve this, the Hospital IT team required a more robust DNS and DHCP solution. Further, the team’s limited resources required that the new solution minimize administrative overhead.

The Solution

Having been introduced to the Infoblox solution a year earlier, the IT staff at the University Hospitals of Leicester were well aware of the products capabilities and functionality.

However, prior to making the final decision, the Hospital IT team evaluated several options. In the end, the Infoblox appliance-based solution proved to be the right fit for the hospital’s needs because of its ease of use, integrated services approach, manageability and security.

Among the most compelling features the Hospital IT team preferred about the Infoblox solution were the built-in IP address management (IPAM) and grid technology, which allows all the Infoblox appliances to be linked together and managed centrally as a unified system. The ability to delegate administrative aspects of the solution to the different teams spread across the extended campus was also important.

The Infoblox solution consists of eight Infoblox-1550 appliances. Today, the Infoblox devices provide internal DNS, DHCP and IPAM services for all the University Hospitals of Leicester campuses and support the new Avaya VoIP application.

The Result

The IT staff is extremely pleased with the results so far. “We have a limited staff at University Hospitals of Leicester. Therefore ease of use and simplified administration were a top priority,” said David. “Working on the recommendation of Avaya, we evaluated the Infoblox solution and were impressed. Infoblox has a good solution that is effective and very adaptable.”

The staff cites dramatically reduced administrative cycles as one of the top Infoblox solution benefits followed by the ability to easily track IP addresses and centrally manage the entire system.

“If we are to adopt LAN Telephony we need to guarantee that dial-tone availability will at least match those of our traditional PBX,” said David. “We cannot afford the situation where a paramedic picks up a phone in an Accident and Emergency situation and there is no dial tone. That means that all aspects of the infrastructure need to be designed to provide 99.999% availability. That, therefore, has to include technologies such as DNS and DHCP.”

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