Featured case study
Traditional Blackpool builds hybrid network

15 April 2015

Blackpool hybrid network With attractions such as the Pleasure Beach and its iconic tower, Blackpool receives around 10 million visitors each year. And while it may have the image of a ‘traditional’ seaside town, its council’s IT network is far from conventional.

The hybrid network features a mixture of existing as well as new infrastructure, using the latest hardware and software. While that may sound simple in theory, it was difficult to achieve in practice. In Blackpool’s instance, necessity was very much the mother of innovation. While its old network was no longer adequate, ripping everything out and starting entirely anew would have been too expensive.

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IBM helps MoJ with Big Data

27 February 2014

One of the most important objectives for the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is to analyse vast amounts of crime and offender data to identify hidden patterns of behaviour and prevent reoffending.

The principal risk assessment and management tool used by the National Offender Management Service is the Offender Assessment System (OASys). This is used by around 140 prisons and 35 probation trusts. Information from all completed OASys assessments is collated centrally within the OASys Data Evaluation and Analysis Team (O-DEAT) database, which records information from millions of prisoner assessments. It includes data on individual offender circumstances such as accommodation, education, lifestyle, financial management and income, relationships, etc.

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Unified comms for West London tenant organisation

27 February 2014

The Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO) was established in 1996, following a decision by the tenants and leaseholders of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to pursue their legal right to manage their own homes. The organisation now manages around 10,000 properties on behalf of the borough in this area of West London.

Recently, KCTMO opted to upgrade its Siemens Hi-Path Pro-centre Agile telephone system. It did not want to incur huge costs for the ‘rip and replace’ of its existing communications estate and therefore decided to leave its remaining legacy Siemens systems in place.

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Colt provides more than just VDI for HFC

27 February 2014

Virtualisation has enabled Hammersmith and Fulham Council (HFC) to cut the total cost of ownership of its desktop environment by one third. The deployment, carried out by Colt Technology Services, has led to a 20-25 per cent reduction in per-user seat cost and an 80 per cent reduction in power consumption thanks to thin clients that have replaced the council’s aging PC estate

HFC pioneered desktop virtualisation 10 years ago but the solution it had in place was limited in the number of users and services it supported. After scoping the technical, service and commercial requirements, Colt recommended a solution that addressed the different needs to virtualise and package the 300 applications HFC has to maintain. Paul Calvert, IT services solution director, says: “Colt worked with the council and its partners to conduct a virtualisation assessment of the applications and users before developing a proof of concept to allow them to experience how applications would perform in the new environment.

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Managed services for Bolton

30 January 2014

Bolton Council operates more than 800 services for over 262,000 residents, as well as for businesses and visitors. One of its aims is to enhance the relationship it has with citizens, particularly the accessibility of information on a 24/7 basis. As a result, it has developed a highly mobile workforce – 3,000 of its 15,000 staff have a mobile phone as part of their toolkit, and increased availability of communication and collaboration on the move is therefore essential.

This would require an update to its network infrastructure along with the introduction of new technologies. At the very core of the council’s ambitions was a need to deploy a next-generation infrastructure across both WAN and associated LANs. All subsequent developments could then be built on this solid foundation.

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Derbyshire runs out of space

30 January 2014

Derbyshire County Council (DCC) works in partnership with nine district and borough councils. It has in excess of 30,000 staff who help deliver a huge variety of services to a population of 750,000 people.

Given the complexity of its business, DCC generates enormous volumes of data. But this had led to problems as data centre manager Rob Skermer explains: “We first implemented our SAN in 2003 and it was scaled for 2TB. Today, for each environment, we’re  looking at 250TB, so growth is more than a hundred-fold. Keeping pace is difficult.”

By 2012, Derbyshire’s existing storage solution was running out of capacity. It didn’t provide file services directly and required many Windows Servers to be connected to deliver the bandwidth and performance for 8,000 users. Data replication and file server failover was complex and often found to be unreliable. When backing up  the file servers an entire weekend was required due to the many millions of files, many never being touched or changed.

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Cambridge dons PSN

30 January 2014

With the Cambridgeshire Public Services Network (CPSN) project, Cambridgeshire County Council set itself a tall challenge – reducing IT spend while providing better technology services to staff and citizens.

That also meant developing a network which was easy for its partners to use too, so that the barriers to getting the technology were removed and strong partnerships could drive more use of the network around the county.

With the help of Virgin Media Business (VMB), Cambridgeshire now has a network that’s capable of increasing internet speeds and data access in more than 200 schools, 32 libraries, and via more than 50 community access points. Twenty-eight fire stations across the county are also now able to enjoy the benefits of using it too.

VMB says that what’s “truly inspiring” about the project is the difference it’s making to local people. Cambridgeshire County Council has opened 50 access points in community centres, village halls and other public buildings so that people who may not have the internet, or just prefer to socialise with neighbours while they browse, can get online near their homes.

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