Monday, 22 October 2012
NHS Taps Sudlows for Datacentre Expansion
The UK's National Health Service (NHS) recently announced the awarding of several contracts to Sudlows for the expansion of a datacentre facility used by the Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust. Lancashire Care, as part of the UK health system, provides health services for approximately 1.5 million people. The expansion of their data centre is vital in helping them provide services that include community nursing and several different types of therapy.
Sudlows was chosen by the NHS based on recently completed work which demonstrated they have a real grasp of the facility's needs and what they're trying to accomplish. According to Trust officials they were looking for someone who could expand the datacentre in a way that optimizes it for the healthcare field, requiring a company with a good understanding of the NHS and how it works.
When complete the expanded datacentre will include upgraded power and cooling capabilities, new server cabinets, and N+1 redundancy for increased reliability. Sudlows will be implementing the expansion in a partnership with Softcat, an IT solutions provider they've done business with before.
Sudlows Global Director Andy Hirst was noted as saying the datacentre expansion is just one of several projects they've been engaged in on behalf of the NHS. Hirst told reporters his company is well-suited to design and build the systems needed for the expansion because they have extensive knowledge of the healthcare sector. They can also provide comprehensive datacentre training for any new hires brought on as a result of the expansion.
It's not clear whether or not Sudlows will be involved in facility management once the expansion is complete. More than likely, they will provide any necessary training before moving on to other projects. But it's likely the company will continue doing work for the NHS as long as they continue getting the job done.
NHS a Big Datacentre Customer
The NHS contracts are certainly a boon for Sudlows and Softcat, but also for the entire datacentre sector. Some industries may come and go over the course of the next several decades, but healthcare is obviously here to stay. Companies like Sudlows are only doing themselves a favour by becoming intimately familiar with the needs of healthcare in order to continue to service NHS contracts.
The question is, can just one or two companies like Sudlows keep up with increased demand from the NHS in the future? As Europe pushes as hard as it can into the era of cloud computing it looks unlikely to be the case. More tech companies are going to have to step up and get involved in the datacentre environment in order to support what's coming.
NHS will need a lot more in terms of datacentre expansion, managed services, and even collocation. They will need private-sector help in developing facilities that are energy efficient despite increased power and cooling needs. For tech companies, that means a bright future should be in store for them if they get on board.