A big health/wellness provider in the United Kingdom wanted to completely eliminate MPLS from its business. To do this, Nuffield Health chose to lay fiber to its multiple locations and overlay it all with software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) from Silver Peak.
Nuffield Health has two data centers and around 20,000 users across more than 260 sites throughout the U.K. This includes 31 hospitals, 111 fitness gyms, and 121 corporate fitness and well-being centers.
The non-profit organization found that its legacy MPLS WAN was struggling in terms of connecting users to cloud-based applications such as Office 365 and apps for electronic medical records. Its IT Operations Director Dan Morgan convinced the organization’s management to make the investment to evolve its network.
“It wasn’t about saving money,” said Morgan. “It was about performance and resiliency on the network. My conversation with the CIO was about moving to a point where IT will be central to what we do. We need a network that is resilient.”
To evolve its network, Nuffield Health is running dual fiber links to all its sites. Some sites are able to run on 4G LTE for connectivity until its fiber Internet service is delivered. Connected sites receive a Silver Peak device.
“The biggest challenge was to get new links installed,” said Morgan. The company installed SD-WAN at 189 sites in just four months. On average, it cut over 15 sites per week, which peaked at 27 sites in one week. These sites “have gone from a single 30 meg link to two 100 meg links; they’ve got six times the bandwidth,” said Morgan.
The network upgrade actually increased Nuffield’s operating expense about 20 percent. But it’s providing the company with six times the bandwidth and more resilience with twice the network links. “We’re using our budget more intelligently,” said Morgan. “The key factor was the ability to have a highly performing network.”