Terrence Higgins Trust

Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) is a national HIV and sexual health charity.

Headquartered in Kings Cross, London but with over 30 support centres across the country, THT is the largest voluntary sector provider of HIV and sexual health services in the UK. When its IT infrastructure began to creak under the strain of more than 350 users working on outdated hardware, THT looked for a partner which could modernise and consolidate its core server infrastructure and lay the groundwork for migrating to an offsite data centre in the future.

The Challenge

THT’s outdated IT infrastructure was proving prohibitive to the smooth running of the charity. With its 2TB of storage capacity already fully utilised and the outdated server hardware becoming slower by the day, there was very little capacity for growth or for the installation of upgrades that were required by the Trust’s long-term IT strategy.

The charity’s 35 physical servers, SAN and associated software were fast approaching their end-of-life. The SAN array was particularly unreliable, and had already failed on one occasion requiring THT to revert to its DR platform while it was fixed. Callouts to IT support were frequent and proving too costly to sustain long-term. It was also found that the cost of extending the warranties on the server hardware would be prohibitively expensive, so a wholesale replacement of the infrastructure would be necessary.

Ultimately, the infrastructure limitations would soon start directly to impact on the charity’s ability to provide the quality of support that its communities relied upon. It, therefore, issued a tender for a server refresh and consolidation project to bring its infrastructure up-to-date and make use of the latest applications and services.

The capacity planning exercise was invaluable for us, as it gave us the opportunity to catalogue our long-term requirements for the first time, while enabling Phoenix to design a solution which would stand the test of time
Chris Cranie, Consultant IT DirectorTerrence Higgins Trust

The Solution

Phoenix Software was among three providers invited to pitch for the project. They were, however, the only provider to undertake an intensive capacity planning exercise with THT in order fully to determine the charity’s long-term IT requirements. This process was particularly important to ensure THT had the correct amount of compute capacity and storage in its new, fully virtual infrastructure to support its requirements for a minimum of the next five years.

Chris Cranie, Consultant IT Director at Terrence Higgins Trust comments on Phoenix Software’s consultative approach, “The capacity planning exercise was invaluable for us, as it gave us the opportunity to catalogue our long-term requirements for the first time, while enabling Phoenix to design a solution which would stand the test of time. This was a totally collaborative exercise and not a sales pitch, with Phoenix talking through the pros and cons of all the different vendor solutions available to us.”

Phoenix Software designed a solution which would consolidate THT’s 35 physical and 35 virtual servers down to just three HP DL380P Gen 8 physical servers running 70 VMware vSphere 5.5 virtual machines. This would dramatically reduce THT’s cooling and power costs while the newer hardware would deliver significantly improved performance. For storage, Phoenix proposed an innovative Nimble flash storage solution which would deliver the dual benefits of significantly higher performance without sacrificing on storage capacity.

This was a totally collaborative exercise and not a sales pitch, with Phoenix talking through the pros and cons of all the different vendor solutions available to us.
Chris Cranie, Consultant IT DirectorTerrence Higgins Trust

 

The Benefits

Cost neutral: The new infrastructure was delivered for the same cost as extending the warranties on the existing equipment, resulting in a completely cost-neutral deployment. What’s more, the significantly lower operating costs of running just three servers instead of 35 and fewer calls to IT support will yield additional cost savings during the lifespan of the solution.

Performance and reliability: The new infrastructure provides THT with 20TBs of storage capacity, a tenfold increase over the previous SAN, and also delivers a responsive experience to staff from the newer, faster processors and higher RAM capacity. It has also proven to be significantly more reliable, without a single failure having been recorded during the 16 months since its installation.

Future-proofed: By adopting a solution which meets the specific requirements as determined by the capacity planning exercise, Terrence Higgins Trust has the assurance that the infrastructure will fully meet its requirements for at least the next five years.

True Partnerships. Remarkable Outcomes.

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