Nuffield Health deploys UK-wide SD-WAN with Silver Peak

Not-for-profit healthcare provider embraces cloud-first IT strategy; deployed nearly 200 sites in just four months, reduced WAN traffic by up to 75 percent and saw a 4-6x increase in bandwidth.

One of the UK’s leading not-for-profit healthcare organisations, Nuffield Health, has deployed Silver Peak Unity EdgeConnect software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) solution as part of its cloud-first IT strategy. Since deploying Silver Peak’s SD-WAN, Nuffield Health has reduced WAN traffic by up to 75 percent and seen a 4-6x increase in bandwidth.
As a widely-distributed organisation, with two data centres and around 20,000 users across more than 260 sites throughout the UK – including 31 hospitals, 111 fitness and wellbeing gyms, and 121 corporate fitness and wellbeing centres – Nuffield Health was finding that its legacy multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) WAN was struggling to connect its users to business-critical cloud-based applications. They include Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications such as TrakCare for Electronic Medical Records and Office365, as well as Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) applications such as Microsoft Azure.
Following a review of its WAN usage, Nuffield Health found that more than 60 percent of its WAN traffic was being backhauled through its two data centres to the internet, which was significantly impairing network and SaaS performance. As such, Nuffield Health turned to Silver Peak through its partner Ampito, a leading provider of technology solutions, to design a WAN edge architecture that would intelligently and securely route WAN traffic over the internet-based on application-driven policies, without compromising performance.
Having considered other vendors, Nuffield Health selected Silver Peak’s SD-WAN solution, Unity EdgeConnect, for its high high-performance and cost, as well as its ability to support seamless service chaining with zScaler and Palo Alto Networks firewalls for intelligent internet breakout, which will improve SaaS application performance, while keeping its branches secure.
“As a not-for-profit healthcare organisation with sites located across the UK, our staff rely heavily on data-critical applications to care for patients and to meet the needs of our customers,” said Dan Morgan, IT operations director at Nuffield Health. “Whether it’s accessing digital images on the operating table, or using the latest high-tech gym equipment, it was clear that our existing network infrastructure wasn’t up to scratch. As such, we required a reliable WAN solution that would improve network performance and securely support our cloud-first IT strategy.”
As a result of the Silver Peak deployment, Nuffield Health is now able to run dual internet links to its branches, with some sites able to run on 4G LTE for connectivity until its fibre internet service is delivered. In addition, the organisation further benefitted from Unity Orchestrator – included with Unity EdgeConnect – and zero-touch provisioning, which enabled a faster SD-WAN deployment. Indeed, the company installed SD-WAN at 189 sites in just four months. On average, it connected 15 sites per week, which peaked at 27 sites in one week. Nuffield Health also deployed Unity Boost, an optional performance pack that can be used for specific sites if application performance degrades.
“We have been really impressed with the positive impact on our network, but the speed of deployment was a massive bonus,” continues Morgan. “We also have complete visibility and complete control into our network, meaning that we can see how SaaS and IaaS is being used within the organisation. This level of cloud intelligence is critical to our organisation as we continue to embrace new healthcare technologies available in the market. This will only serve to improve the health of our patients and customers across the UK.”
“We are delighted that Nuffield Health is benefitting from a reliable network for such a large and geographically distributed organisation, and that its proven so successful,” said Chris Helfer, senior vice president of worldwide sales, Silver Peak. “Applications continue to move to the cloud and Nuffield Health is a classic example of how organisations are taking advantage of our cloud-first SD-WAN solution to build a new, more cost-effective and high-performance WAN edge.”
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