The rewards of 100% uptime

By Marc Garner, VP secure Power Division and Major Pursuits Team, Schneider Electric UK & Ireland.

Uptime is among the most important attributes of any data centre or infrastructure system, especially if the services it delivers are as critical as in the case of a hospital.

Resilience of any IT system is rarely something for which one also gains effusive thanks, and in many cases one should not expect to be lauded just because the lights come on at the touch of a button.

On the other hand, however, it’s impossible not to notice if the systems on which a business or healthcare environment depends don’t spring into life, or are inaccessible when they’re needed most.

To that effect, the process of delivering seamless, application availability and services continuity is something that takes great care, careful attention and trusted expertise. With the right partners in place, uptime can seem effortless.

Working with Birmingham Women and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust Recently I learned that Schneider Electric and our Elite Partners, Advanced Power Technologies (APT), have been shortlisted for Cloud Transformation/MSP Project of the Year at the upcoming SDC Awards for our work with the Birmingham Women and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust.

Founded in 2017 as a merger between two existing hospitals, the Birmingham Women and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust is a specialist provider of healthcare services for more than 140,000 patients. The Trust’s operations are supported by an extensive IT infrastructure system, whose functions were consolidated and integrated across both of its hospital campuses.

They include two on-premise data centres, a growing number of distributed network closets and more than 100 uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) that safeguard critical equipment and patient data. In fact, the vital work performed by the Trust depends implicitly on critical IT and data centre systems that must function, without failure.

Data driven insights

The primary focus of the project was to increase the resilience of their distributed IT, edge computing and backup power systems, and to ensure service continuity for the Trust’s most critical applications. This was achieved with the use of a customised remote monitoring and management system based on our vendor-agnostic, EcoStruxure IT™ Expert data centre infrastructure management (DCIM) software.

Use of the EcoStruxure platform provides the Trust with a dedicated remote-monitoring solution that offers real-time, data-driven decision making. It also ensures that APT can proactively anticipate any potential faults or failures to increase resilience and uptime, and deliver services to support the Trust’s staff.

Software and services

The system, which was customised by APT, provides continuous monitoring of the Trust’s UPSs’, and delivers advanced warning of potential issues such as the impending life of any battery, or systems failures, so that its replacement can be arranged in good time. It also offers visibility on any device, removing the need for the time-consuming and labour-intensive practice of manual inspections, thereby increasing operational efficiency for the Trust. Additional capabilities within EcoStruxure IT Expert also allow the Trust to monitor environmental conditions such as temperature and humidity, which can affect the performance of its IT and network infrastructures. It provides peace of mind to their managers, enabling them to assess the impact of additional loads and evaluate whether to scale a UPS system up or down, or to optimise them for efficiency.

An ecosystem is key

Being nominated for this award is an honour, and a credit both to APT and to the Birmingham Women and Children’s Trust. Their forward thinking approach to overcoming the challenge of resilience, and their investments in both external expertise and cutting edge technologies has enabled them to ensure the highest levels of service continuity for their UPSs and critical IT environments.

Further, it goes to show how important developing a technology ecosystem has become, and why the support of skilled partners, like APT, is essential. Our EcoStruxure software, for example, may have played a part in transforming the resilience and reliability of the Birmingham Women and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, but the expert guidance of our partners at APT has ensured that their data centres, UPS and edge infrastructure are protected from the threat of downtime.

The SDC Awards 2022

That this project should be nominated for Cloud Transformation/MSP Project of the Year at the upcoming SDC Awards came as no surprise, but I, on the other hand, was most surprised and delighted to be shortlisted for the Channel Champion Award, in recognition of both mine, and my team’s work with our Elite Partner community!

As the VP of the Secure Power Division and the Major Pursuits Team in the UK and Ireland, I’ve been lucky to work with some of the best technology companies in the world, and our channel partners, like APT, remain central to the success of our organisation.

Should anyone wish to lend their support for our nominations, you can vote for us via the SDC Awards website. Voting closes on the 4th November 2022, and we’d be grateful for your support.

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