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Increasing NHS video calls during Covid

Image: Adobe Stock / Connect world

The NHS was faced with unprecedented demand for video calls as the pandemic began, meaning service providers like StarLeaf had to greatly expand its IT infrastructure to meet this demand. ServerChoice explains how it helped deploy their infrastructure while adhering to the technical and security related specifications associated with public health partnerships.

StarLeaf provides secure, robust telecommunications services which are fast becoming the leading alternative to Zoom. Notably, StarLeaf is a key service provider to the NHS.

Andy Wild, Cloud Operations Manager at StarLeaf, explained: “StarLeaf owns its own IT infrastructure end-to-end here in the UK. That’s how we can offer the highest levels of security and is why the NHS continues to trust us over organisations who use public cloud infrastructure.”

The outbreak of Covid-19 caused an unprecedented uptake of StarLeaf, resulting in an urgent requirement for more colocation space and data centre services.

Wild continued: “The challenge was finding a data centre provider who could offer a lightning-fast turnaround – we had a window of less than 24 hours to get everything operational. We were also unwilling to compromise our ethos of security and resilience, making the search that much harder.”

The project was made yet more challenging by the technical specifications StarLeaf needed: a high power density of 15 kW per rack, three-phase power, and a high floor-loading capability mean that many data centre providers were outclassed.

Speedy deployment

After a rapid but thorough search, StarLeaf selected ServerChoice’s Harlow data centre to deploy its infrastructure.

“We found that ServerChoice matched our reputation for resilience and security, and their Harlow facility is one of the best in the UK,” said Wild. “ServerChoice provided a turnaround time of just 12 hours, with the colocation racks completely ready for us to install our IT infrastructure. Rack space, connectivity, three-phase power bars and access requests were all ready to go in record time.”

Ricky Johnson, ServerChoice’s Data Centre Manager at Harlow, added, “It’s a point of personal pride that my team and I are able to help customers quickly no matter what their requirement. Everyone here in ServerChoice worked hard to help StarLeaf get up and running in 12 hours from the requirement coming in. This was only possible thanks to the world-class technical operation here at the Harlow data centre.”

Building on success

The Covid-19 pandemic and UK lockdown meant that power and IP transit usage at StarLeaf rose significantly, as its NHS customers rapidly increased their use of online collaboration and telecommunication tools. “ServerChoice let us burst into additional capacity when we needed it, without us having to worry about contract terms or expensive overage charges,” said Wild.

As needs continued to increase, it soon became clear that StarLeaf would need to expand its original colocation footprint. ServerChoice delivered a rapid turnaround, having more colocation space ready for StarLeaf to install its infrastructure. At the same time, StarLeaf also expanded its connectivity, taking services from Lumen in addition to the resilient blended IP service direct from ServerChoice.

Customer outcomes

As a result of hosting its infrastructure in ServerChoice’s data centres, StarLeaf has been able to rapidly scale its services to support its growing customer base and retain its position as a keystone provider to the NHS.

“StarLeaf urgently needed a data centre provider we could trust, who shared our priorities of security, performance and reliability. We found all that and more in ServerChoice, and their lightning-fast turnaround time meant we were able to meet the urgent demands of our NHS clients,” concluded Wild.

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