The National Fostering Agency (NFA), founded in 1995,provides high quality foster care that places the welfare of children at the centre of its work. Partnering closely with Local Authorities and UK foster carers to create the best possible opportunities and outcomes for child fostering.
The NFA has a core business and partner agencies across the UK. They employ more than 500 people, including over 200 remote workers.
• MPLs network
• Common phone system, decommissioning BT links
• Active directory infrastructure
• Integrated IT system across all area of the business and partner agencies
We used a systematic phased approach to encompass all projects and individual suppliers that were involved in delivering each of these projects.
To speed up and shape the network traffic flows we built a new MPLS network across their UK sites, with ADSL backup for added stability and security.
We installed HP Procurve Layer 3 switches on the WAN with a Voice and Data VLAN to lay the foundations for the upcoming changes.
A new datacentre was built, with a new Windows 2012 R2 Hyper-V failover cluster, all build on an IBM System X hardware platform. We linked it to the BT data centre to enable routing between the two MPLS networks (facilitating data transfer and site migrations as the project progressed).
Working with the partner agencies (there were 10-15 companies all running their own Active Directory, Email domain, Finance, Data etc.), we brought in individually the partner sites into the new AD environment and migrated users and email onto the new Data centre.
We moved to the core NFA business and started to build the Citrix farm required to host the Lotus Notes environment and RDS farm for the finance systems. We then migrated the core business application server out of the BT data centre and onto the new infrastructure. With all sites moved onto the new MPLS, the BT links were decommissioned.
A new Group wide Mitel phone system was rolled out, more than 150 machines were replaced and at least three office moves were completed.
The performance of the new infrastructure is significantly greater and far more stable with dramatic improvements in uptime. This has enabled the customer to move forward with further acquisitions in the knowledge the back-office platform can support it, with room to grow.
Tony Holt, Financial Director (NFA Group) said 'We asked Lee Pepper Networks to help us move away from a seriously under-performing outsourced network and hosted shared server arrangement, knowing that this would be a seriously challenging project.. During the course of the project, we got to know Lee and his team well, and the experience was 100% positive.'
'In particular LP Network's technical expertise is impressive, and is deployed in a highly practical way. At the planning stage, alternatives were clearly outlined and evaluated, resulting in clear guidance to us as the client.
During the transition, the previous hosted service provider caused a number of problems. Lee and his team tackled these constructively, devising imaginative solutions and always with a very positive, "can do" attitude.'
He went on to say 'LP Networks delivered reliably everything that it set out to deliver. This involved extensive travelling to our 20 UK sites and considerable out of hours working. Throughout the project, the LPN team worked seamlessly with our in-house IT team, consistently demonstrating a high level of commitment to the successful completion of our project.
The transition project was completed successfully and on time, and we now have a reliable network infrastructure, with our own servers in a data centre, supported by LP Networks. Our network has much greater resilience than previously and user satisfaction has improved hugely with the speed of data access and reliability that LP Networks has brought to our system.'
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