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November 2018
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Leeds Partnerships NHS Foundation Trust Installs Observer Suite for Preventative Network Health

Organisation

  • Leeds Partnerships NHS Foundation Trust
  • Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK
  • www.leedspft.nhs.uk
  • Industry

  • Health, Public Sector
  • Challenge

  • Identify course of slow connectivity between sites on 1Gb and 10Mb network
  • Understand why issues were occurring at different times of the day
  • Solution

  • Network Instruments Observer Suite
  • Multiple Network Instruments Expert Probes
  • Consultancy & Training from UK Netcom Ltd
  • Benefits

  • Automatic problem resolution increased by 20% – saving valuable time for the ICT Network Team
  • ROI achieved within 6 months based on time and money saved
  • Eliminated time and costs of consulting services for troubleshooting
  • Optimised network performance of Trust’s 2,500 employees
  • Complete network view with drill-down traffic analysis ensures maximum network and application up-time
  • Retrospective and forensic network monitoring stops repetitive troubleshooting tasks
  • Alarms prevent future issues and enable instant problem resolution
  • Introduction

    The Leeds Partnership NHS Foundation Trust provides services to 572,000 adults, across 62 sites in the Leeds area. The people under its care are vulnerable and the Trust strives to provide the best possible care and support to them.

    The sites are connected by a complex, highly secure data network. Over this network runs the applications needed to support the Trust’s data and telecommunications needs. These include critical applications including patient records, and increasingly, Voice over IP and video conferencing. Over 2,500 employees rely on these tools on a daily basis.

    The problem

    Not only is this data sensitive, it is vital to patient care. This meant the Trust had to immediately address the slow connectivity issues it was starting to experience between certain sites. With no consistency to the connectivity problems, it was hard to identify the exact cause slowing down Citrix, HTTP, SMTP and Microsoft Directory services.

    Troubleshooting also opened up its own issues. It was a time-consuming process that forced the staff to focus on extinguishing immediate network fires rather than on problem prevention and long-term planning.

    According to Hergy Galsinh, Network Manager of Leeds Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, -The time and money previously spent on internal and external resources and consultancy to investigate incidents has been eliminated, and the time it takes to solve a problem greatly reduced.”

    -I believe Observer has cut the time actually spent by the ICT Network Team on delivering IT services to the Trust by at least 20% when troubleshooting,” continued Hergy. “In addition, overall service and productivity has risen as result of the always-on application services now available to them.”

    The solution

    Within 10 minutes of deploying the Observer Suite, a comprehensive troubleshooting console, combined with multiple Expert Probes to provide complete network visibility, the team was able to analyze network, application and server behaviour and identify the cause of the bandwidth slowdown.

    The Windows update server was the primary culprit. Rather than sending out updates at night, it was sending them via the main network during the busiest times of the day. Significant bandwidth and contention issues were also caused when large files were sent in parallel with key business applications.

    Observer was initially deployed for the purpose of troubleshooting. The tool alerted and discovered the issue immediately to other member of the ICT Services Team, highlighting the potential problems and backed this up with online reports generated by Observer Suite. From the data, the team identified the source of the connectivity issues and reset the updates to occur during off-peak hours.

    To avert these issues in the future, alarms were set up to alert the team of any impending issues. This, in conjunction with extensive use of Observer for network monitoring, has provided the team with an unparalleled view of network and application performance and enabled them to set internal service level agreements.

    -The evidence was right before us,” said Hergy Galsinh. “Observer provided an almost instant report outlining in as much detail as we wanted the recent network and application activities. From this we were able to pinpoint exactly what was causing the connections to slow and avoid a patient-facing communication break-down.

    With the connectivity problems solved, the Trust started using Observer for preventative purposes, anticipating issues before they happened, and planning activities and implementations in context of network demands and trends. For example, while rolling out a new application, pre-deployment network assessments are conducted to ensure smooth deployments. In addition, Observer plays a key role in conjunction with quality of service solutions to verify the Trust’s video conferences have enough bandwidth to run smoothly.

    -In all instances, prevention is better than a cure,” stated Hergy Galsinh. “By continually monitoring the network, and running reports, we can ensure the network team is always focused on the business of running the Trust’s vital network. No longer do we have to use valuable resources to troubleshoot and put-right potentially critical issues once they have happen. Observer makes light of any problem, and in a fraction of the time it would have taken us previously.

    How they did it

    Hergy and his team worked with UK Netcom Ltd, a Network Instruments specialist, to establish the best solutions to the problem. They had already looked at NetScout Sniffer, but on this occasion it was Network Instrument’s Observer that could meet the troubleshooting needs of the Trust.

    -I have worked on a number of projects with UK Netcom, and they fully understand our network and the needs of the Trust,” indicated Hergy Galsinh. “They recommended Observer because it could address our immediate needs, and expand with us to ensure we always have optimum performance on our network.”

    -There have been no issues at all with Observer. The training and consultancy we received from UK Netcom as part of the package was top class and has set the team up to maximise the benefits of Observer. The technical teams at Network Instruments and UK Netcom have proven to be extremely knowledgeable and any queries have been answered quickly and efficiently.

    -Observer was the missing tool in the Network Services Department,” he concluded. “It has met our expectations, increased productivity and enabled us to provide the best support we can to all levels of staff and patients who rely on a seamless, transparent network infrastructure.

    Moving forward Leeds Partnerships NHS Foundation Trust is considering the use of other Network Instruments solutions to benefit the management and efficiency of the Leeds Partnerships NHS Foundation Trust. Already, additional probes have been purchased to gain further insight and visibility into the network and to ensure that all remote sites can be monitored easily from a central point. Hergy Galsinh is confident further investments in this solution will be made in the next year.

    About Leeds Partnerships NHS Foundation Trust

    The Leeds Partnerships NHS Foundation Trust provides specialist mental health and learning disability services to over 572,000 adults within the Leeds Metropolitan boundary. On an average day the Trust sees and supports over 2,000 people.

    As an NHS Foundation Trust, the Leeds Partnerships NHS Foundation Trust is committed to providing the best services it can to the local community. These -services comprise everything from patient referrals through to the IT services than underpin the workings of the Trust.

    Under the ethos of the NHS Trusts, all areas, including the IT department, have the freedom to develop new ways of working, as long as these ensure the quickest, most effective responses and solutions to local needs – both patient and employee.

    It was with this autonomy that Hergy Galsinh started to review the way that the Trust’s network and applications were run to see if he could improve the performance, whilst freeing up his team to concentrate on delivering the applications that make the Trust the success it is.

    Working with UK Netcom Ltd, Hergy Galsinh has been able to put in place the most advanced network monitoring platform there is. The result has been major improvements to the Trust and the services that it delivers.

    www.leedspft.nhs.uk

    About Network Instruments

    Network Instruments, a leading provider of performance management and troubleshooting for fifteen years, helps organizations ensure the delivery of business-critical applications. The company’s platform of management and reporting products provides comprehensive visibility into networks and applications to optimize performance, speed troubleshooting, and assist long-term capacity planning. Network Instruments achieved profitability in its first quarter and posted double-digit growth every year since its founding – without any external funding. Headquartered in Minneapolis, the company has sales offices worldwide and distributors in over 50 countries. For more information, please visit www.networkinstruments.com.

    For more information contact:
    Caroline Howlett
    Strategic PR
    01494 434434

    carolineh@strategicpr.net

    www.strategicpr.net

    About UK Netcom Ltd

    UK Netcom Ltd is an independent supplier specialising in the Network Instruments Analysis and Reporting solution, with over 15 years industry experience; our sole aim is to provide continuity within our clients IT infrastructure, allowing them to enjoy a more dependable and secure network – lowering the total cost of ownership and increasing system uptime. Our Consultancy and implementation assistance combined with the Network Instruments product range allows us to offer a unique solution to often bespoke problems.

    For further information please visit: uknetcom.co.uk

    For more information contact:
    UK Netcom Ltd
    01743 364162

    sales@uknetcom.co.uk

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