Technology Reseller v65 39 DATA CENTRES When Together for Mental Wellbeing was forced to move its server room, Node4 helped the UK’s oldest mental health charity update its IT infrastructure, replacing on-premises servers with a secure, resilient Virtual Data Centre physical servers hosted in one of Node4’s data centres. The new servers are load-balanced to ensure optimum performance even during peak usage, immediately delivering noticeable improvements for remote and hybrid workers. In addition, the entire environment is protected by two fully customisable, enterprise-grade firewalls, giving the charity’s IT security a much needed upgrade. “Node4’s VDC solution has made our lives so much easier,” says Hiten Patel. “These days, we access our IT infrastructure remotely via an easy-to-use portal. We can provision new VMs, change configurations, reboot servers and perform restores from backups. It’s a total gamechanger. Best of all, the mundane, timeintensive patch management, firmware updates and other infrastructure-related admin is now handled by Node4 as part of their managed service offering.” The Results Together for Mental Wellbeing regularly has to pass strict IT audits due to its relationship with the NHS and other funding organisations. Hiten Patel says these are now much less challenging as Node4 data centres are all ISO 27001-accredited and access to the management portal is protected by multifactor authentication. Strong physical security, including perimeter fencing, strict access policies and a 24/7 onsite presence, add a further layer of protection. “Node4’s security posture is instrumental in enabling us to deliver a secure IT infrastructure that protects our highly sensitive data. Sharing Node4’s security credentials with the NHS especially provides greater transparency and demonstrates we take our own IT security incredibly seriously,” he says. Hiten Patel adds that Node4’s security, resilience and on-site support is very different to what the charity was used to in its original server room. “One incident in particular brought this home to me. Back in the day, someone accidentally turned off the master switches for the air conditioning units that cooled our server room. These were located in an easily accessible, non-secured area of our building. Fortunately, the server room’s temperature sensors kicked in. We alerted the site manager, who switched them back on as we quickly raced across town to attend to the situation. The crisis was averted, but it could have been a truly catastrophic incident.” Hiten Patel concludes: “If you’d asked me how I felt before the migration, I’d probably have told you I was terrified. But having Node4 in my corner gave me huge confidence. Looking back, it’s one of the smoothest migrations I’ve done, despite it being one of the more complex, and the fastest. Node4’s team delivered value over and above, moving us to a new managed environment. I believe we have discovered a real IT partner who genuinely wants to help us get the best from our environment, expand our IT knowledge and help us plan the next stage in our digital transformation.” With 40 sites and 491 employees across England, Together For Mental Wellbeing supports people on their journey to better mental wellbeing and independent living. The charity’s services, funded by organisations like the NHS and local authorities, include supported housing and 24-hour residential accommodation, community support, advocacy and assistance for those experiencing mental distress in the criminal justice system. The Challenge Until recently, Together for Mental Wellbeing’s server room, sitting at the heart of its IT estate, was little more than a converted space at the back of one of its accommodation centres. The servers it accommodated hosted the charity’s Virtual Machines (VMs), which, in turn, supported its case management system and associated service user data, making them integral to the organisation’s daily operations and service provision. “The time came for us to find somewhere new for our servers,” says Hiten Patel, Head of IT at Together for Mental Wellbeing. “There was a major construction and renovation project planned in the building and we had been given a strict moving-out date. By the time we’d done due diligence and selected Node4 for the project, we had around a month and a half to rehouse our servers. The pressure was on!” The Solution Node4 came to the rescue with a Virtual Data Centre (VDC) solution incorporating automated backup, recovery and business continuity components. These ensure the charity can quickly bring its services back online in the event of any unplanned outage, while boosting confidence throughout the organisation that it can carry on delivering critical mental health support services as planned no matter what IT-related incidents might occur. Working with Hiten Patel and his team, Node4 completed the VDC migration within the allotted six-week timeframe, transferring the charity’s virtual infrastructure (e.g. user identity management, networking services and applications/data) from the original server room to new high-performance Resilience and support