Exponential-e, the next-generation-network and applications provider has announced that it has designed and deployed a new corporate network for the charity, Macmillan Cancer Support. Voice, video and business-critical interactive applications are all supported from the network which connects Macmillan’s offices throughout the UK.
Macmillan Cancer Support is the UK’s leading cancer support charity and was founded in 1911. The charity’s primary focus is to reach and improve the lives of everyone living with cancer by providing practical, clinical and financial support and through campaigning for better cancer care.
Macmillan’s existing network had become near to full capacity and unable to support the range of applications they required. Bandwidth was limited at crucial points on the network and Macmillan were restricted by the inflexible nature of the legacy technologies on which it was based. Macmillan went to tender for a new corporate network as part of their company-wide strategic initiative called Fusion. Macmillan’s Fusion programme set out the charity’s vision of the kind of infrastructure and functionality it requires to support the organisation’s goals moving forward.
Richard Hastings, Head of ICT, Macmillan said “We wanted a long-term, collaborative partnership with any supplier we selected. In particular we needed advice on disaster-recovery, video-conferencing and WAN optimisation. We were looking for a knowledgeable partner able to proactively assist us in the development of our network communication strategies”.
Exponential-e designed and deployed a new corporate network for the charity as part of a fully managed service covering procurement, delivery, training and proactive, preventative maintenance and support.
The new network extends the concept of plug-and-play connectivity found in a traditional local area network environment across the wide-area network by using a private layer 2 virtual cloud to which Macmillan can connect its multiple sites. Created with state-of-the-art Virtual Private LAN Services technology (VPLS), which is an Ethernet over MPLS solution, the resulting layer 2 virtual cloud delivers superior flexibility, scalability and performance.
The intelligent network fabric is able to accommodate all sorts of services securely and deliver the economies of scale that go with a converged platform. SharePoint, CRM and Citrix as well as VoIP and videoconferencing are just some of the applications supported.
Mukesh Bavisi, Engineering Director at Exponential-e said: “We proactively monitor the solutions we build to detect and rectify faults on a 24/7/365 basis. Customers can view their network’s ongoing performance in a graphical format. Full on-line graphical statistics are available with a single click revealing network status, usage and uptime for each location”.
One feature of the new network is the ability for Macmillan to flex its call-centre resource across the three sites in line with changing staff numbers at each location. As such, Macmillan’s PABX effectively becomes a virtualised resource which is made available throughout the infrastructure.
Macmillan were eager to reduce their reliance on hardware to help them conserve cost so Exponential-e was able to centrally host their firewall within a purpose-built data centre and makes its capabilities available to all twelve Macmillan office locations. This saved money and removed unnecessary complexity and duplication.
Richard Hastings added: “The scale of our network upgrade and number of sites involved was a major undertaking. I applaud Exponential-e’s project management and technical expertise throughout which meant our deployment went according to plan”. He went on to say: “We set out to transform our underlying communications infrastructure so we could better support our organisation and the people whom we support. Exponential-e provides the widest scalability and highest value per gigabit. In Exponential-e we have a technology partner for the future and a framework within which we can provide timely and responsive help to those in need.”