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Interfusion Networks wins IT project with Health and Safety Authority

New Interfusion/Riverbed WAN solution will reduce cost by 30%

Barry Young and Andrew Allen, HSA; with Steve Mac Nicholas, MD Interfusion

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has invested on a new Wide Area Network (WAN) solution implemented by Interfusion Networks. The new Interfusion/Riverbed solution provides the HSA with a cost effective network and it will reduce cost by 30%.

The Health and Safety Authority is the state body responsible for promoting safety, health and welfare for those at work, providing information and advice to employers and employees. Headquartered in Dublin, the HSA has seven regional offices located around the country.

The Authority’s Workplace Contact Unit (WCU) is a helpdesk resource for employers, employees and members of the public. WCU is the primary contact for serious injuries/fatalities, complaints and obtaining health and safety information in the workplace. The Authority’s Wide Area Network (WAN) links allow staff both in headquarters and the regional offices to answer calls.

The Authority’s WAN is the backbone of the organisation’s distributed ICT infrastructure, and an integral part of the WCU. There are approximately 200 users on the network and, as the organisation and its ICT requirements evolve, a scalable solution is essential.

The Authority initially had a WAN that was based on the legacy Eircom Frame relay network and was subsequently upgraded to the Eircom BIP (Business IP) network.  During 2009, the Authority was engaged in cost cutting initiatives right across the spectrum of its ICT services and a review of its WAN infrastructure was undertaken. Bandwidth demand had increased significantly to support the growing organisation and higher levels of traffic on the distributed network.

“The Authority’s applications are hosted centrally to allow for significant cost savings in deployment and maintenance. This centralised infrastructure while simpler to manage does require significant bandwidth to support the traffic across the WAN. The challenge was to upgrade the bandwidth while reducing the cost,” explains Steve Mac Nicholas, managing director of Interfusion.

Speaking about the need for a new system, Barry Young, Systems Security and Telecoms Manager of the Authority said: “I was conscious that along with the driving factor of increased bandwidth at reduced cost, the HSA would require a number of additional elements before this transition could take place. Reliable resilience, seamless changeover, Quality of Service capability and a solid Service Level Agreement were key elements to the project.”

All regional offices’ VoIP, Video conferencing, Web browsing and File access traffic go through the Head Office in Dublin. It was imperative that the HSA would have a reliable series of links with affordable dependable failover that could be properly managed, monitored and supported no matter what time of day.  

“Interfusion was able to tick all of the appropriate boxes and come in with the cheapest quote, allowing us to implement with confidence the much needed upgrade and future proofing of the HSA’s WAN infrastructure at a fraction of our current running costs. A higher gain at a lower cost, it was win/win,” adds Young.

After a thorough tender process by the Health and Safety Authority, Interfusion Networks was awarded the project, and proposed its Nethop Multi Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) solution in conjunction with the Riverbed WAN optimisation solution as an alternative to the BIP network. Interfusion’s Nethop platform utilises a hybrid of access technologies which include private ADSL, SDSL, Licensed Microwave and Fibre to build a secure Wide Area Network that offers increased bandwidths and a fully managed service for substantially less cost.  

For the Authority the MPLS network is built in multiple tiers with 100Mb Metro Ethernet over fibre servicing the Dublin Head Office and Disaster Recovery site in Kilkenny.

Thanks to the new solution, the annual recurring costs for the network is now 30% less then it was in previous years, yet the bandwidth speeds into each site have been increased. Other important benefits of the project is its scalability, ease of migration and the fact that the new solution will enable outsourcing and distributed collaboration for the Authority.

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