Relationships Australia New South Wales is an independent, not-for-profit organisation, dedicated to enhancing relationships within families and their communities in order to foster personal and social wellbeing.
Not-for-Profit / Healthcare
A new IT infrastructure that could enable the organisation to leverage VDI to enhance its services to the community and demonstrate innovation to help secure government funding.
Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Platform (Pro Edition) running on Nutanix 6300 series
- Enabled a Citrix environment, increasing mobility among the organisation’s 400+ staff
- Increased security to help RANSW protect customer’s sensitive data
- Reduced downtime to zero
- Upwards of $150,000 saved through implementation of Nutanix and Avaya
- Reduced size of physical datacentre by 92%
Relationships Australia New South Wales (RANSW) competes with other not-for-profits to secure funding for its services. Increasingly, leveraging technology to make better use of resources and deliver new services has become an important criterion to secure this funding.
RANSW was at a crossroads with its IT – as its legacy SAN system was at maximum capacity, the IT and management teams were caught between investing further into that, or making a transformational change and trying something different. While the SAN was new, it had the technology’s longstanding issues – downtime, difficult upgrades, and sleepless nights for IT staff.
RANSW also wanted to enable staff to be mobile and provide counselling services anytime, anywhere while protecting its clients’ privacy. The not-for-profit had ambitions to adopt virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) to achieve this. It also wanted to provide a secure and reliable contact and video conferencing service to better serve its clients. Delivering this digital strategy would have been impossible with its SAN at full capacity.
RANSW made the decision that investing further into ‘old technology’ would be a mistake.
“Making break from SAN technology represented a huge opportunity, but also a challenge for us,” said Mark Hindle, Head of Technology at RANSW. “We needed to ensure the changeover and chosen new infrastructure would pose no threat to our case management system, which holds extremely sensitive data.”
Ensuring data security while delivering ease of use
The importance of security means RANSW has a policy not to use the public cloud for critical apps, so the new infrastructure had to be able to create a similar environment under the organisation’s roof.
RANSW consulted with long-standing trusted partner BEarena, which recommended Nutanix’s Enterprise Cloud Platform running AHV (Nutanix’s Hypervisor) to create the secure, on-premises cloud environment needed. The platform could support critical applications and deliver on the organisation’s digital strategy.
Aside from providing the required level of security, Nutanix was also chosen due to its ease of use and maintenance. This was vital as there was a tight deadline to make the switch due to RANSW’s two main offices merging into a new purpose-built office in a matter of weeks. Moreover, the merge was happening over Christmas when the Australian Telco industry effectively shuts down.
Achieving faster time to value
BEarena implemented the Enterprise Cloud Platform. Over just half a day, the provider had the Nutanix Platform powering RANSW’s 23 sites. It deployed seven Nutanix nodes, four in the main production cluster and three in the disaster recovery cluster.
This enabled RANSW to reliably operate a VDI powered by Citrix, meaning the its 400+ employees could deliver a secure mobile support service to New South Wales. The integration between Nutanix AHV and Citrix made this simple and ensured all virtual desktops came with a rich set of applications. Microsoft Exchange, SQL, reporting and financial applications are among the apps now running on Nutanix.
The next part of the strategy was to deploy a secure contact centre and video conferencing platform. RANSW spoke to another trusted partner CCNA, which recommended Avaya’s IP Office Server Edition.
“Nutanix and Citrix have enabled us to use Avaya IP Office Contact Centre platform,” added Mark. “The omnichannel app enables counsellors to deliver a customised experience to clients while maintaining the human interaction fundamental to their roles.
“Some staff were hesitant about the change,” said Mark. “This was quickly dispelled when they realised the huge benefits this infusion of, what I like to call ‘jetpack technology’, could bring.
“Implementing Nutanix has led to a considerable rise in uptime across all systems. It’s not that downtime has reduced by any particular percentage, it’s simply not an issue at all anymore. The system is always available, and my team no longer has to break their weekends to deal with grey hair issues.”
While RANSW was confident in the platform’s security, it verified it with an independent security consultancy, which provided a full audit, which passed with no issues.
85% reduction in reporting time, 92% reduction in space
“We regularly run reports through our IT systems. To give an idea of how much this process has sped up with Nutanix, one case management monthly report used to take two minutes and twenty seconds to complete – now, it takes twenty seconds, a reduction of more than 85%. This increase in performance is across the board, meaning higher productivity for all staff.”
The datacentre has reduced dramatically in size – the seven nodes take up around 92% less space than the SAN.
Improving client user experience while saving $150,000+ per year
Alongside mobility, Nutanix has also enabled RANSW to provide new digital services for its clients.
“Imagine a scenario where an individual is in a hostile situation at home, such as a victim to an abusive partner. If they can’t leave the home for a face-toface meeting, we will be able to provide a URL to access Avaya Conferencing once the system is rolled out this year. This gives clients the comfort to have a private browsing session that won’t leave a trace.”
The combination of Avaya and Nutanix has saved RANSW upwards of $150,000 per year, meaning more focus goes into the organisation’s provision of services.
RANSW consults regularly with Nutanix about what else it can do following the transformation. For example, over the next few years it will be looking at application consolidation and/or replacement for productivity and cost savings.
“Our next funding round is in 2019, so there’s a big focus on that. We’re very confident that the cost savings combined with the new e-services we now provide will be a huge aid in helping us to secure the funds we need to continue to service the community.”
It’s not that downtime has reduced by any particular percentage, it’s simply not an issue at all anymore. The system is always available, and my team no longer has to break their weekends to deal with ‘grey hair’ issues.Mark Hindle, Head of Technology, Relationships Australia New South Wales