The Royal College of Physicians has implemented a complete virtual desktop and server consolidation strategy in a bid to reduce costs and speed up deployment.

Using a programme based on the VMware Infrastructure platform, the college has consolidated its server estate from multiple locations to one central datacentre containing HP blades, and established a data recovery site.

Working with partner Foundation IT, the college has also created a complete virtual infrastructure examination portal for its members, including registration forms, exam results and a secure payments portal, enabling over 20,000 doctors to enroll and train for exams.

As part of the next phase of the project, the college is replacing 160 standard desktops with Wyse thin clients connecting to virtual machines running VMware virtual desktop infrastructure. Each virtual machine will provide a standard Microsoft Windows environment for the user, but centralised management for the IT team.

The college said that virtualisation will allow it to reduce the amount of physical equipment it runs by a 5:1 ratio.

Christopher Venning, network and support manager at the college, said: “The college has an internal environmental initiative in place, which is driven by our senior officers. This includes making sure that we are as efficient as possible in our use of power and IT resources.”

He added that: “Using virtual desktops and thin clients to replace our ageing PCs not only gives us greater control over our desktop strategy, it helps the IT team to meet our part of the college’s objectives and reduce the amount of power we use.”

The college’s aim is to reduce its carbon emissions by almost a third per year, from 30.6 megawatts to 22.6 megawatts. It has already consolidated 45 virtual machines on seven HP blade servers, and aims to reach 160 by the end of the year.


The Royal College of Physicians