We all know that data is the currency of our age. But while all of us gather and share data as best we can, not everyone has the expertise to properly network, manage, and secure it. In such an environment, trust and reliability in your infrastructure partners are key.
That's particularly true in healthcare, where data not only helps providers search for cures, look after patients, and tend to their needs, but is also now seen as the key to intelligence-driven preventative care. In that environment, reliability, speed, standards, and security must be at the heart of the system - alongside the ability to embrace new technologies, such as AI and the Internet of Things (IoT).
The Medical Center Leeuwarden (MCL) is the largest non-university hospital in the Netherlands and one of the country's top clinical centres. In 2017, MCL decided to undergo a major transformation, replacing its entire Local Area Network (LAN) and Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN). For a major hospital, its staff and patients, that is no minor undertaking.
Local provider AnyLinQ won the contract and partnered with Huawei, which offered multiple layers of redundancy, a simple architecture, open standards, high availability of Wi-Fi channels, and the potential to use smart sensors - according to Sebastiaan Smit, Commercial Director of Solutions for the AnyLinQ Group.
AnyLinQ started out as a consultancy, but was increasingly trusted with taking care of its customers' data, and so developed into a full-blown data management specialist. Its 300 employees are mainly technical experts and consultants.
"We are driven by our desire to develop knowledge then successfully apply it for our customers," explains Smit.
"We use our knowledge and understanding of data-based solutions to make sure that customers have their data available, and that they can manage and use it properly. In short, we are a passionate and loyal partner, helping enterprises thrive in the data-driven world."
Huawei is now the largest of its client partners, while AnyLinQ is one of Huawei's longest-standing Value Added Partners (VAP) and Certified Service Partners (CSP) in Europe.
Smit says that AnyLinQ was able to carry out the hospital's network migration swiftly and without a single disruption to the hospital's critical systems, on which human lives depend.
But it was not without its challenges. For example, the hospital had suffered compatibility problems between its telematics antennas and the transmitters provided by another company, Philips. Working together, AnyLinQ, Philips, and Huawei's R&D engineers were able to solve the problem in software, and so avoid the hospital having to incur additional hardware costs.
That demonstration of trust and economy led to a deepening of the relationship with MCL, which is now using Huawei's rack servers, E9000 blade servers, and OceanStor 6800 Hyper Metro configuration.
Back in 2015, AnyLinQ secured another major project in its partnership with Huawei: providing the network for Haarlemmermeer, one of the largest municipalities in the Netherlands - and home to the country's main international airport, Schiphol.
"This was a major project for us," says Smit. "We had to replace more than 1,000 Access Points, several hundred switches, and two cores. But we successfully implemented a campus network, and in the years since we have continued to innovate together with the municipality."
In 2017, Haarlemmermeer had a tough choice to make: Migrate to the cloud because its server and storage hardware was outdated, or build a new on-premises network. The municipality chose the latter, but opted for the cloud for its archiving.
Based on Huawei's X6800 shared chassis server technology, AnyLinQ implemented a Virtual Storage Area Network (VSAN) environment in a twin data centre configuration.
"For backing up the most important data, we provided an on-premises twin data centre, based on Huawei's OceanStor 5300, with the help of Hyper Metro Software," says Smit. "We also replaced the data centre network with a full 100GB Huawei DC core."
Since the relationship began with Haarlemmermeer in 2015, the demands placed on networks have changed greatly. For example, just using Skype for business has significantly affected the performance requirements for Wi-Fi channels. As a result, AnyLinQ has been engaged in a major upgrade programme, rolling out Huawei's Wi-Fi 6 portfolio for the Municipality.
"We have also created a redundant campus core across two locations and upgraded access stacks from 1 GB to 10 GB, with both core and access equipment provided by Huawei," says Smit.
"Techniques such as Virtual eXtensible Local Area Network (VXLAN) - a network virtualisation technology that is designed to address scalability problems related to cloud computing - will be used by default, and the municipality is using Huawei's eSight software suite to operate and maintain Haarlemmermeer's increasingly advanced ICT infrastructure.
"As data proliferates, and as the requirements of our customers necessarily become greater, we appreciate our partnership with Huawei even more.
"Above all, we are grateful that together we can support and expand our existing customer base, win new customers, and - most of all - innovate. When data disrupts, we help connect."