Isle of Anglesey County Council Delivers Innovative Digital Services on Flexible Lenovo Infrastructure

Faced with large budget cuts, the Isle of Anglesey County Council wanted to ensure that the quality of public services remained high and customer satisfaction remained strong. To meet changing pressures and demands, the council replaced its aging IT infrastructure with a flexible and powerful Lenovo System server solution. Today, the council can offer exciting new digital services, such as agile working for staff and a smartphone application for citizens, all while cutting energy costs by up to 60 percent.
“The Lenovo solution has enabled us to take a first step in the transformation of IT services.”
 —John Thomas,
Head of IT,
Isle of Anglesey County Council
Solution components
Lenovo System x3850 X6 with Intel® Xeon® E7 family of processors
IBM FlashSystem V9000
IBM Storwize V7000
Citrix XenApp
Microsoft Hyper-V
VMware vSphere
“We expect to reduce energy costs by up to 60 percent with the Lenovo solution – a huge saving.”
 —Neil Summers,
IT Infrastructure Manager,
Isle of Anglesey County Council
“We are highly confident that the Lenovo solution will help us to keep delivering excellent council services in spite of austerity measures.”
 —John Thomas,
Head of IT,
Isle of Anglesey County Council
The Isle of Anglesey County Council is responsible for all local government services in Anglesey, an island off the north-west coast of Wales in the United Kingdom. Managing everything from refuse collection to education and social care services, the council’s 3,000 employees serve a population of around 70,000 people.

John Thomas, Head of IT at the Isle of Anglesey County Council, begins: “Like all UK local authorities, we are under pressure from central government to deliver cost savings. Councils across the country are undergoing significant change as a result of budget cuts and Anglesey County Council is no different. To meet changing demands from the business and ensure that the council continues to deliver the best level of service to citizens, we decided to replace our aging IT infrastructure with a much more flexible solution.”

Doing more with less
Tasked with cutting costs, Anglesey County Council identified IT infrastructure as a key area where savings could be made without negatively impacting council services. In fact, the council realized that it could actually improve services by refreshing its infrastructure.

John Thomas explains: “In recent years, the council has been undergoing a digital transformation in order to try to save money. For example, staff are encouraged to work from home as smaller local offices are closed and people are re-located to the main council building. We realized that to support this digital strategy, and the new demands it brings, we needed a much more flexible infrastructure in place. We wanted to replace our aging servers with a modern, efficient and reliable infrastructure that would enable us to respond quickly to the changing needs of the organization and better serve citizens.”

Neil Summers, IT Infrastructure Manager at the Isle of Anglesey County Council, adds: “Previously, we were running over 150 servers in our datacenter. Hardware is costly to manage and needs on-going replacement, so we wanted to dramatically reduce the number of physical machines and instead provision virtual machines. To cut costs, support a large virtual server environment and boost flexibility, we opted for a complete infrastructure refresh.”

Out with the old, in with the new
After evaluating offerings from a number of vendors, Anglesey County Council decided to replace its existing infrastructure with Lenovo System server technology.

“We weren’t looking to buy racks and racks of servers,” recalls Neil Summers. “We wanted to consolidate over 150 physical servers to high-end enterprise-class servers that we could fill up with virtual machines. We therefore wanted the highest-specification servers with the highest number of cores and the most memory – Lenovo System x ticked all of those boxes.”

Working closely with Lenovo and implementation partner Celerity UK Ltd, the council initially deployed six Lenovo System x3850 X6 servers. Powered by Intel® Xeon® E7 family of processors, the Lenovo solution delivers the high levels of performance needed to support the council’s virtual server environment, based on VMware vSphere virtualization technology, and Citrix XenApp for application virtualization and application mobility.

John Thomas comments: “We actually planned the Citrix deployment around the Lenovo System x servers, as we knew that we could scale up to the large number of virtual desktops needed to enable remote working on a small number of very powerful servers. In this way, the Lenovo solution has enabled us to take a first step in the transformation of IT services.”

Smarter working
In the past, fewer than 100 people regularly worked from home, as Neil Summers explains: “Our previous remote access solution was complex and difficult to use. The new Citrix environment running on the Lenovo servers, on the other hand, is very user-friendly and much more efficient. We are currently testing the Citrix environment, but when it goes live over the next couple of months, we expect the number of people working from home to rise significantly – reducing overhead, real estate and energy costs.”

Cutting costs
In addition to the potentially huge savings the council may achieve by enabling more and more employees to work remotely, the Lenovo solution also delivers the following direct cost savings:

“By reducing the number of physical machines, we will significantly reduce the cooling requirements and lower our energy costs,” says Neil Summers. “We expect to reduce energy costs by up to 60 percent with the Lenovo solution – a huge saving. What’s more, because the Lenovo servers are warrantied over the full lifecycle, there is very little on-going maintenance spend, helping us to deliver services cost-effectively.”

Putting council services at residents’ fingertips
A new mobile service supported by the Lenovo solution is AppMôn, a smartphone-based application for Anglesey citizens, which is available on Apple, Android and Windows mobile platforms. Running in the council’s hybrid cloud, the application feeds information from a user’s mobile device into business systems running on the Lenovo servers.

John Thomas remarks: “With AppMôn, citizens can report issues such as the illegal dumping of refuse, potholes and broken streetlamps directly to the council via their mobile phone. Rather than having to call during business hours and have their request moved from department to department, residents’ requests are sent directly to the relevant teams. To report an issue, users simply take a photo of the issue – such as a broken streetlamp – and the application geo-codes the location and sends the information to the relevant department. This makes life easier for everyone involved, as the locations of issues such as these are often very difficult for residents to report. How do you describe a particular streetlamp out of the hundred on a road? How do you accurately describe a rural location where people dump refuse?

“The longer these issues go unreported to the council, the more hazardous they become to the public. Issues tend to worsen over time, which only adds to the clean-up costs. The quicker and easier it is for people to report an issue, the sooner the council can deal with issues while keeping costs to a minimum.

“We have received a lot of positive feedback from residents regarding AppMôn, as well as from other service providers. North Wales Police and North Wales Fire & Rescue Services, for example, all have the application installed on their devices so that they can report any incidents they see on patrol to the council.”

Meeting changing demands
Despite continued pressure to reduce costs, Anglesey County Council is determined not to let budget cuts affect services. With the Lenovo solution in place, the council can respond to changing business demands on the fly, ensuring residents receive the best possible service.

“The Lenovo solution gives us the ability to move processing power and memory resources from one virtual server to another quickly and easily – enabling us to add capacity on demand,” comments Neil Summers. “For example, if we have experienced a bout of bad weather, traffic to the council website typically increases by 600 to 1,000 percent. The number of transactions skyrockets as residents log in to check for gritting routes and school closures. With the Lenovo System x servers, we can assign capacity to the relevant virtual servers to respond to this increased demand and ensure that the website runs smoothly. When the rush is over, we can then move the capacity back to where it needs to be.”

John Thomas concludes: “The ability to respond to changing business needs enables us to provide a consistently high level of service to citizens. We are highly confident that the Lenovo solution will help us to keep delivering excellent council services in spite of austerity measures.”

For more information
To learn more about Lenovo Data Center Systems solutions, contact your Lenovo Sales Representative or Lenovo Business Partner, or visit:
For more information about the Isle of Anglesey County Council, visit: or connect with @angleseycouncil
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