Building a new IT infrastructure platform for United Drug Sangers | ET Works
Case Study

Building a new IT infrastructure platform for United Drug Sangers

United Drug Sangers required a new IT infrastructure platform for both its desktops and servers. Furthermore, all of these workloads needed to be fully protected at a remote DR site to ensure stringent RPO and RTO SLA’s were met.

“The Nutanix solution supplied by ET puts our IT organisation on the forefront of technology and enables us to meet the stringent demands of our dynamic and growing business. The next-generation hyper-converged platform that Nutanix provides covers both our desktop (VDI) and server virtualisation requirements and yet can be managed through a single management I nterface, reducing the burden on IT staff. It’s resilience and advanced replication features mean we can reduce our Recovery Point Objective (RPO) to zero and our Recovery Time Objective (RTO) to minutes, which was a key requirement for the business and none of the other options could deliver this capability with quite the same ease of use and elegance as Nutanix.”



United Drug Sangers is the largest Irish pharmaceutical wholesaler, distributing medicines to hospitals, doctors and chemists across the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. United Drug Sangers can trace it’s history back to Thomas McMullan and Co., a retail pharmacy that opened in Belfast in 1860, and since then it has grown through a series of mergers to become the largest wholesale pharmaceutical distributor in Ireland. It has a long history of innovation: in 1976 it became the first company in Ireland to run all systems by computer and in 1986 it offered the first overnight service to pharmacists.

Due to United Drug’s constantly changing business demands, coupled with continual growth, the IT department saw a need to implement a more flexible, scalable and easy to manage IT infrastructure than their legacy SAN-based environment could offer. The refresh of the current environment extended to include both servers and desktops and would take place over two phases. For the first phase (desktop refresh), it was decided that a virtual desktop solution (VDI) would enable faster deployment of users, reduce image management overheads and break the historical dependency on expensive PC’s. For phase two, an increasingly rigorous compliance framework and a business need to guarantee core system uptime required further innovation in terms of how virtual servers were deployed.


  • Nutanix 1065-G4 clusters
  • Integrated storage
  • Memory and compute resources in a single appliance
  • Managed through Nutanix’s Prism management interface
  • Two clusters at the primary site (VDI, servers)
  • Mirrored to a corresponding set of clusters at the DR site

ET worked closely with United Drug to assess the business requirements and develop an appropriate IT solution. It was decided that a complete refresh of the existing infrastructure with a next-generation hyper-converged solution from Nutanix would provided the needed business flexibility, scalability, ease of management and high availability that the business demanded.


Complete system resilience in the event of hardware failure, with one-click failover to DR; high performance for VDI and enterprise LOB applications; ease of management.




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