WPA makes a healthy choice with Claranet managed hosting

WPA explain the reasons they selected Claranet as their integrated Managed Services Provider in this case study. By using Claranet, WPA do not have to deal with the difficulties of managing multiple network and hosting providers. Claranet designed a holistic managed hosting and network solution for WPA which includes a Managed Application Hosting service based around a fully-virtualised environment, a VPN between three sites integrated with Claranet’s own MPLS network, with a dual circuit resilient connection to the Internet.


WPA is a major player in the UK health insurance market, providing an extensive range of private medical insurance plans and health scheme administration services for corporate and individual clients. Based in Taunton, Somerset, the company takes considerable pride in its long history of successful business spanning more than a century.

A key component in WPA’s long-running success is its commitment to quality of service. The company puts the customer at the centre of all that they do and consistently wins awards for outstanding customer satisfaction.

In 2003 WPA chose Claranet to provide a reliable and secure hosting platform to run its 24/7 administration system, assist on the secure control of sensitive customer information and enable a highly-available service where customers can manage their policies online.

In 2010 WPA undertook a comprehensive review of its IT infrastructure, as it sought to further minimize downtime and optimize efficiency across its operations. Following the re-tendering process, WPA again chose Claranet continuing their strong business relationship.

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Mark Chambers, Director of Best Practice.

The brief

Adam Powell, WPA’s IT Operations Manager. “Our customers expect to be able to access and manage their insurance policies at any time of the day or night, so service uptime was a critical consideration. We needed a single supplier that could provide an end-to-end service for both hosting and networking to entrust our important customer-facing and internal applications.

“As Claranet was already a trusted technology business partner which shares the same values as WPA - one that could consult on best practice and service management into the future - we asked them to help design our new solution.”

Claranet proposed an entirely new Managed Application Hosting service based around a fully-virtualised environment, integrated with Claranet’s own MPLS network.

The solution

Claranet implemented a Managed Hosting service comprising multiple servers, integrated with a resilient MPLS Virtual Private Network (VPN) to 3 UK sites. The use of dual circuits was employed to deliver automated failover between circuits in a business continuity situation and increase availability of the network and its resources.

Under the new service, Claranet hosts and manages WPA’s customer-facing informational and ecommerce website; its internal accounting and business systems, which are used from many locations around the globe; and its company-wide Microsoft Exchange platform. The hosting service is complemented by an integrated highly-resilient MPLS network, incorporating IPSec VPN connectivity between UK locations and India. Finally, Claranet implemented a Storage Area Network (SAN) to meet WPA’s storage requirements.

The service also includes centralised Internet breakout, terminated at one of Claranet’s datacentres in London where Claranet provides WPA with dual circuit, resilient connectivity to the Internet.

In addition, Claranet provided a Managed Application service whereby WPA owns and operates an environment that provides dedicated clustered Microsoft Exchange services, as well as the use of a dedicated SAN to meet high performance storage requirements.

The entire service employs best-of-breed software, hardware and networking components, such as Cisco, Microsoft, HP and EMC and is proactively managed and monitored by Claranet’s monitoring and alarming systems.

Claranet takes responsibility for overall service availability, which enables WPA to concentrate on running the business rather than worrying about our IT infrastructure,” said Powell. “It also means that we do not have the additional headache of managing multiple network and hosting providers; instead, we enjoy a single point of contact for the entire service.”

The result

Mark Chambers, WPA’s Director of Best Practice, concludes, “WPA is committed to delivering outstanding levels of customer service and in Claranet we have identified an organisation that is willing to share this commitment with us. As a consequence the technical solution, and its delivery and management, is at a performance level that in many cases exceeds our expectations.”

Business benefits

  1. Peace of mind, providing resilient network and system architecture with high availability of mission-critical applications
  2. High performance, delivering fast and reliable access to business resources
  3. Secure architecture protecting sensitive WPA client data
  4. Flexible, highly scalable solution to ensure customer service delivery now and into the future
  5. Access to detailed technical consultation and ongoing performance reviews to maximize performance and ensure the solution takes advantage of technological developments into the future