Because every minute of downtime affects billable hours and impacts trial preparations, this high-profile law firm needed a fail-safe disaster recovery solution for all of its centers as well as a simplified way to refresh hardware and migrate servers. With PlateSpin® Migrate from Micro Focus, Reed Smith reduced its server footprint by 20%, reduced server migration time from six months to two, and virtually eliminated downtime during server migrations.
“We reduced our footprint by 20% by easily migrating from physical to virtual servers.”
Server Team Lead
Reed Smith LLP
Reed Smith LLP represents many of the world’s leading companies in complex litigation and other high-stakes disputes, cross-border and other strategic transactions, and crucial regulatory matters.
With nearly 1,600 attorneys and 22 offices, Reed Smith is one of the largest law firms in the world. The firm represents many of the world’s leading companies in complex litigation and other high-stakes disputes, cross-border and other strategic transactions and crucial regulatory matters. In this intense environment, maximizing uptime is essential. “Every minute of downtime affects billable hours and impacts trial preparations,” said Geoff Grayson, server team lead for Reed Smith LLP.
In response to tremendous business growth outside the U.S., Reed Smith established centralized data centers in Asia and Europe and needed a fail-safe disaster recovery solution for all of its centers. “We were striving to achieve application-level failover between data centers to ensure business continuity in case of a server outage,” said Grayson. “We had been using a SAN [storage area network] boot drive for disaster recovery, but since we had newer hardware at our European and Asian data centers, the solution was no longer image compatible. We needed a hardware agonistic solution.”
The firm found that PlateSpin Protect was the only solution on the market that fulfilled its needs. “We knew PlateSpin Protect would give us the data recovery protection we needed, regardless of what type of hardware resided in each data center,” said Grayson. “We also recognized the value in PlateSpin Protect’s ability to quickly fail over and fail back, as this was something we envisioned needing in the future.”
Reed Smith soon deployed PlateSpin Protect for all of its tier 1 applications—including litigation, messaging, SQL Server and document management software—on its Windows-based servers. “The product is housed at our Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, center, which serves as a disaster recovery site. In case of a server outage elsewhere, we can use PlateSpin Protect to run up-to-date backup virtual machines in Pittsburg until the server can be restored. At that point, we can automatically fail back.”
The firm also found PlateSpin products beneficial when performing hardware refreshes and migrating to virtual machines running on VMware ESX. “Using PlateSpin Migrate, we were able to conduct 100 physical-to-physical and 100 physical-to-virtual migrations with virtually no downtime,” said Grayson. “Without PlateSpin Migrate, we would have had to manually rebuild and migrate servers one at a time, which would have caused significant disruption to our users. Instead, we were able to migrate everything at once.”
With a diverse array of hardware platforms, Reed Smith found PlateSpin Migrate particularly helpful. “We need to support everything from hardware that’s four years old to new HP blade servers,” said Grayson. “PlateSpin Migrate’s conversion capabilities add value in this area. The software is flexible and extremely easy to use. It’s a quick and easy solution for migrating all our servers.”
“Had we not found PlateSpin Protect, we would have had no way to recover data for our older servers without maintaining an identical backup server, which is simply unfeasible,” said Grayson. “With PlateSpin Protect, we can recover multiple sites with the same set of hardware quite easily, in a matter of minutes.”
The virtualization benefits were equally impressive. “We reduced our footprint by 20% by easily migrating from physical to virtual servers,” said Grayson. “Without PlateSpin Migrate, we wouldn’t be able to leverage VMware to its fullest extent, and we would have fewer virtualized servers.”
The software also saved the firm considerably in labor costs. “We were able to perform physical-to-virtual migrations in a third of the time,” said Grayson. “And we could migrate multiple servers concurrently for added time savings.”