One of the UK’s leading law firms, Mishcon de Reya LLP depends on its digital platforms to deliver high-quality services to clients across the UK and internationally.
“We have a wide range of applications to support our legal function and back office,” said Peter Hughes, Availability Analyst at Mishcon de Reya LLP. “As well as legal matter management and time tracking systems, we rely on Microsoft 365 applications and supporting infrastructure such as databases and file servers. Our fee-earners need access to these systems 24 hours a day, so availability and business continuity are both crucial capabilities for us.”
To boost resiliency while reducing operational costs, Mishcon de Reya LLP has a long-term strategy to move its on-premises systems into the cloud. The organization has an extensive virtualized environment, today comprising 300 virtual machines (VMs) hosted on 12 bare-metal servers in an on-premises data center, and approximately 180 VMs in the Azure cloud.
“When we first embarked on our cloud transformation, we quickly realized that our previous backup tool would be unable to meet the new requirements,” said Hughes. “In the long term, we aim to back up from and restore to any location: on-premises or in the cloud. However, our legacy data protection tool did not offer these capabilities.”
Mishcon de Reya LLP backs up all on-premises mission-critical systems to disk. In total, the organization protects 40TB of data — but the reliability of its previous tool created challenges.
“Our legacy backup tool was unable to deliver the level of speed or reliability we targeted,” said Hughes. “We had to back up each of our IT environments individually and monitor the processes closely to ensure they finished successfully. Backups would sometimes fail midway through the process, requiring time-consuming troubleshooting. The former tool was also unable to integrate properly with our storage area network [SAN], which meant that backup and recovery processes took several hours to complete.”
To solve the challenges, Mishcon de Reya LLP set out to find a new approach. “We only have one full-time equivalent [FTE] to handle all data protection activities, so it was important to keep manual tasks to a minimum,” said Hughes. “To achieve our cloud migration goal and eliminate the risks associated with our previous tool, we looked for a modern data protection solution.”
After reviewing the data protection market, Mishcon de Reya LLP selected Veeam® Availability Suite™: bringing together the advanced monitoring capabilities of Veeam ONE™ with the powerful data protection features of Veeam Backup & Replication™. By augmenting its solution with Veeam Backup for Microsoft Azure and Veeam Backup for Microsoft 365, the company can protect its data and systems wherever they reside:on-premises or in the cloud.
“Veeam is incredibly simple to use but also extremely powerful and flexible,” said Hughes. “After speaking with other law firms using Veeam, we were confident that we could configure Veeam to manage backups across a hybridcloud environment from a single pane of glass.”
A proof-of-concept reinforced the view that Veeam was the right choice for Mishcon de Reya.
“Veeam eliminates the need to deploy and manage agents on our servers,” said Hughes. “Veeam Backup & Replication also integrates tightly with both our enterprise hypervisor and Hewlett Packard Enterprise [HPE] Nimble SAN, which dramatically accelerates our backup and recovery processes.”
Working with its technology partner, Mishcon de Reya LLP deployed and configured Veeam to protect the IT systems that support its UK business. Today, the organization uses Veeam Availability Suite to back up data from its primary data center and local UK offices automatically at daily, weekly and monthly intervals, depending on the importance of each system to the business. All data is encrypted, with regular on- and off-site backups to tape to ensure that mission-critical systems are recoverable in the event of a disaster scenario.
“In addition to accelerating our backup and restore processes, Veeam allows us to make far better use of our storage resources,” said Hughes. “Built-in compression and deduplication technology reduces our storage requirements by as much as 40% for some workloads. As a result, we can now use the disk space we’ve reclaimed to create more frequent snapshots of our HPE Nimble SAN, which reduces our recovery time objective [RTO] from days to hours for key systems.”
With Veeam, Mishcon de Reya LLP has eliminated the reliability issues of its previous data protection tool and streamlined its ongoing move to cloud.
“Veeam just works — which means that if I go on vacation, I don’t need to worry that a complex issue is going to crop up that requires lots of domain-specific knowledge to resolve,” said Hughes. “Since we made the switch to Veeam, we’ve started moving more and more systems into Azure. We can orchestrate all our backups — on-premises and in the cloud — from a single point of control, which makes our hybrid environment extremely easy to manage.”
As its cloud transformation continues, Mishcon de Reya LLP plans to explore new ways to enhance its data protection capabilities. For example, using Veeam SureBackup technology, the company will be able to automatically test its VM backups to ensure they are complete and bootable. The company is also interested in creating immutable backups — preventing ransomware attackers from modifying its data.
“Moving to Veeam allows us to get greater visibility of our data, use our resources more effectively and restore systems faster,” said Hughes. “Our legal teams deal with time-sensitive matters, so IT-related disruption has the potential to impact clients. Thanks to Veeam, we can better protect our data, and our business, from the risk of unplanned downtime.”