The Business Challenge
The core asset of every law firm is data. If data is corrupt and can’t be recovered
quickly, law firms risk losing clients’ trust, their firms’ reputation, billing
opportunities and regulatory compliance. One hour of downtime each
month costs the average law firm £45,000 in lost billing over the course
of one year (based on 25 lawyers billing at £150 per hour). Charles Russell
Speechlys has more than 500 lawyers.
Data is growing fast in the legal industry, and when law firms merge, data
increases enormously. That’s what happened when two law firms — Charles
Russell and Speechly Bircham — merged to become Charles Russell Speechlys.
Hundreds of VMware vSphere virtual machines (VMs) had to be moved from
Speechly Bircham’s European data center to Charles Russell’s UK data center.
“Our goal was fast, efficient data migration,” said Abba Abbaszadi, Head of
Infrastructure at Charles Russell Speechlys. “Our challenge was avoiding data
corruption and data loss, which contribute to downtime. Downtime can mean
lost revenue for a law firm.”
The IT team was most worried about migrating critical VMs running Microsoft
Exchange, SQL Server and customized applications for the legal industry
including InterAction for customer relationship management, BigHand for
dictation and WorkSite for document management. Team members also
worried dissimilar production storage in the data centers might complicate VM
migration. Additionally, they worried about balancing migrated data evenly on
production storage in the UK data center to avoid input/output (I/O) congestion.
They were equally concerned about host and VM capacity in the UK data center.
The migration project was under a strict deadline. The sooner the project
completed successfully, the sooner critical IT systems could support the
newly merged company.
The Veeam Solution
Veeam® Availability Suite™ helped Charles Russell Speechlys migrate
hundreds of VMs with no downtime and no data loss, meeting the
merger deadline with three weeks to spare.
“Our job is to protect data,” Abbaszadi said. “Veeam helped us merge
two separate date centres with no impact on revenue. Veeam is a
reliable VM migration solution offering modern data protection.”
Over the course of several weekends, Charles Russell’s IT team,
supported by OISG, a Veeam Gold ProPartner and Solution Partner
for ExaGrid, used Veeam to replicate VMs in batches of 10 to 15 from
Speechly Bircham’s data center (source) to Charles Russell’s data center
(target), followed by failover from each source VM to each target VM.
The IT team had already been using Veeam because it was the only
solution at the time to offer application-consistent backup and
replication. Legacy backup was slow and inconsistent, and since it could
only back up entire VMs, the IT team had to rebuild failed VMs before
using a third-party tool to restore application items such as email,
which took hours.
Today Charles Russell Speechlys’ IT team saves hundreds of hours each
year by using Veeam Explorer™ for Microsoft Exchange to recover
emails in minutes and Veeam Explorers for Active Directory and SQL
Server. Reliable backup and fast recovery serve as the backbone for
regulatory compliance in the legal industry, making it fast and easy
for the IT team to demonstrate data compliance during an audit.
There were two additional reasons for choosing Veeam. It is storageagnostic (Charles Russell’s multinational offices had different storage)
and offers something that legacy backup did not: advanced monitoring,
reporting and capacity planning. The IT team wanted visibility into the
virtual infrastructure to identify and resolve issues before they impacted
users and the business. Monitoring, in particular, was helpful during the
merger too. Before migrating VMs, team members monitored vCenter
on the target side to identify the busiest hosts and VMs. Then they
upgraded CPU memory and RAM before migration.
Today, Charles Russell Speechlys backs up 130 TB across 800 VMs onpremises to ExaGrid storage appliances for fast recovery and replicates
among data centers for disaster recovery. Veeam backup is significantly
faster than legacy backup, resulting in shorter backup windows.
Recovery is faster too because Veeam restores in minutes on ExaGrid’s
landing zone. This means that Charles Russell Speechlys can instantly
recover and run a VM from the ExaGrid appliance if the primary VM is
unavailable, enabling key business operations
to run smoothly.
“Veeam is everything you need for modern data protection,” Abbaszadi
said. “And if you need to migrate VMs, you can be confident your data
will be valid with Veeam.”
- Met the migration deadline with three weeks to spare
Veeam replication migrated hundreds of VMs over several weekends,
including VMs running the firm’s most critical systems: BigHand,
InterAction and WorkSite. Replication and failover were so fast and easy
with Veeam that the IT team beat the migration deadline by three weeks.
- Protected revenue by avoiding data corruption and loss
During the merger, Veeam replication helped Charles Russell Speechlys
avoid data corruption, data loss and downtime. Downtime for a law firm
often translates into lost revenue. “It’s difficult to be productive and bill
clients when systems are down, but Veeam helped us avoid downtime,”
- Delivers continual 24x7 availability of data
“Veeam gives us peace of mind because we know we have reliable backups and
replicas,” Abbaszadi said. If there was ever an issue, we can restore in minutes.”