Rennert Vogel Mandler & Rodriguez, P.A. (Rennert Vogel), has deployed the latest version of its SANsymphony -V storage hypervisor. The law firm enlisted DataCore’s technology to cost-effectively achieve high availability (HA) in its virtual environment, allowing for non-stop business operations and greater staff productivity, while improving network performance and storage capacity management.
“We often come into contact with people from larger law firms that have bleeding-edge systems and they are envious of our virtual infrastructure,” said Mike Ferguson, IT director for Rennert Vogel. “They learn about our HA, the centralized management, performance - even across Layer 2 transport - and are amazed at the benefits the SANsymphony-V storage hypervisor offers. Add to this savings from not having to refresh hardware and it’s clear we made the right choice with DataCore.”
The DataCore SANsymphony-V storage hypervisor is a portable, centrally-managed software suite capable of enhancing the combined value of multiple disk storage systems, including the many purpose-built storage appliances and solid state disks (SSDs) type devices arriving to the market daily. The storage hypervisor supplements the individual capabilities of specialized equipment with a broad range of device-independent, integrated services. SANsymphony-V software executes on physical and virtual servers or can co-reside with server hypervisors. Other major features include, but are not limited to, “Quick serve” storage provisioning, automated tiering across SSDs, disk devices and different cloud storage providers and continuous data protection (CDP).
Rennert Vogel’s relationship with DataCore began in early 2008 with a foray into storage virtualization that entailed the onsite deployment of a SANmelody storage hypervisor (the precursor to the SANsymphony-V storage hypervisor). Pleased with the results, Rennert Vogel acquired another storage hypervisor from DataCore and set up a standalone node in what is known as a “cage” at Host.net, a co-location, managed services and cloud services provider in nearby Boca Raton. An ensuing phase moved almost all of Rennert Vogel’s production environment servers to the virtualized infrastructure at Host.net.
Today, Rennert Vogel has two DataCore™ SANsymphony-V storage hypervisors running as synchronously mirrored copies in the same cage, meeting a prime objective of data redundancy. These “front” two storage arrays from Promise Technology, with four Dell PowerEdge R610 servers located on the iSCSI SAN fabric. VMware vCenter runs within that setup. Three VMware ESX hosts are on the Dell servers, connected to the SANsymphony-V storage hypervisors, running a mix of Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) and slower Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA) drives. All the virtual disk capacity for the firm’s IT needs is carved out and served from the virtual infrastructure as an HA configuration. The system supports over 25 virtual machines and Rennert Vogel is connected via a 100 MB dedicated internet access (DIA) line.
Rennert Vogel has virtualized all the systems one would associate with a dynamic, knowledge-based enterprise, including the accounting system, case management system, file servers, a Citrix server for remote access, a fax server, as well as two Linux servers. A Microsoft Exchange server will also soon go from physical to virtual, protected by the HA configuration powered by SANsymphony-V. The virtualized databases and applications are literally the lifeblood of the firm, with the file servers supporting the Corporate, Tax, Real Estate and Litigation departments.
Rennert Vogel’s virtualized infrastructure also ensures the availability of multi-media files and depositions that represent hours of transcribed audio files. Moreover, the mandate at the firm is to store nearly everything -- files, emails and all attachments. This great volume of documents has also been addressed through virtualization; stored and made readily available with a capacity that now supports 8 terabytes (TBs) of data. Additionally, Florida’s hurricane season used to be cause for real trepidation because if the building operator needed to close the building, the entire firm was required to leave the premises. Now, work no longer has to grind to a halt; employees can easily work remotely and Rennert Vogel is truly prepared for disaster with two copies of its data and HA.
Equally important, the availability “hiccups” Rennert Vogel had encountered prior to embracing storage virtualization -- relying on lone servers that routinely failed to work -- have gone away. Moreover, the virtualized environment has accelerated performance. The centralized management functions of both VMware (through vCenter) and SANsymphony-V have made management very easy. Server consolidation has freed up hardware for reuse, saving money, and because underlying disk and server hardware is interchangeable with the storage hypervisor software, Rennert Vogel can swap out any device at any time for added investment protection.
“The gains we have achieved by deploying DataCore technology to virtualize storage resources include increased reliability, performance, and peace-of-mind for all of us,” added Ferguson. “We benefit from centralized management, from being able to consolidate servers, less refresh of hardware and more. Using SANsymphony-V for storage virtualization has improved the utilization of the firm’s existing hardware one-hundred times over, while future-proofing us for easy expansion down the road.”
A full case study of the Rennert Vogel deployment is available here: http://www.datacore.com/Testimonials/Rennert-Vogel-Mandler-Rodriguez.aspx .
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