Law firm aims for resilience with fibre roll-out

International law firm Allen & Overy has reached the midway point in a £4.5m project to link its datacentre and global locations via a state-of-the-art Cisco metropolitan area network.

International law firm Allen & Overy has reached the midway point in a £4.5m project to link its datacentre and global locations via a state-of-the-art Cisco metropolitan area network.

The aim is to create an infrastructure that is available 100% of the time, said Andrew Brammer, head of global IT operations at Allen & Overy. 

The company has about 4,700 staff, including 430 partners, who work in 25 offices around the world.

In July 2005, it contracted Fibernet, a bespoke network service provider, to set up a managed optical fibre network linking its sites. 

The datacentre, located at the Winnersh Triangle in Berkshire, is managed by service provider Savvis. When the project is completed, the fibre network will connect the datacentre to the law firm's offices in Canary Wharf and its new headquarters in Bishops Square, London.

Allen & Overy said it planned to move from its present offices in St Paul's to the Bishops Square site  by November 2006.  

The network to the datacentre is now live.

The remaining part of the programme involves building and commissioning the Fibernet network so that it extends to the Canary Wharf and Bishops Square offices. 

Brammer said, "The main business driver for undertaking a managed network of this nature is risk management. We are separating our people from our data.

By doing this we are protecting two of the most critical elements of our business: our transactional data and our intellectual capital." 

The company plans to use the fibre network to run 2,500 IP phones linked to Cisco's Call Manager application and to set up global video conferencing and functions such as universal inboxes, in 2007.

Technology chosen for high availability

Allen & Overy's metropolitan area  network is based on Cisco's ONS15454  Multiservice Transport Platform, running in parallel in a dual-chassis and dual-ring configuration. 

This provides high levels of availability between the different locations, enabling the law firm to gain fast transactional data transfer, back-up and recovery, and networked access to storage, said global head of IT operations Andrew Brammer.

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