Virtual server provides back-up for legal practice

Law firm Addleshaw Goddard is establishing a business continuity plan based on virtual server technology from VMWare.

Law firm Addleshaw Goddard is establishing a business continuity plan based on virtual server technology from VMWare.

The firm has more than 160 partners and a £125m annual turnover. It runs VMWare’s ESX Server virtualisation software over a storage area network to replicate servers and data from datacentres to a co-location centre.

Virtualisation technology is gaining in popularity as it allows users to run fewer servers in their datacentres; one large server can replace several smaller ones. Addleshaw Goddard previously ran one business application per server, but it is now moving its applications to a cluster of 10 Hewlett-Packard DL 560 servers running VMWare virtualisation software.

Daniel Simms, head of IT operations at Addleshaw Goddard, said he developed a disaster recovery system to allow the firm to switch to a back-up datacentre if the main centres failed. "We are implementing storage virtualisation at the same time as server virtualisation to allow us to replicate VMWare data to our co-location centre. If a virtual server fails we can power up one in the co-location centre," he said.

Business-critical applications running on the servers include Exchange 2003 for e-mail, HR, library management and document access systems, Simms said.

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