Law firm legislates for more efficient IT with virtualisation

Canadian firm reduces its server environment by almost two thirds, streamlines computing management of its environment and eases provisioning and set-up of systems for new users.

Deploying virtualisation across its Windows computing infrastructure has led to Vancouver law firm Owen Bird making significant business benefit.

  So far Owen Bird has been able to reduce its server environment by almost two thirds, streamlined management of its computing environment and easy provisioning and set-up of systems for new users.

Owen Bird currently supports about 90 users in a Windows-only environment. The firm is running a number of critical workloads in a virtual environment including its Blackberry enterprise server in full production; its complete training/test accounting package running on SQL server; and all of its production Terminal Servers, which are running 24/7. The firm is also building all its test servers on the Virtual Iron virtualisation solution.

Owen Bird started the virtualisation project with 18 servers and it expects to reduce that number to six. This will enable it to avoid buying five new high end servers, saving the firm an estimated $70,000 this year in hardware alone and roughly $30,000 per year thereafter. According to Stephen Bakerman, IT manager, though, there were more savings than just hardware purchases this year.

“Without [virtualisation], we would need to expand our server room,” he added. “The firm was running out of space and our power and cooling requirements were growing out of control. This alone would have cost the firm another $75,000 if we hadn’t virtualised our server environment.”

The firm also expects significant operational benefits using advanced virtual management capabilities. For example, Bakerman can now provision a new server in a virtual environment and have it up and running in minutes rather than the week or more it used to take to get a physical server up and running. The firm is also taking advantage of availability and disaster recovery capabilities to support automatic failover and automated policy-based management. Eventually, Bakerman expects to virtualise the firm’s entire computing environment.

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