Bird & Bird is an international law firm with a focus on helping organizations being changed by technology and the digital world. With over 1400 lawyers in 31 offices across Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific.
Bird & Bird works with some of the world’s most innovative and technologically advanced companies, each of which depends on cutting-edge legal advice to meet their business objectives. As the business and client base grew, the quantity of data grew with it. Bird & Bird found that its tape-based backup systems were simply not able to cope with demand.
The legal industry is a time critical one, with pressures on deadlines for submission to court, preparing for trial and every solicitor and paralegal billable by the hour. Therefore, any time lost through ineffective technology can have a serious impact on client service and the performance and reputation of the firm. For security reasons, the Bird & Bird backup tapes were stored at a separate location. As a result, if a file was lost, it could take up to four hours for it to be recovered – an unacceptable delay in such a time-sensitive industry.
"We now have the ability to provide any of our users with a near instant restore. This is satisfying to us in the IT team and really helps us to deliver an excellent service. Our users can be confident that the technology is behind them to deliver world class service to their clients and never waste another billable hour again. "
ExaGrid won the competitive bid as Bird & Bird believed it delivered a strong combination of faster backups, a scalable long-term solution, and improved security of data. Furthermore, the ExaGrid system also enabled Bird & Bird to deliver on its promises to clients by providing rapid data restores.
Jon Spencer, Infrastructure Manager at Bird & Bird commented, “I selected ExaGrid’s solution ahead of the competition, including Dell EMC Data Domain, from a purely technological viewpoint. However, not only is it exceeding my expectations in terms of technical performance, but I have also been surprised with the business impact it has made.
We now have the ability to provide any of our users with a near instant restore. This is satisfying to us on the IT team and really helps us to deliver excellent service. Our users can be confident that the technology is behind them to deliver world-class service to their clients and never waste another billable hour again.”
The load on the tape drives meant that a weekly backup was taking all weekend and most of Monday to complete. This was having significant performance implications. Spencer knew that simply adding more tape drives wouldn’t solve the problem and decided to improve the situation and cope with future demand by adding a disk-based backup system.
“We had lots of problems with tape backup which soaked up a lot of our time and resource. Our main concern was our weekly backup window because if the backup was running and the tape still in use, we couldn’t restore files from that media.
“With ExaGrid we back up 8TB of data and it produces a small fraction of that amount to be stored on the back end. I no longer come in on Monday with dread. Looking to the future, the final reason why we chose ExaGrid ahead of its competition was the scalability of its system. We now have the freedom for expansion at a later date without incurring a major financial cost,” said Spencer.
ExaGrid’s appliance models can be mixed and matched into a single scale-out system allowing a full backup of up to 2.7PB with a combined ingest rate of 488TB/hr, in a single system. The appliances automatically join the scale-out system. Each appliance includes the appropriate amount of processor, memory, disk, and bandwidth for the data size. By adding compute with capacity, the backup window remains fixed in length as the data grows. Automatic load balancing across all repositories allows for full utilization of all appliances. Data is deduplicated into an offline repository, and additionally, data is globally deduplicated across all repositories.
After a thorough selection process, Bird & Bird selected the ExaGrid system from four alternative offerings and is already beginning to see a remarkable ROI. By moving 8TB of data backups to the ExaGrid system, Bird & Bird has reduced its tape- based backup window by up to 25% and will reduce it further as more data is migrated from tape to the ExaGrid system.
ExaGrid’s turnkey disk-based backup system combines enterprise drives with zone-level data deduplication, delivering a disk-based solution that is far more cost effective than simply backing up to disk with deduplication or using backup software deduplication to disk. ExaGrid’s patented zone-level deduplication reduces the disk space needed by a range of 10:1 to 50:1, depending on the data types and retention periods, by storing only the unique objects across backups instead of redundant data. Adaptive Deduplication performs deduplication and replication in parallel with backups. As data is being deduplicated to the repository, it is also replicated to a second ExaGrid site or the public cloud for disaster recovery (DR).
The ExaGrid system was designed to be easy to set up and operate. ExaGrid’s industry-leading level 2 senior support engineers are assigned to individual customers, ensuring they always work with the same engineer. Customer’s never have to repeat themselves to various support staff, and issues get resolved quickly.