Case Study: Hollingsworth LLP

Hollingsworth LLP Easily Transitions from Evault SaaS to Evault Software As Business and Data Grows

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Hollingsworth LLP is among the nation’s leading litigation firms, particularly in complex corporate trial and appellate work associated with pharmaceutical products, medical devices, toxic torts and product liabilities. But, that’s not the only leadership role this 80-lawyer firm holds. Integral to its success is the firm’s leading use of technology for litigation management. Managing thousands of electronic documents associated with the various phases of litigation, Hollingsworth LLP has had to become smarter not just in its use of systems and software but also in managing and protecting the multi-terabyte data growth it’s witnessed in the last few years.

Goals

Already convinced in the merits of disk-based backup and recovery solutions from EVault™, A Seagate Company, Network Engineer Rich Spicer had come to depend on EVault SaaS for automated, fast online data backups and restores early on in his tenure at Hollingsworth LLP. As the firm’s data footprint grew significantly larger, he wanted to continue protecting the data in the same manner, but manage it more cost effectively for the firm.

He was also already sold on EVault for a number of reasons: Its ease-of-use and support for rapid cross-training within the department, its reliability and speed of backups and restores, as well as its automated e-mails that confirmed backup successes or failures. When he heard managing backups and restores internally with EVault Software could help Hollingsworth LLP:

  • Significantly reduce disk-based backup costs while protecting larger amounts of data
  • Build on the firm’s knowledge of (and confidence in) EVault backup/restore processes
  • Offer a more scalable, cost-effective data protection model as the data set grew larger
  • Leverage the firm’s current investments in an off-site DR/replication facility and more powerful DS3-capable WAN connection

“I was already comfortable with EVault. I didn’t really need to be convinced since I’d already used it. I just had to convince my boss and the other engineer that EVault would still be the right way to go,” said Spicer.

Challenges

When EVault SaaS was implemented, the firm had to protect only a few hundred gigabytes of data. Its data had since grown to 10-12 TB, much of it consisting of millions of unchanging, scanned PDF and TIFF files. 3-4 TB of the total consists of Microsoft Exchange data, Firm documents, Litigation Support databases and multiple SQL regions. Two storage area networks (SANs) had already been implemented to address the scanned data, one at the firm’s headquarters and another at a nearby facility.

Replication software and a DS-3 pipe had also been implemented to replicate the scanned data from Point A to Point B. But, as the number of non-SAN-attached servers and data grew exponentially, there reached a point where SaaS became an unaffordable option.

Recalling the old days with backup tape and a spotty outside service to transport the tapes off-site, Spicer knew what he didn’t want. “I didn’t want to go back to managing any sort of tape library. We have 22 boxes we’re backing up with enough data it would take 10-12 tapes a night,” he said. “It’s a small shop. We only have a few IT staff. We do everything ourselves. If you’re dealing with Help Desk projects and anything went wrong, we didn’t have anyone dedicated to deal with the backup software, tape libraries or tape hardware.”

Spicer knew EVault would offer a better RTO/RPO profile for the firm’s needs. He also knew the firm needed a more cost effective way to cover and protect the firm’s current Windows servers.

Solutions

After contacting EVault, Spicer learned of two steps he could take to significantly shrink the firm’s monthly backup costs. The first was to renew the early EVault SaaS contract at a much lower per-GB rate. This move alone was able to reduce the firm’s monthly costs by several thousand dollars. Another move built into the contract would prove even more cost-effective: The ability to automatically upgrade to the use of EVault Software, now managed in-house.

Spicer discovered moving to EVault Software would not just allow the firm to back up all of its 3-4TB of server-based data, but would also reduce on-going costs to only a few hundred dollars a month. Once he ran the numbers, it didn’t take long for Spicer and his management to be convinced.

Results

Hollingsworth LLP now use EVault Software with its own server “vault” at the firm’s data center. Using a fast, DS-3 connection and EVault’s own data reduction/compression technologies, the firm has achieved faster nightly backups than those even previously performed via EVault SaaS. More importantly, all data is now protected cleanly and easily.

Spicer couldn’t be happier with his current EVault configuration. After investing in a few servers and licenses to bring the software in-house, he estimates it took him only a few months to see a return on the firm’s one-time investment. “I think it’s paid for itself already in the first 7 months,” he said, noting that the savings — now reaching into tens of thousands of dollars a year – made the owners very happy at the end of the year budget meeting.

Calculating the numbers is impressive. They translate to an annual and monthly backup savings of more than 96 percent over the firm’s prior arrangement. Scaling the system will also be relatively inexpensive since the hardware is now in place. Spicer can’t quite figure out how it works, but has been duly impressed with EVault’s delta and data reduction features that now make the equivalent of 36TB of backup data fit on just 3TB of disk space. “The technology is pretty amazing,” he said.