Law firm Nixon Peabody unifies data center with joint Cisco, NetApp Ethernet platform

March 3, 2009
March 3, 2009 -- Nixon Peabody LLP has improved its virtualization infrastructure, enhanced its disaster recovery capabilities, and increased operational efficiencies in its data center operations by unifying its storage and network capabilities on a platform comprised of NetApp and Cisco Ethernet solutions.

March 3, 2009 -- NetApp announced that Nixon Peabody LLP, one of the largest multi-practice law firms in the United States, has improved its virtualization infrastructure, enhanced its disaster recovery capabilities, and increased operational efficiencies in its data center operations by unifying its storage and network capabilities on a platform comprised of NetApp and Cisco Ethernet solutions.

According to NetApp, Nixon Peabody has offices in 19 cities throughout the world with more than 825 attorneys collaborating in 21 major practice areas. As a law firm, Nixon Peabody is faced with management and cost of ownership challenges surrounding a growing volume of electronic data. To meet these needs, the firm transitioned from its previous Fibre Channel infrastructure to a 10-Gigabit Ethernet (10-GbE) infrastructure that uses NetApp FAS storage and Cisco Catalyst switching products.

"We needed a better way to manage our data," comments Peter Allen, director of IT operations at Nixon Peabody. "NetApp and Cisco provided us with a solution that better positions the firm to meet our clients' evolving needs. The combination of NetApp and Cisco helped us deliver on a number of operational goals such as ease of management, flexibility, scalability, business continuity, and disaster recovery."

Nixon Peabody deployed a NetApp FAS6040 storage system along with two Cisco Catalyst 6509 Ethernet switches in its primary data center using 10-GbE interconnects. The dual Cisco Catalyst 6509 switches operate in a Virtual Switching System (VSS) cluster and help to provide continuous operation of the firm's network, storage, and virtual environment in the event of a failure. The firm's staff is now able to perform maintenance activities without any scheduled downtime, providing the highest level of system availability to its attorneys and clients. Furthermore, by deploying a 10-GbE infrastructure along with VMware, Nixon Peabody was able to deploy 210 production virtual servers on just 15 physical servers.

As a result of this virtualization project, which utilizes Cisco and NetApp platforms as the core infrastructure, Nixon Peabody has decreased its data center power consumption by approximately 30%, supporting the firm's "Legally Green" initiative and lowering operational costs. Additionally, Nixon Peabody says it has greatly benefited from NetApp's multi-protocol support, delivered from a single, unified storage system architecture for added flexibility.

"Moving to our Ethernet infrastructure has really helped us take full advantage of our virtualized server environment," continues Nixon Peabody's Allen. "With the Ethernet network infrastructure we now have in place, we are getting so much more performance and scalability out of our VMware server environment. This also enabled us to cost effectively build out our disaster recovery strategy. Going into this deployment, we were confident that Cisco and NetApp were going to deliver to us the most efficient and flexible storage and networking solution out there, and we have not been disappointed."

As further testament to NetApp and Cisco's commitment to network virtualization, the two companies note that they have worked together to develop an Ethernet Unification Center of Excellence on NetApp's campus in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina that features Ethernet-based protocols running on a Cisco 10-GbE backbone. Customers who want to witness real-time demonstrations of Cisco and NetApp unified network and storage architectures and learn Ethernet storage best practices can visit the center, which opened in November 2008. NetApp and Cisco have also worked together to provide similar demonstrations at Cisco's Data Center Network Application Lab (DNA Lab) in San Jose, CA.

"Our relationship with NetApp is a natural fit as both companies aim to deliver products that help customers streamline and enhance their data centers," says Walt Blomquist, vice president in Cisco's Campus Switching Systems business unit. "With our leadership in Ethernet networking and NetApp's leadership in Ethernet storage, customers can benefit from the best of both worlds. Furthermore, NetApp's center of excellence provides customers with an invaluable tool to learn more about how they can incorporate Ethernet technology into their data centers today."

"Customers like Nixon Peabody are a great example of how the synergies between NetApp and Cisco deliver Ethernet storage and networking solutions that reduce costs and power use, and boost manageability in the data center," concludes Patrick Rogers, vice president of solutions marketing for NetApp. "The center of excellence is only further proof of this and is a breakthrough for customers, enabling them to get an up close and personal look at the power of a converged data center and the benefits it affords."

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