Sheppard Mullin is a full-service Global 100 law firm. Its 750+ attorneys handle a wide range of corporate and technology matters, high stakes litigation, and complex financial transactions for hundreds of clients around the world.
Wanted to resolve concerns with the existing storage systems and simplify IT management.
- Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Platform: 1000, 3000, and 8000-series systems
- Nutanix Acropolis File Services (AFS)
- Nutanix AHV
- Nutanix Prism management solution
- Improved system up-time, enhancing attorney productivity and increasing client satisfaction
- Increased performance
- Eliminated additional IT involvement with easy AFS self-service restores
Sheppard Mullin had been looking to utilize newer emerging technologies to provide improved technology services to the firm’s attorneys and staff. One of the firm’s most critical applications is an on-premises document management system. “Our attorneys spend a lot of time editing, reading, and writing legal documents.,” noted Lawrence Lozzano, Senior DBA at Sheppard Mullin. “Whenever there’s a performance issue with our document management system, it impacts our ability to serve clients effectively. That system must be up 100% of the time.”
When it came time to refresh the IT environment, Sheppard Mullin started reviewing some of the newer infrastructure options. “We were looking for the ‘most advanced technology to meet our upgrade needs. Hyperconverged is the hottest thing in the market right now, so we decided to run a POC on the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Platform.”
Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Systems
After the highly successful POC, Sheppard Mullin purchased a Nutanix NX-3000 and an NX-8000 series system for its primary datacenter, and an additional 3000-series system for the firm’s secondary data center. Both of those clusters are running the Microsoft Hyper-V hypervisor. Sheppard Mullin also purchased a Nutanix NX-1365 three-node cluster for AFS and is using AHV, the Nutanix virtualization solution, on that cluster. They are using encrypted disks on the NX-1365 cluster for HIPAA compliance.
Nutanix Acropolis File Services (AFS) is an enterprise grade fileserver that is 100% software and is simple, scalable, and elastic, demonstrating Nutanix’s vision for the enterprise cloud. AFS was designed to address a wide range of SMB/CIFS use cases, including Windows user profiles, home directories, and departmental shares. “With Windows File Server, you need to set up Windows clustering in order to get a highly available fileserver,” noted Lozzano. Setting up and managing AFS is very straightforward. Plus, the 1-click upgrade process makes it very easy to manage going forward.”
Better Performance and Higher Uptime
Although Sheppard Mullin originally chose Nutanix to improve system uptime, they are seeing the added benefit of increased performance. “Our Nutanix blocks can go up to 100,000 IOPS,” noted Lozzano. “That’s more IOPS than we’ll ever need, but it’s nice to know that performance should never be an issue for our tier-1 applications.”
“Nutanix is providing near 100% uptime, enabling us to more easily meet our SLAs. With Nutanix, our attorneys can be more efficient with their caseloads, providing better service to all of our global clients,” Lozzano said.
Easier Management with AHV and Prism
“In order to manage Microsoft Hyper-V, your skill set needs to be more advanced,” Lozzano explained. “You need to know how to use the Hyper-V Manager, Windows Guest Clustering, and System Center Virtual Machine Manager. Troubleshooting the Hyper-V system can sometimes be difficult. With Nutanix AHV, you don’t have to be a virtualization specialist or a storage guy. A junior technician can look at a document and start working on the system within 15 minutes. We have also been impressed with the Nutanix Prism management interface. It is a ‘one-stop shop’ where I can do everything I need to do in one pane of glass.”
Easy Self-Service Restores with AFS
Nutanix AFS enables user self-service recovery by integrating with Windows previous versions. “Restores are much easier with Nutanix AFS,” Lozzano said. “We just give our document management system engineer a share, create the security groups to lock it down, and we’re done. When he needs do a restore, he just opens up File Explorer, goes to the right path, and the file is right there. With AFS, it’s all done through a single product where file recoveries are much faster.”
Improving Disaster Recovery
Sheppard Mullin is currently using Commvault for disaster recovery. With Commvault, they can easily backup the AFS shares and replicate them to their secondary datacenter for DR. AFS overcomes the hurdle of having multiple hypervisors and gear at multiple sites, simplifying management and enabling them to continue to meet DR requirements as their infrastructure evolves.
Obtaining Great Nutanix Support
“We found the Nutanix support group to be extremely knowledgeable with superior client service,” Lozzano shared.
Sheppard Mullin is planning on running file services for the firm’s Citrix VDI environment on Nutanix AFS, as it will lead to both VM and file storage consolidation on the same platform, enabling easy management and control.
“With the Nutanix hyperconverged platform, you may not need a storage, server, and hypervisor specialist. If you’re looking for a hyperconverged system that is powerful, reliable, and simple to manage – Nutanix is an excellent choice,” concluded Lozzano.
Nutanix is providing near 100% uptime, enabling us to more easily meet our SLAs. With Nutanix, our attorneys can be much more efficient with their caseloads, providing better service to all of our global clients.Lawrence Lozzano, Senior DBA, Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP