Dell Equalogic, iSCSI Deliver the Goods at Highly Virtualized Law Firm

A VMware customer for more than seven years and a Dell EqualLogic shop, Quarles & Brady LLP, a large, international law firm based in Milwaukee with offices in Illinois, Florida, Arizona, and China, runs on an 80% virtualized environment says Manager of Network Engineering Rich Raether. Specifically 280 of its 350 servers and all its core applications, including Microsoft Exchange, except the core office suite, are virtualized. It also has 250 desktops running under VDI, including 50 power users. That group includes secretaries who type at 230 words per minute.

“We originally moved to VDI to replace remote access,” Raether said. “A year ago I would have said it will be five years before we are using VDI for our production desktops, but now, here we are.”

Before moving to VDI, he said, those fast typists always gave IT problems. “They out-typed the interface.” That doesn’t happen any more.

Behind the curtain the company is 100% Dell Equallogic and iSCSI. It actually migrated from fibre channel, and, Raether says, 10 Gbit iSCSI gives them equal performance as FC. “With iSCSI going to 40 Gbit soon it will be ahead.”

That was a major factor in solving the one problem they were having with the VDI installation – boot storms every weekday morning when all the employees came in. That problem evaporated when they moved to the Dell EqualLogic/iSCSI storage platform.

The company chose EqualLogic after a “bake off” among the leading storage providers. The decision came down to two factors: First, it was much easier to manage than the other choices. Second it cost less. “We would say, ‘Suppose we want to create a second instance of something.’ And the vendors would say, ‘Time out. That will require an additional license, so it’s going to cost you something.’ Or we would say, ‘We just want to do some backups,’ and they would say, ‘Time out. You will need another license.’”

With Dell EqualLogic, by comparison, the pricing structure had just two items: the cost of the array, and support and maintenance. “All those other items are encompassed in the support and maintenance.”

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