Published On: 11th May 20174.4 min readTags: , , , ,

Business Challenge

A full service law firm with six locations in the UK and 930 staff – of which over 500 are either partners or lawyers – Mills & Reeve provide services to individuals and businesses, including leading health, education, real estate and insurance sector clients.

IT is critical to their business and downtime is not an option. Dave Bradshaw, IT Infrastructure Manager for Mills & Reeve, is responsible for keeping the servers running at each of the offices.

Originally, each branch office had a pair of servers running VMware ESXi free for their local IT requirements offering little protection against server or storage failure. This lack of resilience in the local server set-up was potentially an issue which could either lead to downtime, lost productivity, difficulty in recovering data and ultimately loss of revenue or dictate an immediate, high priority response from the IT team. Mills & Reeve was also planning the roll-out of scanning software to the six branches, something that could not be performed over the WAN to the datacenter as it required too much bandwidth. Dave began looking for a cost effective, highly available and resilient solution which would improve recoverability. As it was only a small amount of data (~400GB at each remote site) that needed to be protected, a traditional SAN or other software-defined storage solution was too complex and costly.


Mills & Reeve installed SvSAN on two HP DL360 Gen 9 servers at each branch office, virtualized using a VMware vSphere hypervisor, to provide resilience in the event of component failure. Operating in a hyperconverged configuration, the servers run SvSAN to deliver highly available shared storage which is used by between four and ten virtual machines per branch to run business applications – including, in some branches, legacy systems – and the Nuance Copitrak scanning and printing application.

Why StorMagic

Having looked at both physical SANs and other software-defined storage solutions, Mills & Reeve chose SvSAN from StorMagic. SvSAN proved itself to be by far the most cost-effective solution, especially with the minimal amount of IT resource and hardware required to support it.

SvSAN also offered simplicity and ease of deployment – Mills & Reeve had it up and running within a matter of minutes – and ongoing maintenance is easy with a “set and forget” configuration.

The resilience offered by the SvSAN two-server configuration enables Dave’s team to schedule maintenance and replace any failed server components in a practical, timely and cost effective manner rather than having to react to every outage as an emergency. Mills & Reeve have virtually eliminated downtime associated with hardware failures since implementing SvSAN.

Technical Configuration

Server Configuration (Per Server)
SvSAN License Mix of SvSAN 2TB and 6TB Platinum
Hardware HP DL360 Gen 9
Memory 64GB
Storage 1.8TB RAID 10
Networking 1 x Quad port 1GbE

1 x Dual port 10GbE

The 10GbE ports are used for SvSAN iSCSI and mirroring traffic and the servers are directly cabled together, eliminating the need for a 10GbE switch.

Front-end/user access to the applications is over the 1GbE interfaces.

Hypervisor VMware vSphere 6.0 (Standard Edition)
Applications Typical branch configuration: 4 VMs running a mix of Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2 operating systems. Branches with legacy applications have 8-10 VMs running a mix of Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2 operating systems.

Main applications:

Nuance Copitrak application for local scanning, printing and optical character recognition (OCR).

Microsoft Active Directory domain controllers and network services (DHCP) for back office services.

Data Protection Veeam

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