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Data Center Design

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The office of Drinker Biddle, a 650-lawyer firm with 11 offices nationwide, was nearing its lease. The firm was considering whether it should relocate its servers out of its primary data center in its main office in Philadelphia, which was susceptible to flooding. The firm was also looking for a way to centralize and consolidate its infrastructure to streamline operations and to better prepare the firm for expansion and, conversely, for unexpected disasters.

The firm could use previously purchased servers for its new environment

Kraft Kennedy determined that Drinker Biddle would not be able to retrofit its servers in the main office and recommended that the firm consider relocating its data center to ensure its stability and ability to grow. Drinker Biddle had a secondary data center that provided the firm with adequate uptime, and the consultants worked with Drinker Biddle to determine that two off-premise data centers would be in its best interest, with one for primary use and one for disaster recovery, rather than using the flood-prone Philadelphia office as a primary site.

Familiar with the pros and cons of various data centers, Kraft Kennedy helped the firm choose a primary site on the East Coast that would support seven of its offices in that area and a backup center in the Midwest for the firm’s other four locations. Kraft Kennedy engineered the data centers to be available to failover to each other should the need arise. During the course of the data center design, Kraft Kennedy’s technical consultants discovered that the firm could use previously purchased servers for its new environment, saving Drinker Biddle approximately $250,000.

Following the redesign, Drinker Biddle’s IT expenses became more stable and predictable. The incremental cost of moving to a new office or adding capabilities is now a static figure that the firm can regard independently of the other costs of doing business. The use of the colocation facility ensures that power, cooling, and maintenance are automated and will be resilient enough to support the firm’s server infrastructure. Moreover, since its disparate systems have been consolidated, the secondary offices have access to all of the firm’s data and, likewise, attorneys from Drinker Biddle’s main Philadelphia office are linked with the firm’s various locations on the East Coast.

Hurricane Sandy resulted in little downtime for Drinker Biddle due to the high availability of its servers. The firm’s IT team had the turnkey to quickly deploy an environment to support 500 attorneys working remotely as the hurricane approached.