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Maurice Blackburn Ends Reliance on Legacy Backup and Recovery

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Leading Law Firm Achieves Greater ROI with Cohesity

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At a Glance

The firm deployed Cohesity’s data management and protection software, enabling the firm to easily back up, protect, and manage its data.

Challenges

The firm’s previous backup and disaster recovery solution relied on a legacy solution to capture backups, which were stored initially by a third party before data aged out to tape after 30 days.

Solution

Maurice Blackburn was introduced to Cohesity due to its integration with Pure Storage. The firm is also running deduplication across data sources, which reduces their footprint in both Cohesity and data archived in Azure.

Results

Maurice Blackburn now runs an initial full backup on the first day of each month directly to Cohesity and incrementally adds to it each day. At the end of the month, the backup package is offloaded to Azure where it can be archived, and with Cohesity’s powerful indexing, is easily searchable.

Overview

Maurice Blackburn is among Australia’s leading social justice law firms. With its beginnings in 1919, it has grown into a national firm with 33 offices throughout Australia and more than 1,100 legal professionals.

Challenges

Maurice Blackburn runs under a hybrid IT infrastructure model. Its primary data center is in Port Melbourne and houses many of its production systems. It also uses software as a service for applications such as human resources and IT service management.

The firm has subscribed to Pure Storage’s ES2 service with 50TB capacity for primary storage. The firm’s previous backup and disaster recovery solution relied on a legacy solution to capture backups, which were stored initially by a third party before data aged out to tape after 30 days. Relying on a third-party for near-term storage and then tape for long-term archival was identified as problematic by the firm’s internal risk committee. This approach also posed challenges for the firm’s IT staff, who had to invest significant time if data needed to be retrieved from storage.

“We needed more confidence in our ability to test and restore from backups,” says IT Manager Adam Williams of Maurice Blackburn. “We tested random restores every quarter, which involved weeks of work from IT to go through tapes to try to find the data and then to actually restore it.”

Maurice Blackburn also needed to find a way to purge data it held in backups to meet court orders and future legislative obligations. The need to be able to search for personally identifiable information (PII) when necessary—to address potential compliance requests or related matters—was of importance to Maurice Blackburn.

The firm saw an opportunity to uplift its backup and recovery systems and processes. In particular, it sought the following capabilities:

  • A simple, next generation, cost-effective platform that offered a searchable index of backup and unstructured data
  • Bringing reliable data management and protection capabilities in-house
  • The ability to tier backups out to Azure cloud instead of tape

Solution

Maurice Blackburn was introduced to Cohesity due to its integration with Pure Storage. It then struck up a direct conversation and brought Cohesity in to demonstrate its solution to various parts of the company. “We evaluated Cohesity over many months and were impressed with the Cohesity solution and happy with what they could offer,” explains Williams.

Maurice Blackburn deployed Cohesity’s data management and protection software, enabling the firm to easily back up, protect and manage its data. Channel partner Cirrus Networks played a key role in deploying the solution while also providing valuable consulting and advisory services.

With Cohesity, we have a competitively priced, modern solution that has much greater capabilities than legacy solutions. Even better, we know we’ll see a great return on our investment.”

– Adam Williams, IT Manager

Results

Maurice Blackburn now runs an initial full backup on the first day of each month directly to Cohesity and incrementally adds to it each day. At the end of the month, the backup package is offloaded to Azure where it can be archived, and with Cohesity’s powerful indexing, is easily searchable.

It is also running deduplication across data sources, which reduces their footprint in both Cohesity and data archived in Azure. “We’re able to reduce the cost of offloading to Azure because of the deduplication that’s in place with Cohesity,” says Williams.

The firm only had to wait a few days after having Cohesity in production before receiving its first restoration request to locate and recover a deleted file from its document management system. It was done “in minutes” whereas previously, the effort involved may have been much more challenging and time consuming.

IT received an additional request to locate and restore from backup a full SQL server virtual machine that had failed. Again, the job was completed in 15 minutes.

The company sees further use cases for Cohesity, which it is now starting to explore.

The ability to snapshot virtual machines using Cohesity is likely to smooth Maurice Blackburn’s path to re-hosting those machines in the cloud instead of on its own. “If we did want to transition fully into cloud, we have that ability to take our current on-premises production VMs, snap them, and then convert them into native Azure VMs or native AWS VMs with minimal effort. So Cohesity is not just a great product for backups, but also a stepping stone into cloud.”

Cohesity’s zero-cost instant cloning capability could also be easily used in the future to spin up dev/test environments on the same platform. “When a developer needs to change one of our core systems, rather than pay for a dev environment to be constantly on, we can quickly do a zero-cost clone of the backup for the dev instance, and they can use it until they need it, and we can then wipe it away. We can do that quick snap based on Cohesity having the capability of doing instant VM snaps. So we’re looking at that as well,” says Williams.

Benefits gained by Maurice Blackburn from Cohesity include:

  • Indexable backups that are easily searchable on-prem and in the public cloud, allowing the firm to purge data to comply with court orders and client requests
  • The ability to use cloud storage for archival purposes, reducing reliance on tape storage
  • A path to transitioning more of its IT environment to run in the cloud

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