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Law firm moves to DataGravity Discovery Series from Dell EqualLogic

The Law Offices of Joe Bornstein filled performance, data classification and data protection checkboxes with startup DataGravity's Discovery Series array.

When it came time for the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein to upgrade its storage, the firm's IT manager wanted more than an array for holding data.

Chris Berube, IT and telco manager for the personal injury law firm based in Sanford, Maine, turned to DataGravity Discovery Series multiprotocol arrays.

Berube said his Discovery array solved three problems for the law firm: It could analyze data, protect it and improve performance over his other SAN array.

Berube found out about DataGravity through a reseller, and joined the beta program last March. He said he tested a beta system for approximately six months before purchasing a Discovery Series DG2200 model with 48 TB of hard drive capacity and 2.4 TB of solid-state drive (SSD) storage. He said the firm has about 65 users for its storage.

Bornstein began using EqualLogic iSCSI arrays in 2008, soon after Dell acquired the vendor. It currently has a five-year-old EqualLogic PS4000E and a two-year-old PS6500E array.

None of Bornstein's EqualLogic arrays have flash in them, although Dell does sell EqualLogic arrays with SSD options.

Berube said he is moving all of the firm's file shares to the DataGravity Discovery Series array, but he will keep the PS6500E as a repository for backup. The Bornstein office's main application runs on a Sybase database, which is also on the DataGravity box because of the performance boost from its flash.

Berube said DataGravity removed the need to add a software application that could classify data and provide a data audit (he was looking at Varonis Systems). Its redundant dual-controller setup also improved his data protection, and the flash sped performance.

"I started adding up features I would need to solve those three problems, and it would have been in the neighborhood of $150,000 to purchase all the pieces and parts," he said. "The price of DataGravity gave me the leverage to go in and say, 'If I have to buy all these parts separately, I will spend almost double what this device will cost.' It made more financial sense than implementing multiple products to do the same things."

DataGravity can discover Personal Identifiable Information (PII) data inside files. PII data includes information such as Social Security or credit card numbers that can identify individuals. Berube said within a few days of running the Discovery system, he found corporate credit card information in the law firm's files and quickly began removing them.

DataGravity also identifies files that have been deleted on a system, and can prevent users from deleting files that should be retained.

"There is a concern that users are deleting files they shouldn't be deleting, either accidentally or on purpose," Berube said. "The DataGravity box keeps every file until the purge date that I have set, and that's well past seven years."

Berube said he also likes DataGravity's monitoring capability, which saves him from having to use a third-party tool.

"Right now I'm watching the array, and it's hitting 10 megabits per second and in the neighborhood of 800 to 900 IOPS," he said. "That's something that's been hard with EqualLogic to pinpoint. We have some latency issues with the EqualLogic array. This tells you right upfront what the whole array is doing and you can go into data stores and see what those data stores are doing for performance."

For data protection, DataGravity stores its snapshots -- called DiscoveryPoints -- on a separate controller (Intelligence Node) than active data. DiscoveryPoints remain available if data is lost on the other controller.

Berube also said provisioning storage was simple. "Go to the basic GUI, say, 'Here's the name of the CIFS share or iSCSI share that I want to use,' tell it how much space and click 'done.'"

He said all the files that he has moved to the DataGravity box have received a "substantial bump" in performance, "to the point where my end users have commented that things are faster."

Next Steps

DataGravity Discovery Series arrays provide data-aware storage

DataGravity closes a substantial funding round

Dig Deeper on Solid-state storage