Identifying efficiencies to remain competitive
The challenge for the IT department at Burges Salmon is identifying efficiencies which enable the firm to remain competitive. The impending move to a new building was the catalyst to rethink the firms’ technology strategy. Andy Seaman, Head of Service Delivery explains “The practice of law has not changed fundamentally since the time of Dickens but, instead of fountain pens and paper, we now use a keyboard and a screen. Technology therefore is a vital component in the delivery of advice to our clients.”
To ensure a successful office move, Burges Salmon’s IT team assessed the risks. As Seaman pointed out, “The business impact of some late IT projects is not great. But with the office move, it all has to work the next day”. The big question was how to move more than 110 servers to the new building without disrupting the business.
Server virtualisation is a technology which consolidates data computers into virtual electronic servers running on a reduced number of powerful computers. The firm invited Commercial IT Services, a company experienced in virtual server technology, to assess the cost saving potential and impact on the business in the event of a system failure. An analysis carried out by Commercial IT Services, showed Burges Salmon could reduce the number of servers in two phases yielding massive savings and simplifying the office move. Initially the team reduced 50 non-core application servers to five.
Benefits and cost savings
As Seaman explains, “Commercial’s strategy makes our office move far less complex”. A key benefit is the server move takes place electronically. First, Burges Salmon move existing physical servers to a virtualised environment in a new server chassis housed in the existing server room. Later, the team move each virtualised server to a new chassis in an external data centre – this move is done wholly electronically and doesn’t involve the (often risky) movement of physical servers. Lastly, the old server chassis and blades can be relocated to the new building where it can mirror the machines in the data centre. This dual-system approach means Burges Salmon’s IT has redundancy and is more resilient if a failure occurs. Seaman explains, “This system redundancy ensures business continuity and dramatically lowers our risk”.
Further benefits include huge electricity savings and reduced environmental impact. Slashing the number of servers by 90% saves Burges Salmon £30,000 each year in electricity.
Why Commercial IT Services?
“The team spoke to us well before anyone else, they knew about virtualisation and understood it.” Seaman highlights, “Commercial was willing to invest time helping us understand the benefits. It’s incredibly uncommon to find a company like Commercial IT Services in the IT industry. They are an asset, a deliverer, a facilitator and an enabler. The Commercial proposition is compelling, the return-on-investment clear. We decided to just get on with it.”