Peer to Peer Magazine

Spring 2017

The quarterly publication of the International Legal Technology Association

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13 WWW.ILTANET.ORG BEST PRACTICES How To Narrow Down Your Data Center Choices data centers that are "lit" with the firm's primary communications vendor. A setup by one vendor not only costs less, it also takes less time to implement. When a firm chooses a vendor not lit in one or more of the buildings, the vendor must contract with another company to provide full connectivity to the sites. This process can tack on another three months to your co- location project. Ask vendors if they can provide short-term connectivity to the building from which you are migrating your systems. This will ease your transition and provide padding against unpleasant downtime. A vendor that can do this scores extra points. Budget As you build your selection criteria and scorecards, costs play a significant role. Before asking for a quote, determine precisely how much equipment will be co-located. Firms that skip this step end up overpaying for space and power. Then ask your top three choices for quotes. Firms usually find that moving to a co-location is cheaper on a monthly basis. They save on cooling, power and other maintenance requirements. Also, any co-location center will offer increased security and redundancy than a primary on-premises data center, which will save your firm money in case of a disaster. Added Value and Past Performance Some data centers are only used as a place for a firm to store equipment. Others offer myriad services, including skilled engineers, extra storage, internet access, website hosting and virtual hosts. Additional features that might be of interest include: » Whether the data centers are connected to multiple municipal power grids or connected to one » Whether the data centers have raised floors or concrete floors » Whether the vendors charge for cross-connecting communication lines when others might not charge at all If you prefer some features over others, you can shorten your list of candidates further. Another important factor to consider when reviewing your short list is how the data centers fared during past major storms and outages. If reviewing a facility in the Northeast, ask for specific information on how the facility and its clients handled Hurricane Sandy. If they are hesitant to discuss previous outages and how they plan to mitigate them in the future, that could be a warning sign. Data Centers of Tomorrow This checklist is a good guideline to get you started today, but continue to do your research to keep up with the rapid pace at which data center technology is moving. As I write this, Microso is researching underwater data centers. Your IT team won't be visiting those for hands-on maintenance; Microso expects them to surface only every six years or so. Meanwhile, more of us are moving to the cloud with Office 365 and other hosted systems; in which case, Microso or Amazon or another provider will choose one of its many worldwide data centers for you. Many law firms are already running hybrid environments that mix cloud and physical servers. Cloud providers have their own servers and networks, and their clients only pay for what they use. While law firms have been reluctant to store data in the cloud, this will change as the industry works to meet security demands. Microso is now building centers in Europe that meet stringent compliance obligations and is fighting the U.S. government in court over the sovereignty of its data abroad. Whichever way you go — cloud or physical, on- premises or co-located — consider your firm's priorities and pick an approach that will keep you thriving in the years ahead. P2P CHRIS OWENS Chris Owens is a Solution Architect and Practice Group Leader for the enterprise client systems group of Kraft & Kennedy, Inc. With 15 years of consulting and technology management experience, Chris provides technical design and leadership for leading Am Law 100 firms in areas including desktop design and management, server and storage consolidation and co-location, disaster recovery and business continuity planning and implementation, email messaging design and migration, document management deployment, and hybrid/thin-client architecture. Contact Chris at owens@ kraftkennedy.com. Firms usually find that moving to a co-location is cheaper on a monthly basis.

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