High Availability

By Andy Jurczyk  |  Posted 2009-12-04 Print this article Print

Thanks to the company’s intranet, the attorneys at Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal get 24/7 availability to all the information they need to satisfy their clients and do their jobs effectively.

High Availability

To protect the Portal from downtime, we needed a solution that provided high-availability and disaster recovery. My team and I conducted an extensive review of several products, but we found that most were incapable of fully protecting our SharePoint environment because they were unable to replicate its indexing system.

We chose Neverfail software because it is a resilient and reliable high-availability solution that could guarantee the Portal’s seamless integrity. Additionally, we found that the product got great reviews from some other companies that were using it for SharePoint.

We selected a continuous-availability solution that proactively monitors the health of the entire SharePoint environment, including physical server hardware, network infrastructure and operating system. If a problem should occur, our solution would take a variety of pre-emptive, corrective actions without resorting to a full-system failover. In extreme cases, a nondisruptive, seamless failover to the secondary server can occur automatically—and transparently to users.

To get a better understanding of the environment, we conducted our own installation. Over a period of several weeks, we tested the product and completed the installation. During that time, we worked with the technical support team to ensure that any issues could be resolved quickly. An important part of the process was the level of support we received.

The Neverfail protection of the Portal went live in December 2007. Since then, we’ve had only one unplanned instance of downtime, which was caused by a network failure. The technology performed so seamlessly that we never knew about the failover. Today, we regularly conduct switchovers for routine maintenance and patch updates—without a glitch.

Since deploying the Portal, we’ve improved efficiency and productivity, and the ROI has been impressive. For example, one of our largest clients was looking to outsource extranet functions to a third-party vendor at a considerable cost. After comparing the Portal’s capabilities with that of the outsourced solution, our client chose our Portal for its advanced search and self-service features, as well as its ease of use.

With the addition of new attorneys and increased usage of the Portal, it has become the key resource for day-to-day operations, making availability an unquestionable necessity for the firm. With the high-availability disaster recovery solution protecting this application, we are confident that the Portal is protected against downtime—no matter what the cause. This ensures that our legal team has continuous access to business-critical documents and customer information anytime, anywhere.

Andy Jurczyk is CIO at Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal, a law firm headquartered in Chicago.

Andy Jurczyk is CIO at Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal, a law firm headquartered in Chicago.

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