Peer to Peer Magazine

December 2011

The quarterly publication of the International Legal Technology Association

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contents December 2011 BEST PRACTICES Server Virtualization for the Small Law Firm L aw firms are managing more data than ever before. And, while network data volumes are growing, servers in many organizations operate inefficiently — well below maximum capacity. Small law firms, in particular, need ways to streamline IT and scale to meet growing needs, while managing IT costs. Many firms are turning to server virtualization for help. At the most basic level, virtualizing a server means running multiple independent virtual operating systems on a single server — in effect, creating several "virtual machines" within one physical server. Virtualization enhances hardware efficiency by increasing server capacity utilization. It even increases the firm's agility by enabling the launch of new servers and applications in hours, rather than the days required to buy, configure, test and commission a new physical server. While medium to large law firms are virtualizing aggressively and shrinking their data centers, many small firms are unsure if server virtualization is right for them and how or when they should implement. Many are uncertain of the benefits they can expect. IS VIRTUALIZATION THE RIGHT MOVE? An important thing to consider is that server virtualization is a means to an end, not an end itself: If you are grappling with the decision of whether to virtualize, first consider resources demanded by an application. Think about whether your firm can benefit from some of the advantages of server virtualization: rapid recoverability, minimized downtime, cost savings, manageability and improved disaster recovery. 12 www.iltanet.org Peer to Peer COMPLETE A SYSTEM ASSESSMENT Many small firms miss an important key step in server virtualization: completing a system assessment. This might seem like an easy and obvious step to take, but surprisingly only 39 percent of those that have virtualized executed a data center audit beforehand. A system assessment or data center audit determines what resides on each of your firm's servers, which servers and applications are compatible with a virtual operating system and if your storage environment can support virtualization. Knowing these key elements of your data center is important in ensuring your server virtualization project is a success. In fact, a system assessment will help you further down the road; the number one challenge facing small businesses is compatibility, according to the survey. Compatibility issues can be easily identified and mitigated by completing a system assessment before beginning your server virtualization project. CDW conducted a survey of small businesses (defined as companies/firms with 20 to 99 employees), including small law firms, to determine their server virtualization status, what problems they faced along the way and best practices to ensure a successful implementation. Their responses were summarized in CDW's "Small Business Server Virtualization Roadmap," and highlights of the findings are included below. So once your firm is ready to embark on its server virtualization implementation, keep some of these best practices in mind. 9 10 18 24 26 28 32 Letter from the Director Best Practices Ask the Expert Tech Focus Ask the Vendor Smart Moves Case Studies features The Convergence of Big Innovations Creates Small Devices .......................... 44 Adverse Effects of the Vanishing Computer ........................... 50 Social Media and the Incredible Shrinking Organization ......................... 59 PAGE 48 Computers Shrink, Technology Grows and Firms Benefit .............................. 64 Good Things Come in Small Packages Less Data = Better E-Discovery ................... 68 Adverse Effects of the Vanishing Computer by Kim Brand Although advancements in cloud and mobile device technologies bring endless possibilities, even the brightest minds might not be able to illuminate the cascade of small problems in such highly complex systems. PAGE 62 Computers Shrink, Technology Grows and Firms Benefit by Chris Giglio In a profession where people and relationships drive business, technology has quickly become a key member of an ensemble that drives business development, manages the business and automates processes. features PAGE 42 The Convergence of Big Innovations Creates Small Devices by Dean Leung The rapid pace of advancement in smartphones and tablets makes it easy to forget how far we've come in terms of features and performance. Looking back at the advancements made by technology innovators, we can see how different technologies have made an impact on the devices and tools we use today. In the near future, consumer devices will continue to penetrate the enterprise space, and technologists need to focus on putting the foundation in place so we are ready to support the needs of the users as the technology matures. With the exponential increase in performance with each successive generation of smartphones, it won't be long before we are able to use a single converged device to replace our desktops, notebooks, tablets and smartphones. PAGE 57 Social Media and the Incredible Shrinking Organization by Eric Hunter Applying the expanding world of social media to business leads to an interconnected client network and a shrinking organization where technology innovates through competing marketplace forces. PAGE 66 Good Things Come in Small Packages Less Data = Better E-Discovery by Alon Israely There is a dichotomy between the amount of data created by an organization and the amount of data that they actually want to keep. Less is more — smaller is better. Peer to Peer the quarterly magazine of ILTA 41 77 78 Letter from the President Member Resources New Members, Event Calendar and More Peer to Peer the quarterly magazine of ILTA 7 86 Inside ILTA Popular Webinars, Crossword Puzzle, Lessons Learned and More

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