Case Study | May 13, 2013

Storage And Virtualization Solution Offers Portland Non-Profit Law Firm Expandable Network Capacity

Source: WYNIT Distribution, LLC

Metropolitan Public Defender (MPD) is a private, non profit law firm committed to providing high-quality criminal defense for indigent clients. Established in 1971, the Oregon firm has an office in Portland (Multnomah County) and one in Hillsboro (Washington County). It is the mission of MPD to deliver the best possible representation to clients in court appointed cases ranging from misdemeanor cases to felony cases (including homicides) in addition to juvenile cases and civil commitment proceedings.

The Challenge
Handling more than 17,000 criminal cases per year, Metropolitan Public Defender is a non-profit law firm that is nationally recognised for its leadership in the public defense community, its training programs, and the guidance, supervision and support of its attorneys. The company was looking to replace its outdated servers to increase speed, disk capacity, and provide reliable network data storage at its main office in Portland, OR. 

The server and storage infrastructure in the Portland office provides IT services for 150 attorneys and staff members including an in-house laptop docking system, Microsoft Exchange Email Server®, Web server, profi le sharing and personnel updates. In seeking to expand the system, Kyle Fergusson, Chief Technology Officer at MPD, began to explore solutions that would meet the firm’s requirements and budgetary needs. Some of the key features that Fergusson was looking for included volume virtualization, RAID support, & a high performance iSCSI interface.

“We researched numerous vendors and found they were overcharging customers.We discovered the D-Link DSN series and found that it had volume virtualization technology at half the cost of some competitors, and we were attracted to the price.” Fergusson added (upon learning D-Link allows customers the flexibility to install any supported drive including those with longer warranty periods), “We also found that the drives came with 5-year warranties so we don’t have to incur extra costs should they require maintenance.”

The firm required a fast & flexible server/storage system that is easily scalable for future expansion. The goal was to replace their existing server and its discrete internal hard drives with a fast server & SAN (Storage Area Network) array combination that could easily handle increased data while maintaining overall network performance. Fergusson contacted D-Link National Account Manager of storage Solution Sales, Chris Gruber, who advised him on product features and implementation of the storage solution. “Chris was very responsive, even after hours,” he noted. “And when we compared capacity to price point, D-Link was a good fit.”

The Solution
MPD opted for a beta installation of the new D-Link® xStack® Storage Area Network (SAN) Array (DSN-5210) that utilizes a 10Gbit iSCSI System-on-a-Chip (SoC), can handle over 80,000 I/Os per second, and is capable of supporting 24TB raw capacity using 2TB hard drives in each of the 12 hot swappable SAS/SATA disk drive bays (and larger drives as they are introduced). 

The DSN-5210 also offered a host of features that Fergusson was seeking, such as iSCSI support that reduces costs when compared to Fibre Channel solutions requiring proprietary network hardware. It also addresses growing storage needs with the addition of up to six DSN-5000 expansion JBOD enclosures for a total raw capacity of 168TB using 2TB hard drives. One of the biggest selling points for Fergusson was the volume virtualization offered by the DSN-5210. 

The SAN Array is equipped with volume virtualization that is used to enable RAID functionality, online capacity expansion and volume migration. With volume virtualization, drives of dissimilar sizes can be used to create volumes and growth can be facilitated without volume migration or reconstruction. 

“The scope that the D-Link volume virtualization has with RAID is just great. It far surpasses anything I could have found anywhere else,” he added. Fergusson said the installation process was easy and he is enjoying the DSN-5210 management features. “We just plugged it in and powered it on. It’s very simple and intuitive. It’s very easy for me to hop on and manage the volumes. Everything has gone really smoothly with it,” he said, adding that MPD has since implemented D-Link’s 2-year onsite service package with a 4-hour response to “maintain uptime.” MPD has since installed a DSN-3200 for their Hilsboro office.

“The scope that the D-Link volume virtualization has with RAID is just great. It far surpasses anything I could have found anywhere else.” Kyle Fergusson, Chief Technology Officer at MPD