UK-based law firm Stephenson Harwood has moved to a virtualised data centre in a bid to improve its data management and cut costs.

Stephenson Harwood’s virtualisation environment consists of HP rack-mount servers, VMware Vsphere 4.1 software, RESDynamic Desktop Studio, Quest vWorkspace, Extreme Networks Ethernet switches, QLogic Fibre Channel switches and Dell Compellent storage.

To achieve improved performance from its systems the firm also deployed Xsigo virtual I/O technology to achieve a faster input/output and a 66 percent reduction in storage and networking connectivity costs.

Chris Petrie, IT director of Stephenson Harwood, said: “We had planned to expand our use of 10G Ethernet, but found that Xsigo virtual I/O could deliver four times the I/O performance to our servers and would accommodate Fibre Channel connections as well, all for about the same cost as a 10G Ethernet infrastructure alone.”

Xsigo virtual I/O consolidates server connectivity and allows a single server connection to act as many, in the same way as a virtualised server enables one physical host to appear as multiple devices.

Available with up to 40Gb bandwidth per server connection, Xsigo provides the throughput needed to accelerate applications and management tasks such as vMotion and data backup.

Stephenson Harwood purchased two Xsigo VP560 I/O Directors to ensure maximum I/O between virtual servers and SAN storage by offloading the majority of server-to-server traffic from the Ethernet core, and to significantly simplify and "de-risk" a forthcoming premises move.

Petrie said, “In addition to significantly reducing our equipment requirements, Xsigo let us efficiently re-use our existing 1G Ethernet infrastructure and reduced our Fibre Channel port count needs by two-thirds, significantly reducing cabling and port costs and minimising disruption.