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Duane Morris LLP, among the 100 largest law firms in the United States, is a full-service firm of approximately 550 lawyers. In addition, Duane Morris affiliates have approximately 40 professionals engaged in a number of nonlegal service businesses. The firm represents clients across the nation and around the world through a combination of 22 offices and relationships with two international networks of independent law firms.Evolving from a partnership of prominent lawyers in Philadelphia a century ago, Duane Morris now has offices in many major markets and, according to The National Law Journal, is one of the fastest growing law firms in the United States. The firm has doubled in size in the past five years, and continues to expand across the country and overseas through non-merger growth.


IN BRIEF

Industry

  • Legal

Challenges

  • Difficulty getting “big picture” view of complex, dynamic network
  • Inability to quickly localize performance problems
  • Hard to distinguish between network, server, and application problems
  • Too much time spent “fire-fighting”

Solution

  • The AppResponse Xpert Appliance deployed in Philadelphia data center
  • Real-time, device-independent view of application performance and network utilization
  • Alerts presented in context of server, network, and client issues
  • Insight into server and network components of application performance

Benefits

  • Improved overview of network utilization and performance
  • Much faster problem localization and resolution, more time available for new initiatives
  • More precise identification of the cause of application performance issues

Duane Morris

A Top-100 Law Firm

Duane Morris LLP, among the 100 largest law firms in the United States, is a full-service firm of approximately 550 lawyers. In addition, Duane Morris affiliates have approximately 40 professionals engaged in a number of nonlegal service businesses. The firm represents clients across the nation and around the world through a combination of 22 offices and relationships with two international networks of independent law firms.

Evolving from a partnership of prominent lawyers in Philadelphia a century ago, Duane Morris now has offices in many major markets and, according to The National Law Journal, is one of the fastest growing law firms in the United States. The firm has doubled in size in the past five years, and continues to expand across the country and overseas through nonmerger growth.

Challenge:Looking for the Big Picture

To support the firm’s expansion, the IT team has been working to build a more centralized IT infrastructure to improve performance and reduce costs. Another important initiative involves the creation of a disaster recovery center in the firm’s Chicago office. Both of these efforts add to the complexity of the infrastructure the IT team is charged with managing, which supports business- critical applications such as the firm’s CRM system, billing, distributed time entry, document management, and email.

“This increasing complexity made it imperative to build a suite of products that could give us a big-picture, proactive means of managing our infrastructure,” says John Sroka, CIO of Duane Morris. “We weren’t looking to replace existing tools, but to complement the Fluke Networks and HP OpenView products we already used. The [AppResponse Xpert] solution is now part of that suite.”

Solution: In-Depth Insight

The flow-based technology of the Riverbed® AppResponse Xpert ®Appliance automatically assembles packet-level data into business-significant flows between business resources (e.g., servers) and consumers of those resources (e.g., clients), which can be further classified in terms of specific business units, departments, applications, and so forth. Adding this device-independent data to the information supplied by device-oriented systems such as the Fluke and HP systems in use at Duane Morris, greatly simplifies the oversight of a complex network.

“If I were going to pick a phrase to describe the [AppResponse Xpert] appliance to a peer, it would be ‘bringing a sniffer to the desktop.’,” says Herb Brabham, network infrastructure manager at the firm. “It offers a similar depth of network insight with much simpler operation and the advantage that, unlike a sniffer-like product, it’s always on the job.”

Benefits: Immediate Results

Moreover, since the deployment of the AppResponse Xpert appliance is quite easy, requiring only a passive connection to a spanning port or tap at a data aggregation point such as a switch, it can deliver useful information almost immediately.

In fact, although Duane Morris spent a total of two months evaluating the AppResponse Xpert appliance, the appliance proved its worth quite rapidly, according to Mr. Brabham. “Within the first few days after it was installed, the [AppResponse Xpert] appliance helped us solve an Exchange problem that none of our other tools could track down, which we’d been struggling with for several months. Later it also identified a persistent problem with our CRM system that had defied solution for some time.”

Mr. Sroka adds that, “It gave us real data that we used to go back to our apps vendor to get bottlenecks worked out.”

A Gift of Time

In the end, one of the greatest benefits of the AppResponse Xpert appliance to the IT team at Duane Morris is that it enables them to spend more time on really important tasks.

“Its ability to drill down from the symptoms reported by users to the offending device or problem means we’re no longer fighting phantoms and guessing at root causes,” says Sroka. “Instead, we can zero in on the real problem right away, so we spend less time fire-fighting and have more time for new initiatives to support the firm’s growth.”

“With the [AppResponse Xpert] solution, we can zero in on the real problem right away, so we spend less time fire-fighting and have more time for new initiatives to support the firm’s growth.”

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