eDirect Impact offers a hosted solution to help companies get a handle on their data for management and e-discovery. For a company that processes and moves terabytes of data worldwide for its customers, storage takes on a whole new level of importance.
"Storage becomes our business," said Sami Rahman, CEO of the Houston, Tex.-based company that provides e-discovery solutions and consulting services to corporate counsel, law firms and businesses.
So it's no surprise to hear that the Houston, Texas-based company is a voracious user of storage, and just two years after its inception needed to find a cost-effective, reliable and scalable storage solution that could grow with the company as well as offer disaster recovery.
With the help of a channel partner that took the time to understand the company's storage requirements, eDirect Impact found the ideal solution in Reldata's Unified Storage System.
E-discovery is a rapidly emerging market that requires that businesses of every ilk take responsibility for their electronic records and information, thanks to December 2006 changes to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP). Whereas in the past, legal disputes required that companies gather paper documents, the new procedures demand that organizations turn over electronic data or face stiff penalties. Stored in multiple nooks and crannies across the company, corporate data keeping is becoming a massively complex, time-consuming job.
Companies like eDirect Impact help reduce the overall time, complexity and expense of e-discovery.
According to Rahman, eDirect Impact saw a 400 percent annual increase in the volumes of storage required for processing. For every gigabyte of data that the company brings in, the process of "exploding" the data can increase it to 6GB to 9GBs over a two- to three-year life span.
The firm uses processing clusters, with each physical machine running about four to eight virtual machines, to process inbound data, with storage servers running round the clock.
"Flexibility is everything to us," said Rahman, noting that the company typically has a 48-hour turnaround to get at data.
Looking forward, eDirect Impact had additional storage requirements as well. The company was interested in block-level replication, on-going management demands, the ability to add storage without incurring massive licensing fees, and scalability.
With storage a central cost component in the company's business, eDirect Impact was driven to keep storage costs at a minimum in order to offer a competitively priced product.
To get the ball rolling, eDirect Impact turned to channel partner Emergent Systems Exchange, which the company found when researching information on BlueArc Corp. storage solutions. "It was Emergent that lead us to Reldata," said Rahman.
After consulting with the reseller about the company's storage needs and current investments, Emergent understood eDirect Impact's unique storage demands. "They took the time to know our business and helped us assess different technology solutions," said Rahman.
By the time the thorough evaluation process was complete, the e-discovery solution company was very comfortable in making a storage solution selection that it had never even considered before the process began.
Opting for a unified storage solution from Reldata, eDirect Impact got a single architecture for open storage consolidation. Not only could eDirect Impact utilize its existing storage infrastructure, but it could also save on storage maintenance while paying a lot less for Reldata than competing solutions from big name vendors.
Equally important, Rahman noted that the solutions from Blue Arc and EMC that he looked at didn't meet all of the company's criteria and didn't provide the flexibility that was so important to eDirect Impact.
Reldata's Unified Storage Gateway lets eDirect Impact expand its storage to provide redundancy while spreading the storage load across multiple heads. "It's also easy to add storage and we're not locked into proprietary technology," said Rahman, which allows the company to recoup its existing storage investments.
With Reldata, eDiscovery Impact gets NAS, SAN, disaster recovery and an open architecture.
For an initial investment of about $70,000, the company got SAN/NAS with 9TB of raw NAS and 4TB SAN with a Reldata head. Since its first purchase, it added another 12TB raw NAS, which was up and processing data in less than 30 minutes.
Today, eDirect Impact has one IP-based management infrastructure capable of handling all the company's storage needs and the ability to rapidly deploy additional capacity as growth demands.
Getting Into Recovery
Getting disaster recovery as part and parcel of the Reldata solution was critical to the e-discovery service provider. Part of the company's growth plan is to add additional heads with SATA drives to back up the organization's main systems.
Today, eDirect Impact manages 35TB of data and projects that it will be managing 100 TB by the end of the year.
Ultimately, what eDirect Impact customers care about is quality of service and price. They don't care about technology.
"I bridge the gap between legal and IT for the customer. With Reldata, I can say yes to my customers more than I could in the past. I can do things faster, better and cheaper," said Rahman.