When Hurricane Sandy ravaged the northeastern United States and disabled many companies, the Law Offices of Aaron I. Katsman, P.C. continued to operate, even after losing power. By using Hyper-V Replica and virtual desktop enhancements in the
Windows Server 2012 operating system, employees worked from home and accessed applications that ran in a safe location. With its new technology, the Law Offices of Aaron I. Katsman, P.C. has more flexibility and a better ability to grow.
When Aaron Katsman launched his law firm in 1999, the only technology he needed was a basic computer, copier, and fax machine. Today, the Law Offices of Aaron I. Katsman, P.C. has a state-of-the-art technology foundation on which it critically depends—and
which saved the business when Hurricane Sandy swept through the northeastern United States in October 2012.
The firm wasn’t always so well prepared. As recently as mid-2011, the Law Offices of Aaron I. Katsman, P.C. had a technology infrastructure that had been assembled over time and was showing its age. The company had grown rapidly, and the older solution—which
consisted of several servers and about 50 workstations—was struggling with the increased demands. Sharon Markowitz, the firm’s office manager, had to restart servers every few days, and slow performance caused productivity lags throughout the day.
“What helps us stand out from other law firms is our customer service, and our computer systems are extremely important in providing that service,” Katsman says. “If we have a computer problem, we have a business problem, because everything we do is dependent
The company also wanted more flexible technology. When it hired people, it had to order and set up expensive desktop computers, which delayed productivity. Assembling teams meant unplugging and moving computers around the office, which took time and interrupted
Katsman found himself spending more and more time worrying about technology, which was time he couldn’t spend growing his business.
||Had we not had Hyper-V Replica in place when the hurricane struck, we would’ve easily lost a week’s worth of business, but more importantly, we would’ve lost clients.
| Aaron I. Katsman
Owner, Law Offices of Aaron I. Katsman, P.C.
In May 2011, the Law Offices of Aaron I. Katsman, P.C. met Steve Rubin, President of WorkITsafe, a member of the Microsoft Partner Network that provides IT services to firms in the New York City area. Rubin recommended that the Law Offices of Aaron I.
Katsman, P.C. replace its multiple outdated servers with one powerful server, a Dell PowerEdge R720, which would provide the company with ample compute power for current and future needs.
On the R720, WorkITsafe deployed the Windows Server 2012 Datacenter operating system, which contained several features that could help the law firm better protect and expand its business. WorkITsafe used the Hyper-V technology in the operating system to
create eight virtual servers and about 50 virtual desktop computers in the single host server. “WorkITsafe gave us a plan,” says Markowitz. “Steve told us how he could work with us as our partner and bring in the kind of hardware and software that we would
need to not only maintain our business but to grow it.”
Windows Server 2012 makes desktop virtualization easier than ever, and the Law Offices of Aaron I. Katsman, P.C. was able to replace expensive workstations with low-cost virtual desktops, which are personalized PC profiles and applications that employees
can access over a local area network or the Internet using economical thin-client devices.
Another key feature for the company was Hyper-V Replica, which provides replication of virtual machines between two sites over a standard broadband data line. Hyper-V Replica makes copies of changes to those workloads every five minutes so that an organization
never loses more than five minutes of data.
The law firm didn’t realize how important this feature would be until October 29, 2012, when Hurricane Sandy was heading straight toward New York City. WorkITsafe had already set up a replication server in its secure Brooklyn office and copied all of the
firm’s workloads to that server. When Sandy threatened, it took less than 20 minutes for WorkITsafe to switch the firm over to the replicated system.
The hurricane knocked out power to the firm’s offices and the homes of many employees. But employees who weren’t as severely affected and still had power at home logged on to their applications (running on a WorkITsafe server) and continued to work. “It
was as if a magic hand picked up our entire infrastructure from Valley Stream and put it somewhere else,” says Markowitz. “None of our employees realized that they were using the failover system.”
By upgrading to Windows Server 2012, the Law Offices of Aaron I. Katsman, P.C. averted disaster when Hurricane Sandy struck, created a more flexible and economical IT infrastructure, and gained more freedom to expand.
Uninterrupted Service Through a Hurricane
Katsman and Markowitz claim that Windows Server 2012 saved the business from Hurricane Sandy. “Had we not had Hyper-V Replica in place when the hurricane struck, we would’ve easily lost a week’s worth of business, but more importantly, we would’ve lost
clients,” Katsman says. “Even though our office was shut down, we were open for business. Our clients were pleased and amazed at our ability to get their documents to them, which really increased their confidence in us. It’s so reassuring to know that if our
primary server goes down for any reason, we can be back up and running within 20 minutes. Hyper-V Replica works like magic.”
More Flexible IT and Cost Savings
By using virtual desktops, the Law Offices of Aaron I. Katsman, P.C. can hire as many employees as it needs and provide them with desktop environments in a matter of minutes, versus the time previously required to order and provision PCs. “It takes 90
percent less time to set up a new employee, which is unbelievable and gives us tremendous flexibility in expanding and contracting our workforce,” Katsman says. “New employees are productive immediately. If a big project ends and we need to shrink our workforce,
we do not have expensive workstations sitting idle. Plus, thin-client devices cost one-half to one-third less than full-featured PCs.
The Law Offices of Aaron I. Katsman, P.C. has also gained much greater flexibility in configuring the physical layout of its office. Rather than having to unplug, move, and rewire bulky PCs to position employees close to one another for customer needs, the
firm’s employees can move freely around the office and securely log on to any computer.
Greater Ability to Grow the Business
With a more stable, powerful technology setup monitored by WorkITsafe, Aaron Katsman sleeps better at night and has more time to expand his business. “More flexibility, uptime, and performance equals extra revenue for us, because our employees are more
productive and our customers are happier,” Katsman says. “Thanks to Windows Server 2012 and WorkITsafe, my practice can grow much faster and more flexibly, and at a much lower cost.”
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