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Legal digital transformation

The Client

Harney Westwood & Riegels LLP is a multi-national organisation offering financial institutions and corporations a range of legal services including banking, investment funds, tax, intellectual property, and litigation. The company was founded in 1960, by lawyer Harold Harney who set up shop on a small island in the Caribbean. Today, Harneys and its sister fiduciary business, employs more than 650 people across 10 locations around the world.

The Challenge:  Global Digital Transformation

As part of its digital transformation journey, Harney’s wanted to transition from an MSP to a global or public cloud environment with high levels of availability and control and where the architecture would form the basis of a fault tolerant model. Key line of business applications and data should be not only highly available, but capable of failing over to a secondary site, all within public infrastructure.

Given Harney’s multi-jurisdictional presence, data sovereignty in a public cloud environment would allow the organisation to preserve jurisdictional segregation and provide regional local access to applications and data on demand. Harneys wanted a highly available solution that would leverage a 99.999% SLA that VMC and AWS delivers without additional expenditure. For roughly the same OPEX, Harneys have moved from a robust environment to a very robust and highly available environment.

The Solution: VMware on AWS Public Cloud

The assignment started with a consulting exercise, involving our technical architects and Harney’s CTO Phil Prevost to explore explicit business challenges. The main objective here was to translate those challenges into a practical, affordable technical solution. Their data had been previously sitting in Ekco’s private cloud at a Dublin data centre. To facilitate the requirement for fast, regional data access, we recommended and deployed the following:

• VMware Software Defined Data Centre running on AWS bare metal

• Currently sitting with a four node cluster but with plans to expand to eight to accomodate additional business applications

harney solution

A pivotal part of the project was the actual migration of the applications and data.

Harney’s core line of business application, their document management system is 35 TB in size and contains 55 million documents.

On the fiduciary side of their business they use an application called Viewpoint to run company administration services. These are critical to daily operations.

Phil made it clear that application downtime was not an option and the migration needed to be completed with the least amount of business disruption.

Through use of VMware’s clever HCX technology, our deployment team were able to condense data migration of this and other app data into six waves over a three month period, condensed from an initial projected timeline of four months. There was little or no IT disruption or unplanned application downtime during that time and business continued as normal.

At a Glance

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Web scale infrastructure solution

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Support for containers and VMs

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Full operational consistency with on-premise SDDC

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Seamless workload portability and hybrid operations

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Global AWS footprint, reach, availability

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Direct access to native AWS services


People for Cloud

The project achieved the objectives set out for it in terms of the migration to a software-defined model of highly available, local data access with regional segregation on public cloud. And it was delivered on time and on budget with no business disruption and with little change to overall OPEX.

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The VMC on AWS architecture also paved the way for Harney’s migration away from expensive MPLS to SD-WAN, making significant telecoms cost-savings as a result.


The HCX connector facilitates the potential move of other on-premise workloads to VMC on AWS with little configuration work required. Other geographic data centres across the AWS estate can now be spun up on demand and in a matter of hours.

The Client’s Review

“Our whole premise was to effectively move an entire environment, one provider to another provider, while maintaining uptime and without disrupting the user. Together with Ekco and VMware we were able to do it under schedule and under budget, which is perfect. The itself migration was smooth, smooth, smooth. We have a long standing, successful relationship with Ekco and I found no reason to tender for this project elsewhere.”

Phil Prevost, CTO with Harney Westwood & Riegels

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