Big Data, Big Storage Solution for Legal Services

clip_image002Entrepreneur snapshot: With more than 16 years of experience in the litigation industry John Holland’s strong technical background and extensive legal knowledge were the perfect combination to start his company, D4. His expertise and technological acumen have allowed his clients to harness the latest in litigation automation tools, data collection/forensic services, and electronic discovery technologies. John is also a thought leader in his industry, speaking regularly about litigation technology and eDiscovery across the country.

Launched in 1997 D4 is now a national leader in eDiscovery, litigation support and computer forensics services to law firms and Fortune 1000 companies alike. D4 was also one of the first providers to offer an eDiscovery Managed Services solution, eNtrust, which was launched in 2011.

Need: In 2009, D4 processed several hundred gigabytes of data per month on behalf of clients. The company needed an enterprise storage solution that could deliver performance, scalability, availability and cost efficiency, in order to support data that doubles every 18 months.

The company was tasked with shrinking the amount of data to be reviewed. “Of every dollar spent in litigation, 70 to 80 percent is spent on document review,” said Holland. “The D4 value proposition is to reduce documents early. We get everything stored in a manner where we can search it, analyze it, and use automated tools and technology to winnow it down to the most responsive data set, so the cost of attorney review is minimized.”

D4 clients face tight court deadlines, so the company has to be able to work with them in tight time frames. “It was time to make a significant investment in enterprise level storage, so we could not only have data immediately accessible, but also be able to expand or reclaim the storage quickly,” said Holland. “Working with data efficiently is the key to serving customer requests.”


The D4 IT team evaluated storage solutions from several vendors, but when the time came to make a decision, a differentiator emerged with Dell. Dell storage experts came on site to conduct a full analysis of what was running in the D4 environment, measuring how many IOPS they were getting, and how many they needed.

D4 decided to use Dell Compellent software, a storage solution designed for cloud computing and offers advanced data protection for highly scalable storage without having to “rip and replace” existing infrastructure. This solution delivered easy management and deployment

To help control costs for D4 clients, Dell Compellent drove storage expenses down by making more disk space available over time. This was especially useful to D4 because in an eDiscovery environment, much data is written, processed and then removed.

D4 was able to boost speed while enabling zero storage downtime and higher resiliency — keeping costs down by six figures a year. The firm’s new ability to sift through data effectively has helped increase revenue by 30 to 40 percent a year. In three to six months, CEO John Holland and the D4 team estimate that the Dell Compellent solution paid for itself.

Lessons learned: We’re dealing with an explosion in the amount of data that needs to be assessed, not just in litigation, but in every industry. With an estimated $5 billion spent annually on eDiscovery, the growth rate and new sources of data presents increasing challenges for business leaders. Organizations that harness data and use it to drive decisions can improve productivity and establish competitive advantages. But, doing so requires they successfully adopt the right practices and tools, from data management and storage to analytics.

Entrepreneurs and IT leaders are realizing that additional storage disks do not tackle the rampant growth in data and are faced with the task of how to store, manage and leverage the data. This explosion of data – and demand for anytime, anywhere access to this data – will be among the most significant influences on the world of IT in coming years.

About the Author: Ingrid Vanderveldt