Fidelity National Title Group, Inc. the largest title insurance company in the USA, has switched from EMC drive arrays to ones from Hitachi Data Systems (HDS). It is spending $25 million with HDS, IBM and other technology vendors.

Why?

HDS states that since switching from EMC, Fidelity has experienced a reduced number of outages – data backup failures could cost $3 million an hour – and has been able to seamlessly manage its 48 million historical documents.

Fidelity has deployed HDS arrays in three tiers of virtualised storage. The tiers are:-

Tier 1 - based on the Universal Storage Platform (TagmaStore) which provides virtualisation of externally-attached storage, logical resource partitioning and universal replication from the HiCommand interface. This provides seamless movement of data between tiers.
Tier 2 – based on Hitachi's Thunder 9585V system connected with Fibre Channel drives through an external attachment to the TagmaStore. It holds 48 million historic documents.
Tier 3 – runs on the Thunder 9585V as a virtual tape drive and is connected to a Spectra Logic tape drive and other external sites as part of a disaster recovery plan.

Fidelity's big business and big storage system needs
Fidelity stores title records relating to real estate. The company also provides financial services. Its title insurance underwriters issue approximately 31 percent of all title insurance policies in the United States.

With more than seven million homes sold in the USA in 2005, the real estate market has been booming. Fidelity handles nearly one-third of all U.S. residential real estate transactions, and it needed a standardised and efficient way to meet its growing business and customer data storage requirements.

To centralise data and streamline transactions, Fidelity has developed an enterprise production system to incrementally replace the legacy title and escrow systems that are used collectively to process 2.5 million title insurance transactions annually and maintain over 45 million historical title policy documents. Fidelity’s systems required a more robust storage architecture to accommodate the system’s heavy storage and server capacity requirements.

The existing EMC storage wasn't reliable enough.

Mike Amble is director of Information Technology for Fidelity Information Services. He said: “Fidelity operates title operations nation-wide. That means a 24/7 IT operation and at a cost of approximately $3 million an hour, downtime is not an option. We were looking to build a sustainable enterprise storage environment to provide assurances that our systems would operate and scale efficiently as our transaction volume increases. Hitachi Data Systems and Datalink (the channel partner) were committed to our success and helped to forge a highly available, highly stable storage environment that will help move our business ahead.”

Three tier virtualised storage
Fidelity deployed a three-tier system of virtualized storage, based on the HDS TagmaStore and Thunder 9585V modular storage systems. The Fidelity IT team worked closely with HDS and Datalink to implement this and evolve its custom NGS application.

To facilitate the highest availability and scalability of critical applications, Fidelity created a tier 1 storage class based on TagmaStore with a RAID-1/5 combination for non-disruptive service, and extensive flexibility. Fidelity established the Thunder 9585V systems with Fibre Channel drives as tier 2 storage by externally attaching them to the Universal Storage Platform and virtualising their data.

Scott Genereux, exec VP and GM for global sales and marketing at HDS, said: “Fidelity, Datalink, and HDS collaborated to create a reliable and robust (set up) that enables increased scalability across all storage tiers, with no interruption to any storage tier affected by required changes."

Fidelity now has to spend less time worrying about storage outages.

Scott Robinson, Datalink's CTO, said: “The ability to rapidly and consistently recover from potential outages was essential to meeting Fidelity’s around-the-clock business demands. Fidelity needed a solid business continuity plan with true flexibility at its foundation. To that end, it evaluated technologies based on four key elements: scalable, tiered storage; centralized management software; and nimble reporting capabilities. HDS storage systems met these requirements on all fronts.”

Today, Fidelity uses Hitachi virtualization capabilities for resilient non-disruptive service, rapid disaster recovery, and seamless data replication. Fidelity can proactively monitor its storage environment, while reducing the time and complexity for remotely managing backups, upgrades, audit trails, and the continuous growth and increased complexity of its workload.

Stretch
Troy Dechant, IT director of Open Systems Products, Fidelity Information Services, said: “Fidelity needed an extraordinary level of stretch — the flexibility to morph and manoeuver alongside our hallmark production system. We selected Hitachi Data Systems, which exceeded our expectations with next-generation hardware and software, plus offered us a strong, strategic partnership.”