Moving To Superdome

How one company moved from a 32-processor Xeon server to a 64-bit Itanium Superdome.

August 16, 2004

3 Min Read
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Hed: Title Insurance Giant Migrates to HP Superdome to Automate and Centralize Title and Escrow Services Dec:

By First American Title Insurance Co., one of the largest title insurers in the United States, recently realized that it had run out of head room on its database server"and that one if its most critical applications needed more space. In fact, the company's FAST Transaction System, its fully integrated, browser-based solution which automates and centralizes title and escrow settlement services, was driving its current 32-processor Intel Xeon server to the breaking point.

"The Fast system gives us a significant advantage over the competition, which doesn't have a single scalable enterprise-wide system," said Larry Godec, chief information officer for parent-company First American Corp., Santa Ana, Calif. "It is clearly critical to our business that we support this system."

The company, which has 15,000 employees in1,200 offices worldwide, had implemented its FAST system in order to decrease the overall processing time for title and closing procedures. "We were pushing the box that housed our SQL Server to over 90 percent CPU utilization and that was impacting user access times, particularly at the month end," said Godec. "We have 11,000 users that log in every single day, and we found that we were simply out of gas and needed to look at other alternatives. "

To find the right solution, the company did a "technology bakeoff" in which it benchmarked several server brands and processor types. It used the WinRunner Automated Software Test Tool from Mercury Interactive to simulate how each system would perform running its FAST application. "HP's Superdome came out on top," said Godec, adding that performance, scalability, stability and price were all factors in the decision.First American Title deployed HP Integrity Superdome servers running Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition, Intel Itanium 2-based HP Integrity Superdome servers running Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Datacenter edition and Microsoft SQL Server 2000, Enterprise Edition (64-bit).The server has been up and running since December.

First American Title estimates that efficiency improvements will save it $100 million annually. Overall CPU utilization dropped to 20 percent to 30 percent and end user experience of response time improved by 20 percent, Godec estimated. "First American Title has been able to help more users through the consolidation of its server and the move to the Itanium Superdome," said Vish Mulchand, Director of Server Marketing for business Critical Systems at HP, Cupertino, Calif. "Our customers are finding that when they can respond to their customers more quickly it really changes things."

Going forward, First American intends to use the increased server space to make the Fast system accessible to more users. "The server has positioned us nicely to push the Fast Transaction System out to other companies that we purchase to be part of First American," said Godec. "We've added 1,000 users since last year without repercussion or degradation in performance." In addition, the company has begun allowing its outside title agents to use the Fast system, which was previously available only to internal employees. Currently, the company works with more than 10,000 independent agents.

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