REVIEWER: Bill Manning, director for technical services at Plumbers & Pipefitters National Pension Fund.

BACKGROUND: More than 200,000 union plumbers and pipefitters depend on the Plumbers & Pipefitters National Pension Fund to track their employment data, financial records, eligibility data and pension distributions. The fund, based in Alexandria, Virginia, works with more than 300 local unions nationwide and expects to expand this base by 500 percent in the next five years ­ making the need for highly reliable and scalable data architecture crucial to long-term success and customer satisfaction. Historically, many union locals managed their pensions themselves, but as the record-keeping and fund distribution became more burdensome, central fund managers such as Plumbers & Pipefitters provide a much- needed alternative. Plumbers & Pipefitters now manages more than $5.6 billion in assets.

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