BACKGROUND: The First American Financial Corporation, based in Santa Ana, California, is the nation's leading provider of business information and related products and services. The corporation's three primary business segments include title insurance; real estate information and services, which include mortgage origination, mortgage servicing and database products and services; and consumer information and services, which provide home warranties, property and casualty insurance, automotive, subprime and direct-to-consumer credit reporting, property and automotive insurance tracking services, resident screening, pre-employment screening, lender-placed flood and hazard insurance, investment advisory, and trust and banking services. Through its family of companies, First American Financial has nearly 20,000 employees in more than 600 branch offices in the United States and abroad.

PLATFORMS: First American Title Insurance uses Compaq ProLiant and Dell PowerEdge systems, running Windows NT 4.0 and Novell 4.11 and 5.0.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Prior to implementing LANvault, First American relied on a number of server attached, standalone tape drive units to perform data backup and restore operations. This process was time-consuming, stressing administrative staff who were required to hand-swap media and closely monitor backup and restore operations within the data center. Reliability was also a major issue with the standalone tape drive units which provided an inadequate level of data protection. With LANvault, a network attached backup appliance, First American Title Insurance was able to implement a backup/restore solution while avoiding a drawn-out integration project. Additionally, LANvault's Web-enabled administrative tools and customer service Web portal enable administrators to oversee operations from anywhere on the Web, freeing them to perform core business functions.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: LANvault performs automated backup and restore operations quickly and reliably, providing a high level of data protection. It is a DLT tape-based backup appliance that comes preloaded with a central management console (VERITAS's Backup Exec), a customer service Web portal and WebAdmin, Quantum|ATL's Web-enabled administration utility. Since it is network attached and features an integrated DLT tape library and server, the LANvault is capable of performing its duties with minimal impact on networked users or IS staff. As our backup requirements grow, we would consider using additional LANvaults for on-site backup in remote locations, allowing us to centrally manage and administer these operations and avoid placing highly trained staff at every location.

STRENGTHS: Originally designed for remote site backup/restore applications, LANvault is truly a plug-and-play backup solution. It not only provides dependable, fast backup of our data; but it was also easy to acquire, install and use ­ one purchase order, one vendor, one service organization. We removed the unit from its box and had it plugged in and configured in about 15 minutes.

WEAKNESSES: While the LANvault fits on a tray in our rack, we would have preferred that the unit come in a standard rack-mount form factor.

SELECTION CRITERIA: The selection criteria for a backup solution were reliability, ease of use, capacity and speed. We were very impressed with LANvault and purchased the unit following an in-house evaluation period. Another consideration in selecting LANvault was its intended use as a remote site backup appliance.

DELIVERABLES: While the basic function of the LANvault is to back up and restore data on our network, it also provides extensive reporting capabilities and can send e-mail notifications of service upgrades, such as new firmware releases and events within the library.

VENDOR SUPPORT: It has been a pleasure working with Quantum|ATL. From pre-sales consultation to the help desk, we have found Quantum|ATL's technical support staff to be professional, responsive and knowledgeable.

DOCUMENTATION: While we were able to install, configure and begin using LANvault in a very short amount of time, we were dismayed by the lack of detail in the documentation. While the library portion of the unit was well described, documentation regarding software was incomplete and less than clear. In particular, there was no mention of which agents (if any) were included with the preloaded version of VERITAS Backup Exec.

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