REVIEWER: Chip Register, senior vice president and CIO, and Todd Warnock, technology services manager, for Resource Bancshares Mortgage Group, Inc.

BACKGROUND: As part of its primary business focus, residential mortgage banking, Resource Bancshares Mortgage Group, Inc. (RBMG) purchases agency-eligible mortgage loans through its correspondents and accepts agency-eligible mortgage loans for funding through its wholesale division. Substantially all the agency-eligible mortgage loans are sold with the rights to service the loans being retained by RBMG. The retained servicing is then either held in RBMG's portfolio or sold separately. RBMG earns servicing fees in consideration of its servicing activities for loans originated through its correspondent and wholesale channels. Further, RBMG, Inc. earns servicing fees with respect to agency-eligible mortgage loans for which it had acquired the servicing rights in bulk or flow acquisitions of servicing rights. It also receives sub-servicing fees during an interim or transitional period after it has sold the servicing rights to an institutional purchaser of servicing. RBMG was acquired by NetBank, Inc., the country's first profitable and largest independent FDIC-insured Internet bank, operating exclusively online.

PLATFORMS: HP ProLiant servers running the Microsoft Windows NT Server network operating system.

PROBLEM SOLVED: For RBMG, economic growth, particularly falling interest rates, led to record growth. With growth came an increasingly complex IT infrastructure, including two IT sites in RBMG's hometown of Columbia, South Carolina, plus several other sites nationwide. As the company's Columbia server farm grew, the company's disparate data storage and backup systems became a concern.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: HP StorageWorks ESA12000 and EMA12000 systems; HP StorageWorks Enterprise Backup Solution (EBS) using a TL895 tape library; HP ProLiant DL360, DL380 and DL580 servers; HP SAN Management Appliance; HP SANworks Network View; HP OpenView Virtual Replicator; HP OpenView Enterprise Volume Manager; HP OpenView Secure Path; HP Services; and HP Financial Services. Our HP StorageWorks SAN, combined with the StorageWorks EBS, greatly enhances our disaster-recovery preparedness ­ particularly our operational disaster recovery. We've had our HP StorageWorks SAN for so long now ­ or so it seems ­ that we take it for granted to some extent. We just add more storage as we need it and keep on rolling. There is a group of vendors who we consider to be partners, and HP is clearly on the first hand when we're counting those partners.

STRENGTHS: The strengths of our HP solution include faster response to requests for changes, including new servers and increased storage capacity; easier snapshot backups, cloning and replication; improved database recovery protection; reduced management time; faster, more robust backups; a shared storage pool that is now a resource available to all systems; and maximized storage investment.

WEAKNESSES: The StorageWorks Enterprise Virtual Array is not yet compatible with all platforms. Full heterogeneous support is anticipated in 2002.

SELECTION CRITERIA: RBMG looked at storage solutions from EMC, Sun, IBM and StorageTek, eventually narrowing its choices to EMC and HP. In the fall of 1999, we attended a HP- hosted "Storage Days" event in Colorado Springs, where the RBMG representatives received a hands-on introduction to SANs and learned how storage could be managed as a single, unified resource to be shared among many users and systems. We would recommend Storage Days to anyone who is seriously considering SANs or other changes to their storage architecture. To see the systems in action ­ and to see that they really work and are not just vaporware ­ really solidified our choice.

DELIVERABLES: Our SAN protects us from the most common operational disasters that can lead to the loss of files or other data. We are clustered and meshed to provide full failover protection in our SAN environment. Our EBS provides tape backup for fast data restoration should all else fail.

VENDOR SUPPORT: RBMG implemented its HP StorageWorks SAN using a mix of internal resources and HP services. Although we are now an HP shop, when we first installed our SAN, we really had no one internally who had experience with this new architecture. We used consulting services from HP and experienced no production problems or downtime during implementation.

DOCUMENTATION: HP provided a complete, customized Visio layout of the SAN configuration. Also, HP Network View is a tool that provides an auto-topology of the SAN.

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