BACKGROUND: Founded in 1905, the First State Bank of Gainesville is the oldest state bank in Texas. Our bank serves a community of approximately 18,000.

PLATFORMS: Our bank uses an IBM AS/400 Server, a check imaging product from Document Solutions, Inc., and a MetaStor storage solution provided by Peerless Systems, Inc. We run Novell 3.12 and will be upgrading to version 4.11.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Prior to installing the MetaStor storage system, we only could keep three days of customer data on-line at any given time. Our customers and bank employees needed more data availability. We were also outgrowing our disk space; and we needed a faster, more stable technology than the mirrored technology we were using. With the increased disk space provided by the MetaStor system, we can now access customer account data from the previous 40 days. And with more data available on-line, we can retrieve documents more than seven times faster than with the mirrored system. Plus, we're able to prepare customer statements much faster than when we relied on optical disks for data retrieval.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Our MetaStor system has been running non-stop for one-and-a-half years. We haven't experienced any downtime or any problems with the system. We haven't even used our hot-swappable spare drive. We are currently using ten 4.2GB hard drives on the system. With the system's scalable capacity, we can add another 10 drives without purchasing a new storage system. Plus, we can connect another storage system to our current system when we outgrow its 20 hard drive capacity. As our business grows, our scalable storage system can meet increasing demands without increasing our costs.

STRENGTHS: The words "extremely reliable" sum up the major advantage of our MetaStor Department Storage System. We have never experienced any downtime with this system--unlike the archaic mirroring solution we previously used. Our staff accesses data 12 hours per day and demands that the data be accurate and readily available so that they can meet deadlines and provide excellent customer service.

WEAKNESSES: If we had to move the MetaStor Department Storage System, we couldn't ­ it's just too heavy. Once you set it up, you need to leave it in its place.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We were using mirrored technology and we needed better reliability and more capacity. We experienced drive failure with our old system and had to wait for a service technician to help us recover our data. The MetaStor system is very user friendly and if, for some reason, we ever have a disk failure ­ we just hot swap the drive with no downtime. Our vendor, Peerless Systems, reviewed the technical specifications we provided, and they recommended the MetaStor Department system because it exceeded all of our requirements for reliable data storage. Plus, the MetaStor system integrated perfectly with the IBM Server and the document imaging software we were installing. There was no learning curve for our staff.

DELIVERABLES: The MetaStor system reliably retains the customer account data that we access everyday. Our bank's main service is to provide accurate data, on time, to our customers.

VENDOR SUPPORT: We received excellent support and responsiveness from Peerless Systems when they recommended our system. Their technicians had our integrated system up and running within a day. We know that Peerless Systems' technicians could help us at anytime, but we've never had to contact them about a problem or a question. With the MetaStor system, we found a trouble-free, hassle-free product that doesn't require additional intervention. "Peerless Systems is a great reseller for our product in their vertical financial market," said Joe Williams, MetaStor system's Southwest sales manager. "They have made MetaStor systems an integral part of their imaging solution for bank and credit union users."

DOCUMENTATION: MetaStor offers all the documentation we need, both hard copy and via the Internet. However, the intuitive SYMplicity Storage Manager software that comes pre-loaded with the MetaStor system makes it very easy to operate, so we've never needed to looked at the documentation

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