REVIEWER: Edward Oddo, regional information technology director at First American Title Insurance Company.

BACKGROUND: First American Title Insurance Company, one of the nation's largest title insurers, is the largest subsidiary of The First American Corporation which traces its history to 1889. The company offers title services through more than 800 offices throughout the United States and abroad.

PLATFORMS: Windows NT on Compaq Servers. We have Thunderbolt configured with a 10-100 Net card, one RAID storage module with 10 73GB 10 RPM drives offering 657GBs.

PROBLEM SOLVED: The ability to rapidly access prior title insurance policies determines how quickly and efficiently our agents are able to serve their clients. By decreasing the time it takes for one of our agents to find a policy, we increase that agent's production efficiency thereby increasing First American's revenues. Our problem involved the decentralization of imaged title policies in the mid-Atlantic region. Although we had over 800,000 policy images available, they were stored on two different systems and were only available from one of our eight regional offices. Additionally, the images were stored on two different types of media: optical disk and CD-ROM. To find a title, our employees had to take the time to fax or e-mail a title request to our Fairfax office, and then wait while the search was conducted on two separate systems. The same process was used to access titles for our customers. We could save significant money as well as the agents' time and frustration while increasing customer service by building a Web-based title retrieval system. After building the retrieval system called TALON (Title Archive Library ONline), we needed a fast, high-quality, reliable, high- performance solution to consolidate and store all of the policy images. We also needed an affordable solution that required little maintenance after installation and offered scalability to handle future growth. We explored a variety of storage options and decided a network attached storage (NAS) device could house all of our file images in one place and offered the most flexibility and ease of management. We reviewed numerous NAS vendors and decided that Network Storage Solutions (NSS) Thunderbolt NAS system including the NAS engine could consolidate all of our titles into one place while offering quality, speed, scalability and affordability. It took approximately two hours for the NSS systems engineer to fully install and set up the system. All that was required for the images to be available through the Web was to load the images onto Thunderbolt and point the TALON policy retrieval system to the new storage device. The NAS device simply appears as another volume on the network. Our employees and title agent customers are now able to retrieve titles from anywhere on the Web using TALON and Thunderbolt. The new title retrieval process decreases time to product while increasing the production efficiency of our employees and customers, leading to increased revenues.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Thunderbolt has been literally maintenance- free since the day it was installed. Because Web-based title retrieval is proving to be a popular service for our customers and agents, we expect to double the storage capacity of Thunderbolt and incorporate mirrored repositories through other First American offices.

STRENGTHS: Price, speed, reliability and ease of use, as well as no maintenance requirements are all strong points. It is extremely easy to set up and manage from a Web browser, and the ability to scale inexpensively offers additional options.

WEAKNESSES: Thunderbolt's documentation could be more comprehensive and the browser-based management utility more intuitive. However, neither detracts from the product's operability.

SELECTION CRITERIA: NSS offers great functionality at a comparable price and the ability to scale easily to handle future growth needs. We chose NAS technology because it was the most flexible option in terms of management and scalability for our project.

DELIVERABLES: Thunderbolt effectively houses policy image files for reference by our TALON Web-based policy retrieval product.

VENDOR SUPPORT: NSS technical support is fantastic. On the few occasions I have had questions, they were very helpful and responsive. Installation was simple.

DOCUMENTATION: As I mentioned, the documentation that came with Thunderbolt is weak. However, it is complete enough to install and configure the system without additional support.

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Information Management content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access