BACKGROUND: Farmers Group, Inc is a member of the Zurich Financial Services Group, one of the world's leading providers of insurance and financial services with 30 million customers and 68,000 employees in more than 50 countries. The Farmers Insurance portion of the business concentrates on personal insurance, currently operating in 29 states with plans to expand into additional states.

PLATFORMS: TDMF supports Farmers' Los Angeles, California, data center which includes three IBM CPUs and two IBM CPUs located in Columbus, Ohio ­ a combined total of 3,314 MIPS.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Farmers Group, Inc. had more than 14,000 field agents, many working evenings and weekends, who all needed mainframe access from 100 CICS regions. With each agent implementing various policy changes, Farmers' data centers received hundreds of thousands of transactions per day. At the end of the day, all that information was processed and output in the form of billing, insurance claims and other types of reports. With such a level of activity, we couldn't afford to shut down our systems in order to add new software, run batch jobs or migrate data. More specifically, our DASD group needed a method to quickly and cost-effectively migrate two terabytes of data, boost performance and segregate Year 2000 volumes in a separate test environment. Amdahl's TDMF, which allows for fast, nondisruptive data migration, provided the performance, reliability and data integrity necessary to facilitate these projects.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: With TDMF, Farmers was able to move massive amounts of data from two locations during business hours with no system down time. This nondisruptive migration eliminated the need for weekend work and overtime pay, and saved us costly lease-extension fees for the old equipment plus all the accompanying environmental costs for electricity and cooling. Additional savings were realized in terms of pinpointing and correcting problems, because TDMF automatically terminates the migration and informs the user if action is needed. The actual cylinder and head location of a problem is identified. We were also able to boost performance using TDMF by moving volumes onto less populated equipment and higher-performance boxes. With TDMF, we could manage the initial load balancing process while working from home during off hours. TDMF's built-in enforcement of data integrity allowed us to feel confident about working from home. In addition to nondisruptive migration and higher performance, TDMF enabled Farmers to transfer data and applications to a dedicated DASD for Year 2000 testing. This separate test environment has eliminated any potential corruption of data.

STRENGTHS: The TDMF product is very easy to work with. We had it installed, up and running in an hour with no support required from Amdahl. Performance displays are an additional convenience feature with a user-friendly interface, enabling a junior person or someone just getting to know TDMF to immediately understand what is going on "behind the scenes" at the time of migration.

WEAKNESSES: For future TDMF releases, I would suggest including "cache on/off" SMS volume, "disable/new" interface and "auto update" for active sessions/migrations. It would also be helpful if there was additional detail for error correction rather than notifying Amdahl support.

SELECTION CRITERIA: TDMF stands above its competition because it is really the only nondisruptive, vendor-independent data management facility. With its nondisruptive data migration and point-in-time data capabilities, TDMF supports a whole new level of operational flexibility and simplicity.

DELIVERABLES: The systems management facility (SMF) recording feature of TDMF is extremely helpful by providing detailed information on what is being moved and when to anticipate an impact on performance.

VENDOR SUPPORT: I can't say enough about Amdahl's willingness to help out and to get the project moving for us. Whenever I had a question or problem, Amdahl always worked out a satisfactory answer.

DOCUMENTATION: I found the manual comprehensive and easy to read. The planning tips, cautions and guidelines for interfacing with other products that the manual provides allow even a less-experienced person to handle TDMF with no difficulty at all.

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