Reinsurance Company Deploys Hitachi Data Systems SAN

Hitachi Data Systems today announced that XL Reinsurance America Inc., a member of the XL Capital Ltd. group, of Stamford, Conn., one a casualty reinsurance company, has deployed Hitachi Freedom Storage(TM) equipment in a storage area network (SAN) supporting a fast-growing data warehouse operation.

The data warehouse operates with Online Analysis Processing (OLAP) software running on Windows-based servers. Initially, the storage for these servers was all contained on internally mounted hard disk drives, which severely restricted the growth of the warehouse.

“We wanted to be able to easily add storage to a machine without a lot of downtime,” said Dominic D’Adamo, Officer and Technical Specialist. “With our original system, every time we needed to upgrade our servers, it was going to take days to complete the job. So we wanted to reduce the amount of time we spent on that.”

“A couple of years ago, we started seeing storage requirements for our OLAP servers doubling every six to eight months, and we had used up all the internal disk capacity on our servers. That was really the driving force behind our decision to look into SAN,” he said

“Working with ITIS Services was great,” said D’Adamo. “We stepped into this at a fairly low level. We weren’t quite sure if SANs were the way we wanted to go or not. ITIS helped us learn the benefits of SANs, who the players were in the market, and the strengths and weaknesses of all of them. They greatly reduced our resource time up front, and then, after we chose the product, they facilitated the installations.”

The 5800 was a good match for the requirements established by XL Reinsurance America. Moreover, “We knew we’d get at least two to three years of service out of that box before having to worry about even looking into adding more storage,” said D’Adamo.

“Our main concern with the solution was that we couldn’t sacrifice any reliability when we installed the components, and the redundancy built into the Freedom Storage system was incredible,” noted D’Adamo. “Every component is redundant. So if any device in it should fail, the box stays up and running. We’ve been fortunate that we haven’t had any major failures. We did have a power supply fail once, but when it happened, our Hitachi Data Systems customer service rep was here in the morning waiting for me to make sure there were no problems resulting from the power outage. So service has been exceptional.”

XL Reinsurance America’s SAN has been operating for almost two years now, and D’Adamo is looking to expand its capabilities. The next steps are to put the data backup operation on the SAN and add other application servers to the SAN so they can access the same pool of storage.

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