ILM System Eases Insurers Storage Tasks

Mitchell International taps Princeton Softech's ILM system to automate storage processes.

Mitchell International Inc. needed to find a way to archive its data—while keeping it easily accessible on demand—to avoid a storage wreck.

Mitchell, based in San Diego, helps facilitate the claims process for insurance companies and auto repair shops by automating the procurement of services such as collision repair, medical claims and glass replacement. With explosive database growth, though, Mitchell wanted to have more flexibility in its archival process as well as to control storage costs.

Last summer, the company decided to deploy Princeton Softech Inc.s Archive for Server software (also known as an Active Archive solution). Active Archive is an ILM (information lifecycle management) solution that has given Mitchell more flexibility in the backup process.

"We serve insurance carriers, and they are getting more demanding regarding how they want data pulled for them, and this solution enabled us to more actively search archives," said Dave Dullaghan, director of database architecture at Mitchell. "Having this type of solution really enables us to be more proactive with our offerings."

During eWEEK Labs exclusive on-site visit at Mitchell headquarters, we were impressed with the companys emphasis on data protection and with its optimization of storage resources. By deploying Princeton Softechs Active Archive software, Mitchell has been able to develop an ILM strategy that not only improves application performance and data availability but also significantly reduces time to market for revenue-generating services.

As mushrooming database growth degrades database and application performance while increasing storage and operational costs, enterprises like Mitchell are looking for the best way to manage and store data through the information life cycle—or risk facing a loss of productivity and revenue opportunities.

/zimages/1/28571.gifClick here to read more about how ILM is shaping the future of storage.

Mitchell isnt the only company with growing storage concerns. Last year, Meta Group Inc. predicted that compounded annual growth for databases will exceed 125 percent this year. The research company also projects that database archiving will become a best practice in enterprises by 2007.

Founded in 1946 as a creator of collision-estimate books, Mitchell has revolutionized the automobile insurance claims process with its e-business solutions. The companys Internet-based product offerings have enabled insurers to adopt online processing and management of collision repair claims and include capabilities such as online digital imaging and online estimating for body shops.

Each month, Mitchell facilitates several million electronic transactions for its more than 16,000 business partners.

The number of transactions Mitchell processes is one reason for the companys rapidly growing storage needs. As the data accumulates, the relationships in the data grow increasingly complex, particularly as the company offers more feature functionality to its clients. As a result, Dullaghan wanted a way to have more control over predicting the optimization of his databases.

In addition, while client information may be rarely accessed, files associated with an insurance claim must be kept available and maintained for a year and must be accessible after that for an insurance claim to be closed. Mitchell was already performing backups of databases, but Dullaghan wanted to supplement those backups while providing flexibility in searching archives.

"It became much more of a hassle to be restoring a single estimate for one customer," Dullaghan said. "We needed to find something that would allow us to get into the indexed archive file quickly and pull that archive back in an efficient manner."

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