Close Premium Finance, which provides finance for insurance brokers and individuals, has built a mirrored three-San (storage area network) environment to protect data relating to the £2bn of insurance premiums that go through its books each year.
The Fibre Channel-based system uses data synchronisation and load-balances between two of the Sans, while the third San, at an off-site location, provides failover contingency to ensure the business continues operating in an emergency.
Most organisations find that two mirrored Sans provide sufficient capacity and back-up, but Close described its triple network as a "cost-effective, highly available environment capable of supporting the company's future growth ambitions".
Claus Egge, programme director, European storage research at analyst firm IDC, said, "A Fibre Channel San is absolutely the right thing for companies looking to improve their business continuity and data recovery, and having a mirrored San off site is even better."
As part of the San deployment, Close Premium Finance installed Computer Associates' Brightstor Enterprise Backup for Linux suite to provide recovery and data management. Close is now in talks with CA about integrating systems management with storage and security so that it can improve the control and accountability of the triple-San environment.
The network has enabled Close to host the back-office functions of other insurance firms, providing an extra revenue stream. Jonathan Cattle, IT director at Close Premium Finance, said, "For all financial companies the availability of technology has become critical to their ability to function, but for Close the technology has become a major part of our competitive advantage."
Tony Martin, UK and Ireland manager at CA, said, "Close Premium Finance is an example of making IT infrastructure accountable to the business process."