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Southern Insurance Underwriters, Inc.

Southern Insurance Underwriters, Inc. Consolidates Servers and Saves 400%

One of Nation’s Largest Managing General Agents (MGA’s) Quickly and Cost-Effectively Implements an IP SAN to Consolidate and Centralize Storage; Adds 2.2 Terabytes of Storage for $.01 Cent per Megabyte to Save 400% in Costs Associated with Traditional NAS Model.

Southern Insurance Underwriters, Inc. (SIU) is one of the largest Managing General Agents (MGA’s) in the country, and has served the independent insurance agent since 1964. SIU has a broad range of property, casualty, and transportation products and specializes in hard to place, specialty and excess surplus lines.

The scope of risks that can be underwritten ranges from the most simple property risks to highly sophisticated self-insured programs. SIU’s knowledge and experience along with rapid policy issuance and prompt claim service continue to foster growth and strong relationships with agents and companies. Today, SIU represents more than 35 admitted and non-admitted specialty companies, including Lloyd’s of London, and several standard companies.

Southern Insurance Underwriters’ premium volume has continually grown over the last 15 years and is represented by over 2,200 Independent Agents, primarily in the states of Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, Alabama, and Texas. In addition to its corporate headquarters in Atlanta, SIU has offices in Orlando and St. Petersburg, Florida. SIU is active in the American Association of Managing General Agents (AAMGA), National Association of Professional Surplus Lines Offices (NAPSLO), the Independent Insurance Agents of Georgia, Alabama, Florida, and South Carolina and the Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) of Georgia, Alabama, Florida and South Carolina.

Challenge

Several years ago, Southern Insurance Underwriters, Inc. implemented a document imaging system to electronically manage, store and retrieve the millions of insurance forms that were generated in the course of doing business. To meet their rapidly growing storage demands, SIU’s IT department would simply add a standard SCSI array whenever one of the company’s database servers began to approach full capacity. Robert Filipovich joined SIU one year ago as the IT Manager, and quickly recognized that it was not cost effective to rely on SCSI arrays each time a server approached capacity. Filipovich and his IT team recognized they needed to centralize storage assets through a network of storage disks, but tight margins in the highly competitive insurance industry did not allow for a costly Fibre Channel SAN implementation.

“We store and retrieve millions of electronic forms each month through database servers that are absolutely critical to our business. Our storage needs increase as the business grows, and our database servers were rapidly reaching full capacity. We are also running Exchange 2000 and I knew our volumes of email would quickly result in lack of disk space,” said Filipovich. “Our IT team carefully evaluated both a NAS and IP-based SAN strategy, but the NAS model gave us absolutely zero benefit in the application space. I began to research the hype surrounding iSCSI and came across StoneFly Networks’ IP-based storage provisioning appliances. Once I realized how simple and affordable it was to implement an IP-based SAN, I did a cost/benefits analysis and realized SIU could save 400% with StoneFly’s Storage Concentrator versus the same configuration on a NAS box.”

Solution and Benefits

StoneFly Networks offers a complete line of IP-based storage provisioning appliances called Storage Concentrators that enable mid-sized to large enterprises to manage and optimize their storage assets in real-time. Combining the functionality of an iSCSI router and bridge with the power of a storage provisioning engine, Storage Concentrators are installed as a centralized appliance at the core of the network for logical volume management of cost effective IP SANs.

Filipovich installed the StoneFly Storage Concentrator i1500 and a Nexsan’s ATABoy 2.2 Terabyte Storage Array to immediately create an IP SAN and add 2.2 terabytes of storage capacity for $.01 per megabyte. A key benefit of StoneFly’s enabling technology is that it allowed SIU to interface with their existing SCSI arrays, so the company wasn’t required to duplicate costs or discard a prior storage investment.

“We are extremely pleased with ease and speed of the Storage Concentrator installation. For years I worked on Fibre Channel SAN solutions that required weeks of implementation — and months of training. It was a tremendous benefit to have an IP-based SAN up and running quickly, and without intense training for my IT staff. Most importantly, I was able to implement a SAN within my IT budget. We’ve already had so much success with the Storage Concentrator that we are planning to run disk-to-disk back up applications and manage email in the very near future. “

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