NetApp.com

Swinton Insurance

The UK’s largest high street insurance retailer underpins a sweeping transformation programme with NetApp

Swinton Insurance has been undergoing a transformation programme designed to position it for the future. This has involved analysing its product portfolio, its existing customer base and how it sells to customers.

From the IT perspective this has meant extensive work on its line of business software. Its bespoke brokerage system was largely based on third-party Linux software which typically required a lot of coding to keep abreast of changing business requirements. It wanted a much more flexible option and in line with the objectives of the transformation programme the company intended to move to a webbased application.

Given that the success of the transformation programme also hinged on a new retail platform, with approximately 3,000 advisors providing 250,000 quotes a day, a new storage platform was also required. Owen Rawlinson, IT Infrastructure Manager, Swinton Insurance, said: “We have a heavily virtualised environment because of the consolidation benefits it delivers. This means we have multiple copies of data so we needed a storage platform that was both resilient and flexible.”

We can respond quickly and effectively to new market dynamics which in a fiercely competitive market is critically important.

Owen Rawlinson IT Infrastructure Manager Swinton Insurance

Swinton Insurance chose both NetApp FAS8000 and FAS3250 as a foundation for data storage and management. NetApp FAS8000 is designed for business critical workloads and to adapt quickly to changing business needs while also providing uptime, scalability and cost-efficiency. FAS8000 is essentially a unified scaleout system that boosts throughput and decreases latency in order to deliver consistent application performance across a broad range of network workloads. Simplified management ensures straightforward deployment in the data centre. Non-disruptive operations are delivered by simplifying long-term scaling and improving uptime by facilitating repairs, refreshes and other updates without having to plan for downtime.

The NetApp storage platform enables Swinton to easily and quickly create replicas of its live environment which in turn allows developers to create code for its web-based application. Owen Rawlinson says: “We can flexibly and easily create multiple copies of data and store virtual databases thanks to NetApp. As a result, it’s easier to continually develop our web-based application to meet changing business needs. In short, we can respond quickly and effectively to new market dynamics which in a fiercely competitive market is critically important.”

NetApp Clustered Data ONTAP provides unique scale-out functionality replacing traditional scale-up mechanisms which typically require the replacing of disk drives with faster or newer models or replacing old array controllers with newer controllers. The scale-out approach simply adds additional resources to the existing storage pool. Owen Rawlinson says: “I’m impressed by the NetApp innovation and flexibility. Together with management tools clustered Data ONTAP makes capacity planning very easy and allows us to easily scale sideways if we need more storage.”

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