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RamSan Success Stories: Computershare

“Computershare Runs Faster on VMS with RamSan Solid State Disk from Texas Memory Systems"

Computershare is the world’s largest transfer agent. They service most of the companies of the Dow Jones Industrial Average and 30% of the Fortune 500. Since their founding in Melbourne, Australia in 1978, Computershare has expanded globally to become a leading financial services provider for the global securities industry. The company offers extensive transfer agency, employee equity plans and proxy solicitation services, as well as other specialized financial and communication services to more than 100 million shareholders of 14,000 corporations across five continents.

A commitment to excellence in operations and technology, combined with a philosophy that delivers a seamless service relationship to customers have driven the success and growth of Computershare for over thirty years. From inception, Computershare has been a technology focused company.

The Challenge: Deliver Rapid Online Response to Customers and Complete High Volume Transactions

Computershare’s successful growth places enormous demand on their computer infrastructure. The company delivers services online to millions around the world on behalf of some of the world’s largest corporations. Their online account databases are accessed simultaneously by thousands of shareholders and employees who want to manage their accounts and perform transactions around the clock. Computershare also receives hundreds of thousands of files from their clients and is expected to process them against tight deadlines.

“Projections of our capacity planning needs were rapidly accelerating,” said John Andruszkiewicz, VMS Cluster Manager at Computershare. “To continue supporting our strategy of increasing online services, our forecast predictions told us we would need to look for solutions that could increase our performance in processing external files received from customers, and minimize the impact to online performance.”

As customer projected growth and subsequent data volumes increased, projected processing times gradually increased. Computershare sought to proactively improve processing performance to meet their internal standards.

The company worked with their technology vendor HP, to analyze Computershare’s back-end application performance. Computershare wanted to understand where bottlenecks could occur with a focus on maintaining optimally configured databases (applications and infrastructure were optimally configured).

The Solution: Texas Memory Systems RamSan Solid State Disk

The performance analysis revealed that, while latency between the storage and the application could cause performance bottlenecks, the application was well-tuned and the servers and storage were performing to specification. Adding CPUs, monolithic RAID and database tuning were not going to address the latency challenge. In addition, there are physical constraints of a spindle and spinning disk – even the fastest hard disk drives have peak performance access times of only 5 milliseconds. This led the IT department to consider other alternatives to boost performance.

Research into high performance led Computershare to consider Solid State Disk as a way to dramatically reduce latency in storage access and improve performance. Instead of a rotating disk, a solid state disk uses memory chips to read and write data, thereby avoiding the problem of physical constraints by replacing hard disk drives with high speed circuitry.

Upon investigation, Texas Memory Systems providers of the “World’s Fastest Storage®” quickly emerged as the leader in providing enterprise-class SSD. Pre-sales representatives from Texas Memory Systems visited with Computershare to fully understand the performance challenges the company faced and assess whether they could offer a solution that met all of their needs. Beyond a boost in performance, Computershare required a solution that would be highly reliable and redundant, with skilled technical support available in case help was needed at any point. After this consultation, Texas Memory Systems recommended a highly redundant configuration of its RamSan-400 across its primary and disaster recovery sites.

The RamSan-400 is ideal for storing performance-demanding data and accelerating application performance. It is a high performance storage system based on non- volatile solid state disk, ensuring both speed and reliability in accessing data. The RamSan-400 delivers 400,000 I/Os per second, has 3,000 megabytes per second of internal bandwidth with latency of less than 15 microseconds. Computershare first tested the systems in their non-production code development and test environment. The VMS cluster team found installation and configuration to be fast and simple. Best of all, performance improved straight away. Once testing in the non-production environment was complete, Computershare installed the RamSan-400 units into their production environment, to deal with the databases relating to their largest customers.

Each of Computershare’s RamSan-400s has a capacity of 128 gigabytes. In order to meet their stringent requirements for redundancy and high availability, Computershare SAN-attached two units in their primary facility and two more at their disaster recovery site. As with all of their other data, Computershare replicates data synchronously between the RamSans at both sites.

The Result: “The World’s Fastest Storage” completes file processing within minutes rather than hours, enables unrestricted simultaneous customer access online and improved performance 500%.

The RamSan-400s were installed within hours and immediately increased performance by 500%. Batch file processing time was dramatically reduced to a few hours rather than overnight. The system was able to handle simultaneous database interrogations for their largest customers without any delay, thereby ensuring optimal customer satisfaction.

“We were very impressed with RamSan’s online performance,” concluded Mr. Andruszkiewicz. “We boosted our daytime fulfillment as well as our batch file runs. RamSan was an important solution – they’re reliable, fast and they delivered on their promise.”

About Computershare

Computershare (ASX: CPU) is a global leader in transfer agency, employee equity plans, proxy solicitation and other specialized financial and communication services. Many of the world’s largest companies employ Computershare’s innovative solutions to maximize the value of their relationships with investors, employees, customers and members. Computershare has approximately 10,000 employees across the world and serves 14,000 corporations and 100 million shareholders and employee accounts in 17 countries across five continents. For more information about Computershare, visit www.computershare.com

Texas Memory Systems, World's Fastest Storage and RamSan are trademarks or registered trademarks of Texas Memory Systems. All other trademarks belong to their respective owners.

Copyright 2008 Texas Memory Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of Texas Memory Systems is strictly forbidden. Texas Memory Systems cannot be responsible for errors in typography or photography.


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Facts at a Glance



Industry:
Financial Services

Application:
Tiered option management and stock trading system with proprietary RMS-based database and applications on back end and Windows-based Web front end.

Operating System OpenVMS

Environment
HP Alpha Server GS1280 with HP EVA 8000 storage in SAN

Challenge:
Deliver rapid online results to customers and complete high volume transaction processing quicker

Solution
4 128GB RamSan-400

Result
500% performance improvement

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