Insurance Company Improves DR and Lowers Costs with NetApp

FBL Financial Group, Inc. (FBL) is a holding company with 1,800 employees. Its primary operating subsidiary, Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company, underwrites and markets a broad range of life insurance and annuities to individuals and businesses, and conducts business across a 14-state footprint in the Midwest and Western regions of America.


FBL’s customers expect timely and supportive response when faced with a loss, and their storage systems, including their legacy mainframe EMC SAN were stretched. They were not able to effectively manage their growth with minimal to no disruptions. They also wanted to improve their recovery point objective by replicating to a DR site throughout the day.


FBL engaged NetApp partner Datalink who deployed a multi node unified cluster with disaster recovery using SnapMirror to replicate business-critical data every four to eight hours. Corporate file shares and legal hold data are served from a cluster through CIFS, while 1,400 Microsoft Windows and Linux based virtual machines connect to the cluster over Fibre Channel.


NetApp OnCommand Unified Manager simplifies the storage management, and NetApp Virtual Storage Console for VMware vSphere lets FBL quickly and easily provision storage from within VMware vCenter. In addition, NetApp FlexClone software allowed FBL to test DR by using virtual replication copies, avoiding any business interruption.


The solution provided the following benefits:


  • Allows the IT director to focus his attention on strategic initiatives.
  • Improves recovery point objectives 3x (8 hours vs. 24 hours).
  • Allows two storage administra­tors to manage 1.4PB of data.
  • Provides uninterrupted access to financial services and cus­tomer data.
  • Reduces TCO for storage compared with mainframce environement.

Mike McNamara