Treehouse Software Customer Case Study:
"First American Real Estate Solutions (FARES) is the nation's largest provider of real estate information, serving more than 50,000 customers with the most current data available by any competitor. Our databases of information provide a broad range of information, including property profiles, maps, valuation models, legal and vesting information, and others for 85 percent of U.S. counties. FARES manages these very large volumes of information on the latest technology platforms, ensuring timeliness and accuracy of all data.
"Such large systems, storing multiple Terabytes of data, with daily updates require a data migration tool that is capable and efficient. FARES's search for such a tool, after careful analysis, led to the selection of Treehouse Software as the solution provider of choice. Using their Data Propagation System (DPS), we were able to solve the problem of moving large amounts of data from our Data Warehouse Platforms to our Delivery Systems.
"DPS allows for multiple platform, multiple database data migration and mapping of our data. Treehouse has worked very closely with FARES to improve the efficiency of these processes. Most recently by addressing our specific requirement, they were able to reduce processing time by 70% along with systems resource efficiencies to these tools. Treehouse tools have enabled FARES to improve the time to market and refresh rate of its data and are directly contributing to the competitive advantage of FARES.
"As you can see, FARES and Treehouse have a "partnership" on this effort, not merely a customer/vendor relationship. We help each other, and Treehouse is continually checking on our processes to ensure we are happy.
"Treehouse has been a good, responsible partner for us and we would recommend them to others trying to solve the ADABAS to Oracle problem. During our initial implementation, we ran into difficulty getting all data loaded to our system. I contacted President George Szakach, and his team worked with our technical team to come up with a solution that helped us complete the initial data load."
Group President of Database Information & Services
First American Corporation
The following is a recent discussion between Fran Stevens, Vice President of Information Technology at FARES, and TSI Project Managers. This interview was coordinated by Tina White, Production Manager at FARES.
Fran, can you provide a business description for the First American Real Estate Solutions (FARES)?
We are the nations largest collector and provider of real estate data, serving more than 400,000 users who depend on us to make decisions every day. We collect data on one hundred million properties annually and on two million property and mortgage transactions each month. In addition, we also provide access to three billion document images using the industries most innovative technologies.
Please describe your core ADABAS Application, Advantage.
Advantage is a system of over 5000 database files containing Real Estate information on many counties across the nation. The information includes ownership, values, features, and a host of other information used by realtors, appraisers, direct marketers, and many other types of businesses.
How many counties does Advantage currently support?
We currently support over 600 counties nationwide in Advantage.
Can you elaborate on the Database and File environment for Advantage?
For each county in our system, we maintain separate files for sales, building, and land (parcel) information. This information comes to us from a variety of sources, the most important of which are the counties themselves. We typically receive and process information for every property in a county once a year. This may consist of from one to thirty files that we match and combine into a usable set of database files. In addition, we regularly receive new sales that are recorded in the counties. This information is keyed off-shore and then loaded to our system.
Please describe the business objective for the Keystone Project.
Our objective with the Keystone Project was to move away from our Legacy Systems to a relational database that would enable us to handle more concurrent on-line users, add additional county coverage, and give us the ability to provide more complete and robust on-line products.
"Prior to the DPS V4.00 upgrade, we were starting to plan a mainframe upgrade, which is a very costly proposition for our business. Once the V4.00 upgrade was completed, we recovered enough processing cycles to cancel our upgrade plans."
Please describe the ORACLE application, Keystone.
Keystone is a set of ORACLE databases and server applications, currently running on SUN Solaris hardware. This system provides the back-end for an array of on-line products, both dial-up and Internet, and it is also the source for our CD-based products.
How many Keystone customers do you support?
We currently support more than 50,000 customers.
Please describe the Keystone Project and how you arrived at the selection of the TSI product solution.
The Keystone Project was set up as a new data delivery system that takes advantage of the data manipulation done in Advantage. This new data delivery system was designed to handle our growth over the next 10 years.
What were the most significant factors on selection of tRelational and DPS?
The most significant factor was the movement of data from ADABAS to Keystone, which became critical to the success of the project. We looked at writing the necessary programs and also researched other companies that provided a solution. TSI was willing to come out for a day and discuss how their product could assist us. It seemed like a good fit and we were pleased with TSI's responsiveness to our questions. In addition, TSI had the ability to deal with repeating groups from ADABAS, read ADABAS Plogs, and create updates for daily processing.
Can you please describe the ADABAS Annual County Refresh processing and the ramifications to Keystone?
We face the continual challenge of having to reload each county once a year, while also providing the most recent sales updates to our customers. We do this, in part, by loading the new files from each county into a "staging" database, while updating the sales information to our "production" databases. Once we have a county loaded to Advantage "staging", we process the files through DPS to load them to Keystone "staging", where we can perform detailed QC and analysis to ensure that we provide only the highest quality data to our customers. When we have verified that the new files are correct, we bring the sales up to current, move them to Advantage "production", and process the files through DPS to load them to Keystone "production".
What were/are the most challenging aspects of the Keystone Project?
We couldn't move data fast enough from Advantage to Keystone. With the implementation of DPS V4.00, we have seen an improvement of 70% in our processing times.
How did/does tRelational and DPS factor in the success of the Keystone Project?
DPS and tRelational allow us to move data from our flat-file data repository (Advantage) to our relational on-line system (Keystone) with confidence and in near real-time. Many of the transformations that occur in this process are complex and would not be easy to develop or maintain with standard programming tools. DPS provides the capabilities and the interface to make, or change, these transformations quickly and easily.
Are you satisfied with the products, support, and services TSI provides?
Yes, we have been extremely satisfied with the level of support and services TSI provides. Your support team is always willing to go the extra mile to help resolve any issues we may be having. Additionally, your support doesn't stop once a resolution has been identified. Your support staff always follows through to ensure the solution provided has resolved our issues.