First American's Forms A Strategic Alliance With Microsoft Corp.

November 1, 2005

SANTA ANA, Calif., -- First American Title Insurance Company has formed a strategic alliance with Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) for early testing of Microsoft SQL Server 2005 using First American's FAST Transaction System (FAST) database.

FAST is an integrated title and escrow system that unifies disparate systems into a centralized database and is currently one of the largest SQL Server 2005 implementations with more than 4 terabytes of data. Microsoft encouraged First American's FAST development team to test SQL Server 2005 against one of the largest and most complex databases available. Using a version of FAST with all personal information removed, Microsoft was able to rigorously validate SQL Server 2005 and improve system capabilities, ensuring that the new release of SQL Server will be "FAST Certified" at the product launch on Nov. 7, 2005.

"We wanted to stress test SQL Server 2005 in some of the most challenging, data intensive environments possible," said Paul Flessner, senior vice president for SQL Server at Microsoft. "With more than 4 terabytes of data and over 850 million rows of information, FAST qualifies as one of the largest and most complex databases in the world. As a result of the FAST alliance, we were able to make improvements that will allow SQL Server 2005 to handle the most demanding business critical environments at launch."

"As a leader in not only title insurance but also in diversified business information, having the right back-end systems to support our business solutions is critical," said Larry Godec, senior vice president and chief information officer at First American Title Insurance Company. "Key to this is having all of this data readily accessible across multiple sites, managed from a single server. With the enormous size of FAST, very few systems are capable of handling this according to our needs. By stressing SQL Server 2005 and making continuous improvements, we're confident that Microsoft will have the best system possible at their launch in November."

First American originally deployed FAST in 2002 into a centralized database hosted on a 32-bit computer with 32 processors. With the rapid growth of the FAST database, CPU utilization soon surpassed 80 percent. The company upgraded its mission-critical FAST system to a 64-bit solution with Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition and Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition (64-bit), running on an HP Integrity Superdome with 32 Intel Itanium 64-bit processors. Today, the centrally hosted SQL Server database supports 15,000 users in 1,300 offices.

Source: First American


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SoftPro, based in Raleigh, NC, offers a mature suite of products, designed specifically for the closing and title industry. Our mission is to serve our client base, with best-in-class products and services. Our products are modular so we don't force you to buy anything you don't need. You can always add on as your business grows. Unlike other software companies, we view the sale as the beginning of the relationship rather than the end. North American Title Insurance Company (NATIC) is a seasoned title insurance underwriter, helping title agents to achieve their individual business goals for more than 50 years. Today, the company conducts real estate settlement services in 39 states and the District of Columbia through a network of experienced, independent agents.