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Aon Services Group
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The University of Memphis

The World's Largest Reinsurance Intermediary: Aon Services Group

Outsourcing Arm of World's Largest Reinsurance Intermediary Chooses UMT KVM Solution

Aon Services Group
The Challenge
Headquartered in Chicago, Aon is a Fortune 500 company that is a world leader in risk management, retail, reinsurance and wholesale brokerage, claims management, specialty services, and human capital consulting services. The Aon Services Group (ASG) is the outsourcing and alternative distribution arm of Aon Corporation, providing unique services to various segments of the insurance industry through a number of highly specialized and wellrespected subsidiaries. The subsidiaries provide services to a host of clients, including: independent insurance agents and brokers; professional and third party affinity groups; individual consumers, companies, and organizations; and insurance carriers.

In April 2002, Cameron Gocke, Systems Engineer III for the Aon Services Group, needed a rock-solid, reliable KVM solution to provide local and remote access to his 125 servers and other network devices. "We have a geographically spread out population of end users and our choices were to hire trained engineers to be on call 24/7, or select a best-of-breed solution that provided an out of band connection and 'over IP' capability for remote access to our servers. We opted for the latter," said Gocke.

Gocke's single most important criterion for selection was reliability, but scalability and flexibility were also key elements of the final choice. "We needed a scalable solution that could grow with us as our server environment expands," he added. Scalability was definitely a key issue for Gocke as well, since he envisions the number of servers doubling from 125 to 250 before the end of next year. But Gocke wasn't going to take anyone's word for it: the final selection would be made on the basis of head-to-head testing between the final candidates.
The Solution
After an extensive selection and testing process, Gocke chose Raritan's award winning UMT® with Cat5 SimplicityTM and the TeleReach® remote access option. "When evaluating a solution with multi-user IP access to the KVM switch, we looked at Raritan and Avocent," said Gocke. "We tested Avocent's DS Series, but it was too slow for us to use— Raritan's UMT performance was head and shoulders above Avocent."

UMT provided superior performance, Cat5 simplicity, and 100% server availability for BIOS-level troubleshooting, and even re-booting. And with TeleReach's 128-bit SSL-encrypted remote access, this solution offered web-based, non-blocked multi-user access, without compromising security. According to Gocke, UMT seemed to offer all the benefits, with none of the compromise required with the Avocent solution.

The Results
Aon Services Group has been live with the UMT solution since May 2002, and has experienced 100% uptime. "Raritan delivered exactly what it claimed," added Gocke. Gocke has realized significant savings with the Raritan solution, including a reduced need for IT personnel, and increased capability for emergency access to the KVM switches. "With our database clusters, we need a stable environment for our KVM switches, and any inband remote management tool— whether software- or management card-based— lends itself to instability," said Gocke. "We solved that problem. Since our Raritan remote management solution is server independent, no drivers or software needs to be loaded onto the server."

The Future
In the near future, Aon Services Group will be building a disaster recovery site in a co-location facility and will need to replicate what is in the data center. "Unless we want to staff the DR facility, UMT with the TeleReach option will be the only solution for us," concluded Gocke.
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The World's Largest Reinsurance Intermediary: Aon Services Group
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The Aon Services Group

Outsourcing arm of reinsurance giant needed high performance remote and local access to 125 servers and other devices

Raritan's UMT KVM solution with the TeleReach option

Aon Services Group avoided the costs of hiring trained personnel, made existing operations more efficient and added the capability of emergency access to KVM switches