IBM and First American Further Expand World's Largest Collection of Imaged Property Documents

—Data Tree Surpasses Two Billion Image Milestone With IBM-Powered Storage Network—


September 21, 2004, SANTA ANA, Calif.

The First American Corporation (NYSE: FAF), the nation’s largest data provider, today announced that its property document images unit, Data Tree LLC, has exceeded a 2 billion image collection milestone, making its database the largest of its kind in the world.

The collection of property document images and ownership information in the 210 terabyte storage area network (SAN) powered by IBM products is so large that if all of the documents were laid out to form a continuous paper feed, they would extend from the earth to the moon and back, 12 times over.

Data Tree provides real estate information to more than 5,000 users who rely on its vast resources to make property-related decisions every day. Data Tree provides recorded document images, property ownership and sales history information in 31 states and 330 counties nationwide. Built with IBM TotalStorage FAStT 200 and FAStT 900 storage servers, customers can typically retrieve—in seconds—property reports and electronic images of publicly recorded deeds, mortgages, judgments, easements and maps using owner names and/or street addresses.

“With geographic coverage three times greater than that of our nearest competitor, we continue to provide our customers with the added efficiency of using a single source in accessing documents nationwide,” said Robert Karraa, chief operating officer of Data Tree LLC.

Delivering more than 2 million images per day, Data Tree’s system is a reliable solution for businesses that perform land record searches, including title companies, abstractors, real estate attorneys, creditors, mortgage lenders, civil engineers and more. 

“IBM has proven to be an excellent member of the Data Tree team as we continue to expand our image library,” said Karraa. “With IBM on demand storage solutions, Data Tree has been able to increase its geographic coverage by 25 percent this year and expects to increase the total number of U.S. counties represented to 350 by year-end.  This rapid geographic growth allows us to quickly respond to the changing needs of our customers, helping them achieve new levels of efficiency and profitability.”

The real estate information that Data Tree holds dates back as far as the 1950s. Managing the explosive growth has been one of the major challenges faced by Data Tree. The number of images that the company collects is growing so quickly that the storage capacity of the SAN has to scale approximately 1.5 terabytes each month to accommodate the image collection.

The Data Tree image library, which is often leveraged in conjunction with other First American data sources to provide the most comprehensive real estate reports available, is backed by a state-of-the-art disaster recovery solution that asynchronously mirrors the 210 terabytes of data to a remote site in Dallas.

The SAN built upon IBM products at Data Tree helps the company manage two of the biggest challenges facing businesses of all sizes today - managing data growth and high availability.  In addition to reliability, cost and technology leadership, Data Tree also chose IBM because they were looking for a partner who would team with them in building a SAN that would deliver improved utilization and management.  The IBM FAStT Storage Servers are designed to provide high uptime and scalability.

“Business of all sizes today are faced with the challenge of managing the growth of their data while maintaining high availability and constant access,” said Rich Lechner, vice president, IBM Storage Systems Group.  “IBM’s TotalStorage solutions help address the needs of leading companies such as Data Tree by providing a simplified on demand infrastructure designed to help dramatically reduce total cost of ownership and provide the power and scalability to grow.”


About Data Tree
Data Tree LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of The First American Corporation, provides an online database system containing more than 2 billion current and historical document images. Available in 31 states and 312 leading markets, Data Tree delivers property reports and hundreds of thousands of quality images, instantly online, everyday to companies in need of property information and recorded property documents. Data Tree’s proprietary software platform enables workflow automation by allowing users to process, share, annotate, print and store images in a networked or Internet-connected environment. With “scan-on-demand” and office document integration capability, Data Tree greatly reduces research times and makes title automation and paperless processing a reality. More information about the company can be found at www.datatree.com.

About First American
The First American Corporation is a Fortune 500 company that traces its history to 1889. As the nation’s largest data provider, the company supplies businesses and consumers with information resources in connection with the major economic events of people’s lives, such as getting a job; renting an apartment; buying a car, house, boat or airplane; securing a mortgage; opening or buying a business; and planning for retirement. The First American Family of Companies, many of which command leading market share positions in their respective industries, operate within six primary business segments including: Title Insurance and Services, Specialty Insurance, Mortgage Information, Property Information, Credit Information and Screening Information. With revenues of $6.21 billion in 2003, First American has 29,000 employees in approximately 1,800 offices throughout the United States and abroad. More information about the company and an archive of its press releases can be found at www.firstam.com.

About IBM
IBM is the world's largest information technology company, with 80 years of leadership in helping businesses innovate. Drawing on resources from across IBM and key IBM Business Partners, IBM offers a wide range of services, solutions and technologies that enable customers, large and small, to take full advantage of the new era of e-business. For more information about IBM, visit http://www.ibm.com.

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