October 22, 2001

Nation's largest repossession company adopts Linux NetworX cluster computing

Author: JT Smith

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH, Oct. 22, 2001 - Camping Companies, the nation's largest repossession and investigations company, has implemented an innovative new paperless system based on a Linux NetworX cluster computer system, leading to record profits and improved efficiencies. The paperless system has increased the company's processing capacity by more than 50 percent without hiring any additional staff, and has cut time dedicated to account management in half. The success of the Linux-based paperless system is an indicator of how the Linux operating system and computer cluster technology is moving into enterprise business environments.
Clustering, also called parallel processing and distributed computing, has been widely adopted as a powerful high performance computing (HPC) platform because of its ability to match and outperform traditional supercomputers for a fraction of the cost. High availability (HA) clusters are configured to take advantage of the built-in redundancy and failover capability of the cluster architecture, creating a very reliable, non-stop server.

Camping Companies helps organizations recover loan payments and repossess property from individuals who refuse or are unable to pay their bills. The company receives up to 200 new assignments daily from its customers via fax, with each new request containing an average of five pages of information. A time and motion study conducted in Oct. 2000 showed its employees were spending 39 percent of all of their time looking for paper.

"In a labor industry, each time you need something done, you throw people at it. But we've decided to buck the trend and use technology to significantly improve our processes, and increase our efficiencies," said David Cheng, vice president of technical operations for Camping Companies. "The Linux NetworX cluster solution helped us eliminate paperwork, lower our margin of error, while increasing efficiencies - leading to happier employees and customers, and ultimately greater profits."

Working with Mobile Business Systems, Inc. (MBSi), a developer of remote and paperless business systems, Camping Companies incorporated a reliable high availability Linux NetworX Evolocity cluster system to serve as the platform for the new system. The cluster can handle up to 128,000 new client assignments each day, and records remote database updates in real-time. The cluster is completely redundant and has logged zero downtime during its first 10 months of operation.

The Evolocity cluster configuration consists of six nodes containing Intel Pentium® III 933 MHz processors, two 12 port 10/100 interconnect switches, and the Linux NetworX ClusterWorX® software and hardware management tool. Two of the nodes act as hosts, serving fax requests to the remaining four nodes. Linux NetworX manufactures turnkey cluster solutions using many standard hardware components, and then implements its award-winning Integrated Cluster Environment(ICE) cluster management tools.

The system also includes VoiceTablet mobile pen computers in company vehicles designed by Sarasota, Fla.-based Intelliworxx. The VoiceTablets allow investigators to update client files to the cluster remotely using pen, keyboard and voice inputs.

"This high availability cluster server is an excellent example of how Linux and clustering is helping businesses manage their mission critical data," said Clark Roundy, vice president of Linux NetworX.

MBSi is working with Linux NetworX to build an identical cluster system to function as the company's application service provider (ASP) business. The company is also considering licensing the system to customers, allowing other companies to own a system similar to what Camping Companies is using.

"The ultimate sign of success is the demand by others to use your technology. The Linux NetworX Evolocity cluster is an ideal platform to deliver a very reliable, scalable, and cost-effective solution," said Cheng.

To read a complete case study about this, visit www.linuxnetworx.com/news/case_camping.pdf

For more information:

Mobile Business Systems, Inc.




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