EQC upgrades systems post earthquakes

A boost in staff numbers at EQC following the Canterbury earthquakes has led to a major IT upgrade

A year ago the Earthquake Commission had just 22 employees. Post the Canterbury earthquakes, it has more than 1200, which has led to a major upgrade of its systems, with more to come.

EQC runs a web-based insurance application, ClaimCenter, which is hosted by IBM.

“It was architected for 200 users, and we needed a complete upgrade at the back end to 2000 users,” says Peter Thomson, project manager for the claims centre programme.

That meant upgrading the server environment, to 64-bit virtualised servers. Thomson says there was originally a ClaimCenter upgrade planned for late last year but it was “put on ice” after the second earthquake.

“We’re in the discovery phase now, and there’s be a big upgrade very soon,” he says.

IBM is the ClaimCenter integration partner in New Zealand.

To measure the performance of the back end upgrade, he engaged Compuware in May.

“We’re using their Gomez tool to get a view of the end user experience,” he says.

“Gomez was architected for organisations like Amazon, and there is a peer network around the world. We’re using Compuware’s private peer network, which enables us to deploy the client on nominated devices around the network.”

He developed a benchmark script to see where the user claims points were.

“It was important initially to get a view of what people were seeing.

“After the upgrade, our response times came down from 19.5 seconds to three seconds.”

Compuware deploys a server on the Telecom backbone. Thomson says EQC was able to run tests off that server to measure the response times from the edge of the backbone to the datacentre.

“We were able to see whether any problems were inside the tent or outside – was it a backbone problem or a datacentre problem.

“It was absolutely key to help us determine the performance characteristics after the upgrade.

“Gomez is a very clever tool,” says Thomson.

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