Cool Cash

By Brian P. Watson Print this article Print

Wells Fargo discovered several power-saving innovations that, with the help of good timing, are saving money and decreasing energy usage in two new data centers.

Going "green" has become the initiative du jour for many companies, as environmental campaigns trumpet eco-friendliness and businesses face heightened energy costs. For Wells Fargo, the San Francisco-based financial services firm with $540 billion in assets, the effort began four years ago, before the hype, when growth forced the company to expand its data center capacity.

But it wasn't all about the environment: Bob Culver, senior vice president of Wells Fargo's technology information group, says the firm's top priority was to ensure security and availability of the services it provides, which include consumer banking, investments and mortgages.

In the process of building two new data centers, though, Wells Fargo put in place a number of energy-saving features to lower power consumption and reduce costs. It accomplished both—and there hasn't been an outage yet.

"They've performed the role we expected them to perform, so there haven't been any surprises," Culver says.

The firm opened new, high-density facilities in Minneapolis (in August 2005) and Tempe, Ariz. (about six months later). Both facilities house 7,000 to 8,000 servers from Dell, Egenera, Hewlett-Packard, IBM and other vendors.

Standardizing on a particular brand has not yet been an option, Culver says. Over the years, Wells Fargo has developed purchasing agreements with various vendors, particularly Hewlett-Packard and Dell, and also has an enterprise agreement with IBM that includes mainframes and servers.

But consolidating with one vendor won't be considered while all those varied servers are still operational, he says. On top of that, certain business lines required specialty systems, leading to more vendors entering the fray.

This article was originally published on 2007-10-29
Associate Editor

Brian joined Baseline in March 2006. In addition to previous stints at Inter@ctive Week and The Net Economy, he's written for The News-Press in Fort Myers, Fla., as well as The Sunday Tribune in Dublin, Ireland. Brian has a B.A. from Bucknell University and a master's degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.

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