Took a few moments last week to catch up with the green IT gurus at Wells Fargo, who shared first some of their tactical green IT secrets with me about a year-and-a-half ago.
Probably the biggest story here continues to be the financial institution's use of virtualization infrastructure: currently there are more than 10,000 virtual devices in place. Although Wells Fargo gets cagey about disclosing too many specifics for competitive reasons, a spokeswoman for the company estimates that prior to a major virtualization initiatives in 2009 alone, the company's servers were outputting 10,055 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. After the virtualization, the emissions shrank to 628 metric tons.
"We have the fastest rate of growth among financial institutions in virtualization," says Jim Borendame, head of enterprise hosting services for Wells Fargo. "It is a rate of change that we are maximizing in terms of energy efficiency."
The average server being provisioned these day within the Wells Fargo data center environments uses 150 watts of power, compared with 300 watts just one year ago. AND, the storage being provisioned by the financial services giant also uses roughly half what the arrays previously required.
What happens to all those decommissioned servers? Wells Fargo was one of the first big companies to get on-board the e-Stewards Enterprises program, a group of businesses concerned with supporting responsible electronics recycling and reuse policies. The program was officially launched in April, and it focuses on policies that discourage policies that see electronic waste get incinerated, sent to landfills or exported and dumped in developing nations.
The green-ness of the bank's technology efforts is by no means limited to the data center.
Scott Dillon, head of technology infrastructure services, notes that Wells Fargo was among the first of the banks to eliminate the use of envelopes for making deposits at automated teller machines (ATMs). And now, the company is working on an initiative to encourage the elimination of paper ATM receipts: Instead, statements are sent directly to the account-holder's email.
"We are thoughtful about doing the right thing at the right time," Dillon says.