Wachovia has just completed a state-of-the-art data center in the Birmingham, AL area and is 18 months into a 36-month effort to relocate and overhaul many of its data centers for the dual purposes of reducing energy consumption and achieving geographic diversity. "We are being smarter about how we deploy data centers and using technology that's more efficient in terms of power consumption, heat dissipation and cooling," says Thomas Caddoo, vice president, Corporate and Investment Banking Technology at Wachovia. "The big drain is cooling. If you can use technology that dissipates heat out of the main data center environment and into an environment where it can be recirculated or even expelled out of the building, that puts a little less strain on the actual cooling, the HVAC system."One cooling-efficient technology the firm is deploying in its data centers is new server racks from Verari Systems that hold 64 low-power servers in a high-density, low-space, vertically cooled chassis that cools floor to ceiling. These racks take up less floor space than traditional cabinets, power is concentrated into one area, they use less power, and more importantly, instead of dissipating heat directly into the data center environment, the heat goes up to the ceiling where it can be efficiently processed.
Among its broader energy conservation efforts, Wachovia plans to build at least 300 green financial centers, in accordance with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification standards, by the year 2010, starting with eight green banking offices in California. By the end of 2008, every new Wachovia financial center opened throughout the U.S. will be built to LEED specifications. Wachovia also is building a green, 1.2 million-square-foot office tower at its Charlotte headquarters. This building will feature a green (vegetated) roof, will harvest rainwater for site irrigation and will use automatic lighting controls that dim when the sun is on the building (as well as, of course, waterless toilets). It's scheduled to open in 2009. Overall, Wachovia says it will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 10 percent by 2010 and save up to $80,000 in construction costs for each new financial center over a traditionally constructed branch, in addition to a reduction in operating costs of about 20 percent in the first year.
Alongside energy consumption concerns, Wachovia is moving and reorganizing data centers to satisfy financial regulators' recommendations that data centers be far apart. When all is said and done, the data centers will be in several different states (for security reasons, Caddoo wouldn't divulge details about specific locations or the number of data centers). If moving data centers around sounds simple, it isn't. "In any large data center move or relocation project, you have the challenge of understanding communication flows and data flows among the servers, mainframes and midrange computers," Caddoo says. It's crucial that revenue-generating, low latency applications not be interrupted or affected by the data center moves. To help eliminate any unwanted disruptions, Wachovia is using Tideway's Foundation IT mapping software, which finds and visually maps each business application and all the servers, routers, switches and other equipment that touch it. "This software allows us to make better and smarter decisions about what applications we move, when we move them, what dependencies those applications have on other applications, and to start making these moves based on the needs of the business," Caddoo says. Once all the data center moves are done, Caddoo plans to use the software to streamline the IT resources used for these applications. Wachovia chose Tideway over competitors like IBM Tivoli, CA Unicenter and HP OpenVew because Tideway is independent and easily integrated with other technology components, whereas competitors offer a closed framework of multiple recommended products.
Automated IT mapping products like these work well, but they do require some human input, Caddoo has found. "This isn't the Staples easy button -- and that's what everybody's looking for -- where I can just drop this in and it magically understands how the business is aligned and how all the business units are structured," Caddoo says. "It's a programmatic way to go out and understand at least logically how everything is connected and talking to one another. You still need folks on the team to take in business information [such as organization charts] and marry that data to the Tideway data to come up with the full picture of how the applications facilitate different parts of the business."
Once the data center project is done, Wachovia plans to use the Tideway software with the services-oriented architecture the firm is building, so that someday it will automatically monitor all web services. It will also be used with overall configuration management projects.