US banking giant Wachovia is implementing a major five-year energy efficiency strategy in order to address growing constraints on its local power supply.
The bank’s global headquarters was forced to invoke its business continuity plans and move to generation power twice this summer after its local electricity provider, Duke Energy, asked Wachovia to move off the grid in order to alleviate the burden on the local energy supply, Tom Caddoo, a systems manager and architect at the corporate and investment banking division, Wachovia, told Information Age.
The energy shortage has been caused by soaring temperatures which have prompted a surge in demand for cooling at the bank’s North Carolina headquarters, based in Charlotte.
“When it gets really, really hot they’ll ask us to go onto generator. A couple of days this year we ran on generator out of our main facility,” Caddoo told Information Age.
The massive Charlotte facility, which is around two and half million square feet, houses more than 10,000 employees. Wachovia is one of few local, energy-hungry organisations with the necessary on-site facilities to accommodate Duke Energy’s request, Caddoo told Information age.
The bank is currently implementing a five-year plan to improve the energy efficiency of its mission critical infrastructure, which includes the conversion of its primary data centre, based in Winston-Salem in North Carolina, to a new, state-of-the-art facility in Oxmoor, Alabama.
The bank has been working with application dependency mapping company Tideway Systems in order to consolidate and virtualise its server environment. It also plans to install higher density rack equipment from hardware provider Verari Systems that will allow the bank to operate a more efficient, ‘vertical’ cooling system.
“We as a corporation are looking at ways to conserve resources – power being a primary resource,” says Caddoo. “We are trying to be smarter about how we consume energy,” he adds.
Charlotte’s energy constraints underline the growing danger to mission critical IT infrastructures globally, which have grown in both scale and energy-intensity in recent years.