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Wells Fargo CTO talks keeping costs flat

Lucas Mearian | Feb. 13, 2009
Scott Dillon, chief technology officer of Wells Fargo's Enterprise Hosting Services, talks about his IT group's approach to keeping costs flat while improving performance

How big is your storage area network (SAN)?

It's doubling with the inclusion of Wachovia. We're into the high five-plus petabytes of storage. Then as you define NAS [network-attached storage], you end up with multiples upon multiples beyond that, and then you have virtual tape, which is something we committed to and there's even more of that.

What do you consider the most promising technology for saving money and creating efficiency in the data centre?

The convergence of connectivity in the data centre. The coming together of our [Ethernet] network and SAN is a big deal to us, as well as being more effective at reclaiming space in the data centre. So we have a programme around service-life extension that puts all those layers in play. Virtualization is about increasing your density and compute power per square foot. We're very focused on technologies that allow us to increase our compute power and do it in a more efficient manner. If we can do that around all of our data centers, then we're able to extend the life of those data centres.

If you think of a data centre as $250 million-plus in expense [per year] ... and you can delay [those expenses] by 12 or 15 months, the benefit to the organization is staggering. And if you can also do that in a thoughtful way by leveraging technologies to make it better from an availability perspective where you have more redundancy and resiliency inherent because of virtualization, or you have a device that allows you to migrate data dynamically, then you're both extending the life of the data centre and driving to efficiency. And, at the same time you're enhancing your effectiveness.

Are you considering using Fibre Channel over Ethernet [FCoE]?


Have you deployed it yet?

Yes. It is in, but I don't know where we are right now with it. We're positioning our infrastructure to be adaptive [for when] we look at commitments to new vendors. That said, FCoE is definitely going to be relevant and important. We think it's part of the convergence that's happening in the data center, but I'm not sure we're ready to share our plans on that right now.

It's a very interesting technology. The power benefits it could yield is really intriguing, but I'd say we're not wholesale switching anything tomorrow. So it's on the radar. We'll continue to evaluate it and when we have the right vendor relationship, then we'll look at putting it in. From our perspective, there's still some questions around solid-state disk. Our general philosophy is never to be first. At the scale we're at we have to be thoughtful about anything we put into the environment both from an availability and resiliency perspective. So, I still want to make sure how SSD is going to play out.


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