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“I need to always have levers” – Wells Fargo’s platform chief

"One of the things in particular I'm looking at right now is a large competitor of yours. It presents a little bit of a risk…"

"Oh, just a tiny few bytes on a smattering of databases..." Pictured: Wells Fargo EVP Michael Parks

Wells Fargo’s EVP for Platforms, Michael Parks, oversees infrastructure that moves “about 80% of the United States payroll on a weekly basis.”

Think some 47,000 physical servers, 158,000 virtual servers, just a smattering of databases (128,000) and over an exabyte of data on them.

The bank has 70 data centres globally, but eight in the United States run the bulk of these workloads. It also has four new data centres under construction in Texas and northern Virginia. (Each of these has a target PUE of 1.2 and aims to reduce water usage by 90%” the bank said.)

This infrastructure build-out is part of a extensive 10-year digital transformation plan begun in 2021 that includes a deep overhaul of compute, storage, mainframe, database, compliance, and capacity.

Wells Fargo’s IT platform overhaul: 3 priorities

Private cloud is a big part of the shift: “My mantra to [our developer community] is ‘I want to be your first choice cloud service provider!’ I realised there are things we'll never do that a cloud service provider does, but for the things we do, we should do them best for you,” said Parks – who has previously led similar platform overhauls at AIG, GM, and most recently the USAA, which provides financial services to veterans.

(Reporting in 2021 suggested that the data egress fees from the cloud when pulling data down for regulators was stinging the bank, which invested heavily at the time in HPE GreenLake instead.)

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