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State Street: A green dashboard monitors data center efficiencies

Ranked No. 3, the investment giant also takes control of its PC power for annual savings of over $1 million.

By Mary Brandel
October 25, 2010 12:01 AM ET

Computerworld - For State Street Corp., environmental sustainability is embedded in pretty much anything the global investment services provider does. Its companywide Environment Management System operates on the principles of embracing green thinking in its corporate culture, technology choices and standard operating procedures, says Madge Meyer, executive vice president and head of global infrastructure services.

"This is part of our DNA," she says.

Green Teamwork

In meetings with technology vendors, Madge Meyer, executive vice president at State Street, has found that the vendors are eager to share information on their own environmental sustainability efforts. For instance, her team has been invited to tour IBM's green data centers. "Companies are beginning to really understand we're not just a financial services firm or a company focused on IT," Meyer says, "we're focused on sustainability as a long-term strategy."

Case in point: About a year ago, when the marketing department needed additional computing resources, IT could have simply added processors to the existing mainframe. However, an upgrade to the system had just come on the market, and it used a lot less energy and offered twice the speed.

"They made the quick decision not to upgrade the old system, as it wasn't classified as 'green,'" Meyer says. "It meant working every weekend and in their off-hours, but they made it happen."

On a global scale, the company's intensive virtualization effort over the past two years has resulted in annual energy savings of more than $3.5 million and a CO2 emissions reduction of 30,000 metric tons annually. Its servers are 65% virtualized and will likely hit the 75% mark, Meyer says, since virtualization is part of a continuous-improvement effort.

In the networking arena, State Street completed a worldwide voice-over-IP rollout last year. And its 2009 PC power management initiative -- which enables policy-based shutdown and wake-up of desktops for patches and upgrades -- reduces greenhouse gas emissions by more than 6,000 metric tons. This is equivalent to taking 1,000 cars off the road, according to Meyer, and saves the company more than $1 million annually.

"State Street's 'green culture' drive is broader than just IT and data centers, per se. This is good, because life is so intricate that there are connections and green opportunities everywhere," says Mark Peters, a senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group Inc. "PC power management is one of those things that is talked about way more than it is implemented across corporations, so they deserve kudos for making it happen."

Brandel is a Computerworld contributing writer. You can contact her at

Next: No. 4: Earth Rangers' virtualized data center and geothermal plant fit with its environmental mission.

Read more about Data Center in Computerworld's Data Center Topic Center.

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