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What Does the Cloud Infrastructure Look Like in a Financial Institution?

There is no one single cloud infrastructure model for financial institutions (FIs) – every organization is different. The key thing is that FIs have a cloud infrastructure that works for them and gives them scope to scale as required. In this post, Niall Twomey, Fenergo’s CTO, explores the options.

One of the great advantages about cloud technology is that it presents lots of opportunities to bring together various technologies from different providers. Cloud infrastructure is a set of computing capabilities that enables firms to re-engineer their back-end architectures and put them in virtual environments where they can be accessed remotely, without the need for physical server hardware of their own.

There are three main models:

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS): Users can access a provider’s applications on a cloud infrastructure but they do not have the ability to manage or control the underlying technology

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS): Users enjoy more control over their cloud technology. They can deploy their own apps, so long as they are supported by the provider

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS): FIs have even more control, enjoying processing, storage, networks, and other resources

What we’re seeing is a large number of multi-cloud solutions, where Fenergo is only one part of the overall solution

And we’re happy to be part of the bigger implementations because you shouldn’t be really chained to one particular provider, there should be a lot of flexibility that you can actually use the best of all the providers.

A big commonality across all of our clients is that CTOs are using public cloud solutions but maintaining databases on-premise. This is known as a ‘hybrid scenario’, which is often perceived as a less risky option as part of a bigger initiative.

Our clients are saying is that they’re keen to avoid the challenges of maintaining large databases and avoid the large capital expenses that go with procuring the licenses. So, PaaS models of Relational Database Services (RDS) services can be quite attractive, and seen as a good way to control your costs and limit your exposure.

We are also seeing clients who are running non-production workloads in the public cloud. This can often be perceived as a good first step to getting into an overall cloud strategy or as seen as being an easy way to basically get up and running on the first stage of a project for a CTO’s software development or User Acceptance Testing (UAT) environments.

The goal is often to make a bigger business case for moving on to production environments further down the road.

Fenergo clients are seeing the disaster recovery side of the cloud has been highly desirable, where it’s really the perfect use case for it, where you have a cloud formation template or Infrastructure-as-Service available to you in the cloud, so that if you find yourself in a disaster recovery scenario, that you can very quickly spin up in the cloud.

Infrastructure is therefore far more flexible in the cloud. Users only pay for what they are actually using.

And so it really is that the perfect business case, and we’re seeing more and more companies adopt it

Cloud infrastructure: The CTO viewpoint

We recently chatted with the CTO at a Fenergo client organization – a tier-one global bank – to understand the internal viewpoint on cloud infrastructure at the financial institution side.

He said FIs need to understand business models on their own merits to determine the kind of setup they might have in a cloud infrastructure.

“In a financial institution, unlike a software vendor, you’re delivering multiple products that all do different things, maybe created differently, may have different needs around storage, or computing, or user experience or what they may be, so each of those needs to be reviewed on their own merits,” he says. “We’re reviewing different use cases, we’re trying to determine which parts of the cloud can be leveraged and their capabilities.”

Our customer adds that another part of a cloud infrastructure that is important to a financial institution is how they work with their partners – the vendors that provide them with software.

“They may be in the cloud and their software development life cycles are managed there, as is their delivery of software and operation of production services,” he adds “This is delivered to us either as a service or as a platform or whatever that may be. In addition, a financial institution can advance by not just doing it all themselves – find good partners that are willing to work with you to put the capabilities that are important for your clients.”