The Infosys Labs research blog tracks trends in technology with a focus on applied research in Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

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May 29, 2019

Multi-cloud is the way for cloud adoption

The model of Multi-cloud is mix and matching the best-of-class application, solutions and services from more than one cloud infrastructure providers for creating the most suitable IT landscape for a business.  Deployment can make use of public, private clouds, or some combination of the two. Another aim of multi-cloud deployments is to offer redundancy in case of infrastructure failures and avoid vendor lock-in. In hybrid cloud model, organizations use a combination of public cloud, private cloud and on-premises services, wherein in multi-cloud model employs multiple cloud services from more than one provider. These approaches can coexist, example of an organization that uses a private cloud solution, an on-premises server and different public cloud solutions would have an IT strategy that is both multi-cloud and hybrid cloud.

There are few major drivers from technology as well as from business perspective for the advent of multi-cloud adoption. Avoiding vendor lock-in is key concern for many businesses, and the approach makes it easier to transfer between cloud service providers for pricing or differing capability choices. From performance optimization standpoint properly managed cloud architecture provides the organization freedom to seamlessly shift IT operations as needed. level of resiliency available with multi provider can minimize the risk and effectiveness of DDoS attacks. Improved reliability comes with failover solution of otherwise passive cloud as primary cloud falters processing a service request such as an e-commerce transaction. Also, multi-cloud model allows organizations to effectively track and analyze infrastructure expenditure and utilization and forecast future costs

But there are multiple challenges faced by the organization on the road towards adoption:

·         Getting enough visibility into application landscape with multitude of clusters running may become a challenge; leading to improper consolidation and prioritization of resources

·         Organizations want consistent security policies across all environments, which requires management of configurations and workloads appropriately based on compliance.

·         Managing workloads deployed across multiple disparate platforms creates need for real-time processing and orchestration of services and applications

·         Organizations may lack capabilities such as backing up applications, options for disaster recovery or workloads movement across environments

·         Organizations needs to adopt containerization to build applications that can easily move across environments without having integration difficulties

There are broadly five multi-cloud models conceived by various organizations. One, development in cloud A deployment in cloud B; most common and simplest approach as the name suggests and key factor being cost optimization by rationalization. Two, burst to cloud; services typically runs in on-premises environment, but during peak demand spins up additional capacity into the cloud with the goal of avoiding extra cost hardware procurement. Three, multi-cloud disaster recovery; in this model production application run in one cloud environment with maintaining separate copy instance running in another environment. Four, single application on multi-cloud; same instance of an services runs across cloud providers to keep critical applications better positioned against denial of service attacks. Five, cloud arbitrage; workloads may be dynamically placed in environment with the most cost competitiveness and with tools like kubernetes more enterprises might arbitraging some of the applications.

In a multi-cloud environment, each cloud will have different tools and approaches. Organizations need to set and standardize policies and aggregate information for consistent governance. Some key attributes which needs to be considered are providing centralized visibility, structuring cloud accounts, standardizing access, defining and implementing tagging, implementing cloud policies, automating cloud policies, implementing cost management, standardizing images/templates, implementing patching for update processes, ensuring monitoring and uptime, standardizing audit trails etc. All the above requirements give rise to need for effective multi-cloud management platform.

Finally, a multi-cloud management platform should cover areas such as: Ability to predict, track, understand, and optimize costs across used clouds; Service management for businesses are under pressure to provide services across environments; Comprehensive visibility of multi-cloud environments is vital for prioritizing fixes, performing audits, and business continuity; Ensuring the speed and performance of applications delivered to end users from complex multi-cloud environments; Automating orchestration of data, applications, and infrastructure across different cloud environments; Aligning the activities of security, operations, and development teams to maintain security and compliance.

May 23, 2019

Cloud Migration in Banking Industry

Cloud computing is the on-demand delivery of computing resources like processing power, data storage, applications, and other IT infrastructure through cloud platform via internet having pay-per-usage pricing model. Broadly cloud services can be classified under three categories service models (SaaS, PaaS, IaaS), deployment models (private cloud, public cloud, hybrid cloud, multi cloud), and cloud stack (facility, network, computer and storage, hypervisor, virtual machine, solution stack, applications, API/GUI). The major areas in cloud services across the industries are migration, security and privacy, regulatory adherence, cloud applications, cloud advisory, and testing.  With cloud migration gaining traction in banking industry in a major way.

According to marketsandmarkets survey cloud migration services market is expected to grow from USD 3.17 Billion in 2017 to USD 9.47 Billion by 2022, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 24.5%. Also, Gartner predicts by 2025, 80 % of organizations will migrate from on-premise infrastructure towards colocation, hosting and cloud. Major trends being containerizing applications, adoption of private cloud, cloud-to-edge processing, and a multi-cloud deployment strategy for organizational rollout.

Although there are multiple challenges faced by the organization on the road towards migration:

More than 56% CIOs claim the complexity of the exiting IT landscape can slow down migration for large organizations;  

Infrastructure-as-a-service( IaaS ) needs right mix of technological and people capabilities, as many as 44% of businesses experienced some kind of migration failure; 

Another big concern is estimation error, which can lead to heavy cost escalation, only 40% firms meet migration cost goals; 

Migrating the in-house security and privacy features and rules as-is to the Cloud is one of the major challenge faced by the businesses, as per IDCI, 74% of CIO's cite security as top challenge for cloud adoption;  

Connecting legacy systems with newer cloud-based applications is another challenge, solutions needs to operate hybrid environment, Forrester predicts more than 50% of enterprises will have at least one Cloud platform

But there are many opportunities as well for the cloud services providers. As per survey done by trustmarque 87% of CIOs plan to migrate applications and 70% IT leaders plan to migrate databases and infrastructure in the next 3-5 years. Managing software licensing is critical, multitude of software licensing agreements with different vendors and with shadow IT by individual business units buying software and services can give rise to major licensing issues. Also Re-architecting the application is vital as large number of the applications may not be compatible. refactoring process needs to be optimized for faster migration.

Major banks are considering hybrid model of operation where critical banking applications and processes will be migrated to private cloud, & non-critical applications to public cloud. Addressing security, cost as well as efficiency. Adoption of cloud solutions can enable banks to significantly cut IT infrastructure expenses, potentially helping the banking sector save up to US$15 billion by 2019. And cloud platforms will enable smooth digital collaboration and provide banks with the ability to partner or leverage innovations from FinTech cloud natives in this shared ecosystem.

Migration strategies of taken by the banks can be classified in below categories:

SaaS packaged solutions from vendors or service partners

Coud Native development via PaaS, Microservices, Containers and DevOps

Lifting existing applications to cloud via traditional migration methodologies

Re-architecture of applications and for making platform adaptable and cloud-ready

With major drivers for banks for cloud adoption remains cost factor for expense reduction, growth for expansion of infrastructure, agility of digital transformation, faster GTM, security assurance, and resilience of business continuity. Many industry players are already devising the implementation for cloud migrations of critical application and services. For example, DBS Bank is gradually introducing cloud to core banking platforms and applications; BBVA is targeting to build a cloud-based solution that is flexible, secure, and scalable; Metro Bank is moving core banking operations and digital offerings to bespoke cloud; Westpac is following a 'hybrid-PaaS', with aim of combining public and private cloud etc.

There is a huge opportunity in the cloud migration space for banking sector and early movers have already stared the adoption journey. So, for service integrators like Infosys possibilities are immense for multi-level collaboration and partnership around the cloud services ecosystem.