The banking sector is overflowing with data. Everything from monitoring stock price fluctuations to developing new applications, to managing customer’s card transactions is generating new data. All of this data is being gathered, duplicated and stored in the extensive IT systems installed within banks and financial institutions. Many of these organisations are already investing billions in modernising their IT systems in order to meet the demands of this data deluge yet a large proportion of these projects have yet to truly take off, ending up over budget, behind schedule, or reduced in scope.
When one of the largest global banks was undertaking a significant modernisation project it estimated that it would require three months of work to convert each of its old Unix-based Oracle databases to Linux. The bank has 2,500 of these databases, so had planned for 625 work-years to complete the conversion, a ridiculous length of time for an organisations in any sector!
The biggest problem for these years-long, million-pound projects has been that the data itself is overwhelming the tired legacy systems already in place; the data has simply become too cumbersome and expensive to manage within them. These old systems are contributing to the numerous glitches which have been blighting our banks and causing extensive problems for their customers as they try to go about their lives.
So why are our banking and financial services organisations continuing to use old technology if it’s causing these problems?
CIOs facing this problem are stuck, they want to rebuild systems in order to take advantage of the benefits offered by public and private clouds, the explosion of mobile, services, and software-defined everything, which are becoming increasingly popular, yet the huge data sets they have to contend in the outdated IT systems are holding them back as, until recently, migrating the data to new environments has come with some significant problems:
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- Migration by Truck. Existing business-critical applications can’t go offline during the migration process, so there are inherently small windows of access available to the migration teams to convert, test and certify of the new architecture. Sheer size of data and the need to keep these applications running has given rise to the ineffectual practice of “migration by truck,” – literally moving servers physically to new target locations.
- Systems Retirement. Data is often required for regulatory purposes, making it difficult to retire old systems if only to have the data (and related applications) available in case of audits, for example. As a result, the expected cost savings of modernisation projects simply never appear, as the old architecture continues to demand a significant percentage of new budgets.
With these problems it almost sounds as if organisations have no choice but staying entrenched with legacy IT and continuing to grapple with the software glitches taking out banking systems. Thanks to new techniques such as data-virtualisation, there are ways to tackle this problem. CIO’s simply need to start putting their data first, making it more agile so they can finally reap the rewards of a modernised system.
In order to benefit from agile data it is imperative that organisations also unlock the data from the old systems trapping it in place, virtualising servers and databases is one way of doing this. By unlocking and virtualising the data it enables IT teams to update remote copies and make data available anywhere and everywhere it’s needed, taking up a fraction of the space. Unlocking data allows new systems to be created, in which data can be copied and converted, improving effective operations all without disrupting existing systems, something with organisations in the banking sector have struggled with historically.
A few years ago these techniques to help create agile data would have been difficult, but today they are not only possible, but already in use in organisations around the world.
Although virtualisation in databases and servers is relatively new, it’s already bringing astounding results giving organisations the potential to save billions of dollars and hundreds of work-years of time. By using virtualisation tools that same global bank stuck with a modernisation project of 625 work-years manage to reduced that time down to two weeks per database, eliminating 520 work-years from the project, which saved the bank $1 billion.
Most CIOs are already virtualising servers and now starting to understand the agility and mobility benefits of virtualising databases. By adopting these techniques for modernisation banks and other financial institutions are now able to free their data and even entire applications from the things that weigh them down, enabling them to reduce the risk of software glitches and support the next decade of their data needs .
Iain Chidgey – EMEA VP and GM Delphix
Iain Chidgey is the EMEA VP and General Manager of Delphix, a leading global provider of agile data management platform to enterprise companies all over the world. Prior to joining Delphix, Iain was VP and General Manager EMEA for ArcSight, a leading global provider of compliance and security management solutions. Iain was responsible for setting up ArcSight in EMEA in 2004, growing it to a multimillion dollar company which culminated in a successful IPO and subsequent acquisition by Hewlett Packard in 2010 for over $1.5 billion.
In his 20 years of experience in the IT Industry, Iain has held senior sales, consulting and technical roles for various high growth software organisations, including Portal and Oracle both in the EMEA and the US.