back to article Banks bid legacy tech farewell as they sail to the cloud – but now all that infrastructure is in hands of the big three

Shifting financial services to the public cloud risks creating an over-reliance on the "dominant" service providers, banking heads told MPs yesterday during an inquiry into IT outages in the sector. Speaking to the influential Treasury Select Committee, Graham Bastin, head of operational resilience at Barclays, said the …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And from yesterday;s news, an unsecured hotel bookings db stumbled upon in the cloud... and in last week's news...

  2. Warm Braw Silver badge

    Single company dependence

    It appears that we already have single COUNTRY dependence for cloud services. I'm not sure resilience is enhanced by having everything under the control of one, presently sanctions-happy, regime.

  3. terrythetech
    WTF?

    They are going to store my money in the cloud‽

    Time to start stuffing it in the mattress!

    1. Archtech Silver badge

      Re: They are going to store my money in the cloud‽

      "Time to start stuffing it in the mattress!"

      Gold and silver, that is. Or perhaps somewhere a little less obvious.

      Gold as a store of value for substantial sums; silver for spending money.

      1. MonkeyCee

        Re: They are going to store my money in the cloud‽

        Bah, I prefer Lego or Playmobil.

        https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3291456

        "They are going to store my money in the cloud"

        Safety deposit boxes are going to still be real world.

        Oh you mean your bank account? That's not your money, that's a debt the bank owes you. The ledger being on the cloud rather than a piece of vellum is probably safer, but if the bank folds, you're relying on deposit insurance.

  4. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Facepalm

    "The number of IT failures at banks and other financial institutions in recent years is astonishing"

    It is indeed. But, instead of creating one gigantic Single Point Of Failure by putting confidential financial data into The Cloud (TM), they could have shored up their IT by not putting muppets at their heads and getting competent people to . . oh, I forgot, competent people cost money and the muppets are friends who have been promised good things.

    Well, looking forward to the inevitable headline : AWS goes down, London is paralyzed.

    1. Tom 38 Silver badge

      AWS goes down

      "AWS" goes down? All the AZs in all regions all at the same time? Hundreds of DCs simultaneously lose power?

      Where do you think this compute load was running before? Why do you think cloud is more of a SPOF than running your own DC or two?

      There is a load of shite talked about cloud, mostly by the "cloud! cloud! cloud!" pushers, but almost as much from the "cloud is just a huge SPOF" and "cloud just means other peoples computers" crowd.

      1. DontFeedTheTrolls Silver badge

        "The Cloud" has the potential to provide substantially more resilience than any single company on a similar economic scale, you just need to design your services to leverage The Cloud properly.

        And there in lies the problem. The "resilience" that was previously provided as a hidden technology service within a company is now in the hands of the business, and if they don't put all that nasty monitoring and load balancing and availability in place then things are going to break. Cloud can be cheap if you want a Minimum Viable Product. But you're going to pay (just like on premise) to have something that will weather the worst of storms.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          But you're going to pay (just like on premise) to have something that will weather the worst of storms.

          Plus some more because the cloud operators are running businesses and hence will be adding their margin.

          What would be interesting is what cloud is doing to companies VAT returns. Previously, with internal IT, VAT would only be charged on purchases, not no staff etc. Outsource to cloud and VAT will be charged on everything.

  5. Archtech Silver badge

    Economical with the truth

    "Lundberg said the firm has now migrated its European platform to one at a global level, which he said has higher resilience".

    On general principles, that would seem to be the exact opposite of the truth. As every other comment so far has pointed out.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Personally I'm not buying this talk of a "backup" away from the cloud. These are the same clowns that couldn't back up their own financials and they're banks. Besides, the sheer volume of data and transactions would mean a 1-1 live backup with the cloud removing any cost savings making it a cost and based on how long they have been running legacy systems I just can't see them doing it.

    1. DontFeedTheTrolls Silver badge
      Boffin

      At least one IS doing it, with multiple independent private links supplied by different carriers between several of the big cloud providers.

      No, it isn't cheap, but it is recognised as critical for the relatively noddy services they are considering deploying in a hosted environment. Core banking is not going to the cloud just yet however.

  7. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    What is cloud?

    Cloud can mean one of two things. Firstly it just means running a workload on someone else's computer. Secondly, it could be using someone else's instance of a piece of software.

    In both cases, using a cloud service doesn't mean that your service is now more secure that it was when it was on prem.

    Cloud is not a universal cure-all. In the right circumstances, it has its place in your IT portfolio.

  8. julian_n

    Hmmmm - with the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act, or CLOUD Act for short, Uncle Sam must be rubbing his hands with glee at all that possible extra information . . . after all the "Big Three" are all American.

  9. Caff

    Legacy systems

    I can see those "new" IT systems been legacy in 10 years time. Bank IT goes in cycles, big spend for a few years then cost cutting and decline, let go of staff who know how everything works and then a great panic a decade later because it costs too much to migrate it all.

  10. mikepren

    I wonder what bit they have migrated to the cloud. Have they moved their core systems of the m/f yet

    1. Caff

      Could be IBM zcloud

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How do they expect to make it more resilient in the 'cloud' if they can't do it in their own data centre? Resilience in the cloud requires your software to be resilient, handling failure, so if it is, why didn't it work in their data centres?

    If it isn't, how is moving out going to do anything, they will have to rewrite it, then if they are doing that, why move it to the 'cloud' they have fixed the reason for the move.

  12. fredesmite
    Mushroom

    Remember - Cloud computing

    Is nothing more than putting your crap on someone else's computer that other people are using , and expecting the owners to care more about it than you do..

    No wonder nothing works anymore. You can't find anyone responsible for anything.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In my experience.

    If you can't control your own IT, you have no hope of controlling the IT supplier.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Remember when...

    Bank IT was stable and just worked? You know the days of tightly coded, and tested jobs running on a m/f with terminal access, ah the joys.

    But now we must migrate from "Legacy" and hire some Java and PHP numpties to create "glorious" and "modern" web frontends [and backends apparently].

    Disclosure: I'm ex-Unisys, and also saw the horrors at another firm when they moved away from their IBM 3135

    1. HmmmYes

      Re: Remember when...

      Thats the spin.

      However, it was all written by IBM - despite what banks development team tell you - and was limited in functionality and cost a fortune.

  15. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Weakest link of any cloud provider = their internet (copper/fiber/whatever) backbone going in and out of their data centre.

    So... if you want to inconvenience a couple of companies, just pop the backbone (using a backhoe or something like that) and lots of people will run around screaming.

    Greater success can be had by co-ordinating this kind of nefarious activity at other data centers.

    Oops, I'm now on a watchlist, am I? >dons tinfoil hat<

    1. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Until bits get magically transported from one CPU to the next, however you provide your services is at risk of having their connectivity removed, whether that's cloud or on-prem.

      If your service is mission critical, you should have it in multiple regions and availability zones - each which has multiple independent power, cooling and backhaul and be physically separated - and design your applications and data storage around not relying on any one region/AZ being up.

      "Cloud" is more than running your programs on other people's computers.

  16. HmmmYes

    I dont see how increasing the latency/transmission time between the application gui and the disk/cpu backend is really going to make a more reliable system.

    Putting aside replication and the like, having a box sat in the banks DC room is no more unreliable than having the box sat in Amazons DC .In fact, probably less so as you have OpenReach and a man in digger doing road works.

    Now the Cloud do allow you to hedge your man inthe digger a bit, allowing both increased capacity - more grunt - and increased geographic location hedging.

    But that comes with with a price tag of something more C suite dont graps - you now have to write a distributed transnational system. See, a big IBM lump of iron may have been expensive, may have cost more per TFLOP than a lorry load of PCs ... but it works! Reliably!

    Its not the hadrware, or where the hardware is located - ITS THE FUCKING SOFTWARE.

    And, no, .Net does not really work. Yes, I know the nice man with PWC, who has a direct line to MS, said different thigns but he really is lying.

    1. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

      Well said! It is such things that can make or break a system - and if you add more resilience and go-faster stripes, you start to pay more...

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