Digital transformation in financial services without breaking the bank

By Gordon Tillmore

Like many organizations, financial services companies identify digital transformation as a top business priority. But their journey may be more complicated, as their infrastructures are often a blend of legacy platforms and processes, with core software built on proprietary vendors’ technology, and app development practices still tied – at least to some extent – to waterfall methodologies. 

Financial services firms are facing real challenges that, while somewhat germane to all companies on a digitization journey, may be hitting them a little harder. For example, the cost of long-term contracts with proprietary software vendors continues to increase, while limiting their flexibility to accommodate ever-evolving market demands. 

Because of the costs of these commodity infrastructure and application architectures – which, by the way, rarely drive competitive differentiation – we’ve observed an increase in agile procurement as a means to alleviate these issues.

Cloud-native technologies, along with DevOps, are additional considerations that can help reduce the time to deliver applications. With the realization of cloud computing benefits, data centre capacity and capability has become more elastic, scaling across private and public clouds as needed.  But how else can they save money and significantly increase their investments in digital transformation?

FSI data from the recent State of Enterprise Open Source Report reveals, 93% of financial services organizations believe that open source technologies are strategically important for current and future plans. Many of these enterprises recognize that adopting containers and microservices, using an enterprise Linux platform, makes it possible to get cloud-native – and revenue-producing – apps to market faster. Plus, these workloads are often less expensive to create and maintain.

Getting over the big hurdle

The migration of workloads to open source architectures can be intimidating, given that there may be tens of thousands of virtual machines (VMs) in operation. Indeed, they must be analysed to determine whether they can and should be “lifted and shifted” to less expensive platforms, refactored and perhaps containerized, or left alone in their current state. 

The prospect of such extensive analysis traditionally has been a huge barrier to entry, but that’s changing. Red Hat’s Migration Analytics service, for instance, makes it easy and seamless for banks to discover what’s in their environments. It provides summaries of how easy or difficult it might be to move VMs, or perform other app or container migrations, to an enterprise Linux platform to reduce operational complexity and costs. 

Once migration targets are prioritized, using a variety of online migration tools, such as Application Migration Toolkit (AMT), Infrastructure Migration (IMS), and Cluster Application Migration (CAM), as well as Consulting services, allow for mass workload migrations. This frees up money to reinvest in transformative technologies such as multi-cloud management, automation, containers and application modernization – the touchpoints of a digital organization. 

To craft a plan for long term success, a number of specific technical considerations should be examined with a broader goal of cataloguing all of your VMs, defining migration priorities, jointly moving target workloads, and ultimately, empoering your team for migration at scale.

Gordon Tillmore is senior principal product marketing manager of Red Hat

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