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Modernising Cloud Based Banking Architectures

With a decade-plus of cloud-based services now under our belt, the technology has understandably evolved over time from lift and shift of applications to the cloud to cloud native deployments. 

The development of modern cloud technologies such as containers, microservice architectures and orchestration have all had implications relative to storage, computation, and cost - and that’s not to mention a model based approach to application development, also known as low-code. 

To achieve effective digital transformation, here’s what you should consider about modernising cloud based banking architectures. 

Microservice architectures

The combination of containers and serverless computing in the 2010s has driven the next generation of cloud software to support seamless, cross-channel interaction, infinite scale, and continuous upgrades. 

Essentially, containers encapsulate an application as a single bundle and other related binaries, libraries, configuration files, and any dependencies that are required for its execution. 

Today, containers enable what have become termed "microservices" as they allow developers to package applications with their key components while leveraging the host for core capabilities like the operating system. These packages, also known as images, allow applications to be delivered in an agile and resource-minimal fashion, reducing the size of applications and increasing speed, reducing the waste often experienced in legacy Virtual Machine (VM) architectures. 

In combining containers and microservices into a singular architecture, financial services organisations can essentially structure applications as a collection of self-contained services that are distributed across a network environment. However, established enterprises looking to adopt microservices must carefully strategise as to how they integrate such an approach with their existing legacy systems and established processes.

Driving Orchestration

Setting up a microservice architecture adds complexity that is challenging for a container on its own. This makes orchestration capabilities key to delivering high availability. Orchestration allows a platform to run containers across multiple machines, scale up and down with demand, maintain consistency across instances, distribute load between containers, and provide redundancy. 

Today, the Kubernetes standard is the leading orchestration system and when combined with Helm charts - a collection of files that describe a related set of Kubernetes resources - allows financial services IT managers to develop application as a service (AaaS) components and manage these applications independently. In contrast to service-oriented architectures, an AaaS architecture enables each service to leverage its own application services and API gateway. This provides independence and less interdependence on other computing resources as a result.

A single model based approach 

Ultimately, all the above should form part of the technology stack that enables financial services organisations to build towards a singular “model-based” approach to application development and deployment. A robust low-code development platform, focused on case- and process-centric applications can provide an environment that ensures all models that make up an application are uniformly built, managed, deployed, and monitored to ensure cohesion and compatibility.

“Model-based” or “low-code” application development provides outstanding productivity and collaboration between the business and technology teams. Built either on top of an on-prem or cloud based service platform, whether an application capability is considered to be part of Intelligent Automation (also known as Digital Process Automation or DPA), business process management (BPM), Data Capture and Management or other functions, models can be mixed and customized to meet the needs of the enterprise. This then makes sure that applications behave the same regardless of underlying architecture.  

Today, low-code platforms also deliver visual definition of application components at a level higher, less technical, and closer to business semantics. This makes it easier for the wider business to get involved in the development of the application and enables IT departments to effectively communicate with the business and development to get a production-ready application fast. It means more focus on key steps and the ultimate outcomes that are needed to drive value. Unlike code, the visual models are accessible to both technology and business staff, providing a common platform for communication. Like code, models can be shared, versioned, and used in an agile development process.

Combined, low-code application development and modernised cloud-based banking architecture can help deliver the digital transformation banks need to stay ahead of their game. 

So why not move them both forward together in symphony?

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Steve Morgan

Steve Morgan

Banking Industry Market Lead

Pegasystems

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04 Sep 2019

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This post is from a series of posts in the group:

Banking Architecture

A community for discussing the latest happenings in banking IT. Credit Crunch impacting Risk Systems overall, revamp of mortgage backed securities, payment transformations, include business, technology, data and systems architecture capturing IT trends, 'what to dos?' concerning design of systems.


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