NAB cements multi-Cloud journey with Azure

Has already moved apps to the public cloud.

National Australia Bank (NAB) has signed a five-year strategic partnership to co-design, develop and invest in NAB and BNZ’s multi-cloud technology, with Microsoft.

The agreement will see NAB Group and Microsoft share development costs and resourcing investment to architect a multi-cloud ecosystem that will host 1,000 of the banks’ applications to Microsoft Azure as the primary cloud, while ensuring the same applications can be moved to or run across a secondary cloud if necessary.

Patrick Wright group executive technology and enterprise operations at NAB said the financial institution has already moved more than 800 applications to public cloud providers as part of its cloud first, multi-cloud strategy. NAB’s proportion of apps on public cloud will move from one third, to about 80 per cent by 2023.

“The needs of our customers haven’t changed, but their expectations of how we deliver a more personalised service has,” he said. “The investment we’ve made in technology to date has built a strong, cloud-first foundation that’s enabled colleagues to execute better and deliver much better experiences for our customers.”

According to Wright, the move to multi-cloud with Microsoft will “improve the resilience” of NAB and BNZ banking services and “reduce development timelines” for system changes and improvements, from “six weeks to as little as two days”.

Under the agreement NAB will be using Azure as its primary cloud for the next 1000 applications as it accelerates its innovation in banking and payments. Microsoft will also collaborate and co-innovate with NAB – creating compelling customer experiences and streamlining the bank’s own operations.

The vendor will also train 5,000 NAB and BNZ technologists as part of the NAB Cloud Guild program, ensuring NAB personnel are equipped with the skills for a successful future.

According to the technical team at NAB, there’s really no such thing as a ‘private cloud’.

They wrote, “there’s the public cloud and there’s managed hosting. Private cloud really just means managed internal hosting, where you lose many of the benefits of the public cloud.”

According to NAB, that people refer to as the ‘private cloud’ is not nearly as scalable, elastic or customisable as the public cloud.

“It leaves the operations teams securing the perimeter and maintaining the infrastructure — when they could be focused instead on innovating and delivering more for customers, while leveraging the world-class infrastructure and security public cloud providers have,” states NAB.

NAB’s journey to multi-cloud started a couple of years ago, according to a blog by NAB’s technical team.

Sergei Komarov chief architect at NAB wrote multi-Cloud is:

  • An investment into cloud-native implementations is ramping up, many large enterprises are resolving to tackle the question of multi-cloud adoption. Key concerns typically noted:
  • Avoiding concentration risk — i.e. ability to redistribute workloads across providers, initially or rebalancing in the future, meeting prudential regulators’ concerns around the dependence of our systems on a single provider
  • Retaining ability to utilise unique innovations from competing providers without migration that is too costly
  • Retaining possibility of commercial leverage and arbitrage for commodity services
  • Avoiding single vendor lock-in

He wrote, the “biggest challenge in multi-cloud is avoiding having to descend to the lowest common denominator (VMs or IaaS-only) and losing the benefits of higher-level PaaS services (cloud databases, object stores, functions, event queues, etc.).”

  • It was worth outlining different angles from which multi-cloud can be approached:
  • Code-level portability — avoiding having to rewrite substantial amount of business logic or data transformation code in order to enable it to run in alternate cloud provider infrastructure
  • IaaS portability — deployment and run concerns, from utilising provider-independent images and container configurations to networking (e.g. BYOIP), load-balancing and block storage
  • Control plane portability — the hardest of them all. Notably includes monitoring/APM, alerts and end-to-end tracing, Security & access management.












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