Commonwealth Bank commits to a cloud-powered future

The yellow and black bank's CEO has used his AWS keynote address to share the benefits of sending the majority of CBA's apps to the cloud.

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) first dabbled with the use of cloud in 2012 when it sent its 50%-owned stock broking business, CommSec, to Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Speaking as part of AWS Summit Online Australia and New Zealand, CEO Matt Comyn said CommSec has become a "really good use case" for the flexibility of cloud.

"If I just simply contrast the trading volumes through the GFC, where we were trading about 100,000 trades per day, and they were on our own data centres, and some of the difficulties that we had to be able to flex to that peak, and then contrast that during COVID, where it was broadly about four times that trading volume, it's a really good use case for the flexibility and power that you get from an AWS instance being able to spin up that extra capacity at short notice, and to be able to deal with a very significant peak in activity over that time," he said.

But it isn't just in trading that Comyn believes there can be benefits from cloud.

"As we look forward … it's now about getting many more of our core workloads onto the cloud, making sure that, for the applications that are really important to us -- where we think there's going to be a lot of change -- we want them to be running natively on the AWS experience and leveraging a lot of the capabilities and product innovation that [AWS is] building," the CEO said.

"And then, of course, leveraging with some of those other core workloads, some of the benefits that you get either from a lower marginal cost than we'd get from running our own data centres, but also just higher resilience and availability."

According to Comyn, equally important is "delivering a great engineering experience" for the bank's software engineers.

"They're able to spend their time building out and improving the products and services that we provide, rather than trying to set up infrastructure or environments for themselves," he continued.

Comyn said he meets fortnightly with the bank's "top engineers" to nut out what would make their lives easier and more productive.

The CEO in July said CBA was planning on sending the majority of its apps to the cloud. At the time, Comyn was pushing the idea of the yellow and black bank becoming the "best digital experience in Australia, bar none".

"A big part of what we think strategically is we want to reimagine the products and services that we provide to our customers," he added on Tuesday.

"So we very much see our cloud strategy as one that we want to see facilitate much greater velocity and innovation inside the Commonwealth Bank."

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