Macquarie Bank keeps options open with a multi-cloud tech stack

By the end of the 2022 financial year, Macquarie Bank aims to be completely cloud-agnostic.

Macquarie Bank has its sights set on operating 100% in the cloud by the end of March 2022, and it is nearly three quarters of the way there.

"We utilise multiple software-as-a-service platforms (SaaS) but for infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS), we run a multi-cloud architecture for resiliency, technology, and competition reasons," Macquarie Banking and Financial Services CIO Richard Heeley told ZDNet.

"By running multi-cloud for all IaaS and PaaS, we are always able to have choice in our technology stack. This means better outcomes for our customers."

The bank's migration to Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform started in 2016 and involved rebuilding its tech stack from scratch.

"We do not use 'lift and shift', and so each of our applications is re-designed to make use of cloud native technology," Heeley said. "The most obvious example of this is that we reduce all of our applications to a code level so that we can rebuild them whenever we choose. This increases our resilience but also reduces our obsolescence."

The result? Macquarie Bank's e-banking system, mobile banking applications, and service centres are now cloud-based.

At the same time, the bank has also created an open API banking architecture, which Heeley explained has reduced release times from eight hours to minutes.

"Every area of our retail business has undergone fundamental rebuilding of their application suites to make use of public cloud," Heeley said.

Read also: Macquarie Bank using tech to fix how it handles complaints

The new infrastructure is vastly different to what Macquarie Bank previously had in place.

"Traditionally, we had run our platforms on on-premises infrastructure. Where once we could stand-up applications in months, we now can do that in minutes with multi-cloud and we still retain the highest level of security. Speed is paramount in what we are trying to achieve and agility is at our core," Heeley said.

"The hyper-scaler's use of data centres, availability zones, and regions has allowed us to rethink resilience for our customers. We have been able to make use of that structure to greatly increase resilience while also dramatically increasing the cadence of delivery for our customers."

The other upside to the making this move, according to Heeley, is that the multi-cloud platform and systems architecture have enabled the bank to "move at speed and leverage the benefits of elasticity to scale up and scale down in line with the demand of business volumes".

"In terms of our engineering teams, we've seen an immediate transformation," he said. 

"When a team works through their cloud journey and then completes their migration to cloud, the speed of delivery improves dramatically as they utilise the tools and techniques of cloud. 

"Importantly, platform resilience also improves … ultimately, this means that we're able to get updates and new features to our clients much faster, improving their digital banking experience."

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