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ANZ Bank moves digital banking services to container platform

Australia’s largest bank now runs 30% of its internet banking services on Red Hat OpenShift in a move that has energised developers and paved the way for more automation

Australia’s ANZ Bank has started running its digital banking services on Red Hat OpenShift as part of efforts to modernise its IT systems.

Leigh Gibson, technology area lead for responsible banking at ANZ, said the legacy platform powering the bank’s digital services has been on extended support for over 12 years and was in need of an upgrade.

But when the bank assessed the upgrade path for the legacy platform, it realised that by the time the upgrade was completed, the foundational infrastructure of the platform would have to be upgraded 18 months later.

Gibson then approached her colleague Anton Clarke, ANZ’s tech area lead for enterprise, compute and cloud services, to leverage the bank’s container platform as a service that is being powered by Red Hat OpenShift.

The decision to go with Red Hat OpenShift was also driven by the recommendation of Infosys, the bank’s supplier of its Finacle core banking software.

“We had some services online and what we needed to do was a proof-of-concept [POC] to ensure that the size and the scale that we needed for internet banking could be met using Red Hat OpenShift,” Gibson said.

The POC was completed at the beginning of 2020 and in just over four months, ANZ had 30% of its internet banking services running on the new platform.

“Within about an hour of switching on the new services, we processed A$2.9bn worth of payments,” Gibson said. “And we had 45,000 customers, within about 30 minutes on the platform, actively transacting. We have definitely proven that the platform works and can work at scale.” 

Gibson said a significant percentage of services will go live very soon and that the bank hopes to complete the upgrade in the next few months.

“It’s been really useful for us to demonstrate the capabilities of an on-premise container platform,” she said, adding that there has been a lot of acceptance of its capabilities including its reliability and ease of use.

“Many teams seem to think that they can stand up their own Kubernetes platform, but I think it's nice to take something that's out of the box and leverage the expertise of Red Hat.”

The move to Red Hat OpenShift has also energised ANZ’s developers, especially recent graduates who have had to learn to code for a legacy platform. “Now they can work with a product that’s contemporary and we have more maturity now to leverage automation,” said Gibson.

She added that the bank is looking at automating more testing processes and has been embracing DevSecOps to ensure that security is at front and centre of its modernisation efforts.

Arvind Swami, director for financial services industry at Red Hat Asia-Pacific, said digital transformation efforts undertaken by banks such as ANZ will continue as they compete with new digital banking players across the region.

With some financial regulators in the region still assessing the financial viability of new market entrants in various digital banking regimes, Swami said traditional banks have a window of six to nine months to revamp their digital services.

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