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Cloud Computing in Finance with NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP: Case Studies

Driven by competition from born-in-the-cloud, innovative FinTech companies as well as by consumer demand for more efficient, customer-centric services, financial institutions around the globe are embracing the cloud.

But as a highly-regulated sector that handles some of our most sensitive personal information, financial companies need to carefully work with public cloud providers in order to effectively address security, governance, and compliance requirements.

This blog will look at some of the drivers and constraints that affect finance in the cloud and show several case studies where finance companies are meeting the challenge of the cloud by leveraging NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP.

The Finance Cloud: Challenges and Opportunities

As in many sectors, cloud computing in finance began with non-core business processes, such as human resources and admin systems. Today, however, we are seeing core processes such as credit risk management, payment transactions, and customer due diligence moving to the cloud.

The opportunities and emerging trends in financial services driving adoption of the cloud include:

  • Shortened time-to-market for new services through leveraging cloud-based, agile DevOps approaches.
  • Breaking down silos and achieving greater operational efficiency, at lower costs and with minimal CAPEX investments.
  • Conducting analytics in the cloud, for enhanced business intelligence, strategic planning, targeted marketing, and more.
  • Customer-facing web apps and portals that streamline self-service, provide efficient channels for promoting new products and services, and generally enhance customer satisfaction and engagement.

However, cloud computing in finance is not without its challenges. As already noted, the finance sector is subject to very strict data security requirements, which can include restrictions on geographic locations where their data resides as well as the need for full visibility at all times into where and how primary and secondary data sets are being stored and backed up. Cloud computing in banking is one example of a customer-facing area that demands such high levels of data protection.

What can they do to manage all that complexity? Many companies are turning to Cloud Volumes ONTAP as the data management solution for cloud computing in financial services.

Cloud Volumes ONTAP Success Stories in Finance

Cloud Volumes ONTAP is an enterprise-grade data storage management platform that runs as an instance on AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud. How are FinTech companies using Cloud Volumes ONTAP to benefit from the cloud? Let’s take a look at three successful case studies of cloud computing in financial services with NetApp’s help.

Multinational Insurance and Financial Services Provider: A Full Cloud Migration to Azure

This insurance and financial services provider serves over 26 million customers worldwide and has approximately one trillion Canadian dollars in assets under management and administration.

They started their journey on Azure in 2017. As their cloud adoption grew, they Enterprise Technology Services team realized they would need a centralized platform that would allow them to attain better control over their cloud data and its associated costs. They found that solution in Cloud Volumes ONTAP.

The company moved hundreds of TBs from Azure Files to Cloud Volumes ONTAP which now serves as a consolidated data platform for multiple use cases, including production workloads, cloud-based file sharing, DevOps, archiving, and disaster recovery.

Cloud Volumes ONTAP also enabled this company to optimize their cloud costs in several ways:

  • Storage efficiencies such as deduplication, compaction, compression, space-saving snapshots, and clones reduce Azure storage and associated costs.
  • Thin provisioning allows IT to service continuous requests for large storage capacities without actually acquiring and paying for the underlying cloud storage, only the capacity that’s used.
  • Data tiering optimized costs and performance by setting different policies, tiering log files, archives and disaster recovery environments to Azure Blob Storage to minimize costs.

Hedge Fund Division of US-Based Global Finance Company: Modelling Risk on Google Cloud

At the hedge fund division of one major investment bank headquartered in the US with global operations, risk analysis is a major concern. While the larger company is known for using automation and technology to assist trading across global financial markets, the technological requirements at the hedge fund division are based around its modeling technology that assesses risk for their clients.

The company wanted to leverage the elastic computing grid of Google Cloud. To do this, they had to mirror the entire existing data set and simulation from their data center to the cloud. To take advantage of the cloud bursting model elastic scaling, the company required a platform for NFS on Google Cloud that would be easy to use and able to scale up as needed, all while working seamlessly with their established application framework of automation. They found that solution in Cloud Volumes ONTAP for Google Cloud.

With Cloud Volumes ONTAP this company was able to achieve a number of key goals in the cloud:

  • Easily set up their new deployment through NetApp BlueXP Console drag-and-drop interface.
  • Replicated the entire on-premises data set to Google Cloud storage (and vice versa) with SnapMirror® data replication.
  • Used RESTful API calls on BlueXP Console to integrate their automation tools with the Google Cloud resources.
  • Reduced their overall storage spend to cost-effectively storage 80TB of data in the cloud.

Technology-Driven Stock Exchange: Moving App Development to AWS

The world’s first and largest electronic stock market is also a technology company that powers 70+ marketplaces around the globe, facilitating one out of every ten securities transactions that take place worldwide.

Their DevOps team sought to leverage the cloud for DevOps and dev/test activities. They also wanted a way to replicate data easily across a hybrid (on-premises/AWS) architecture.

After implementing multiple Cloud Volumes ONTAP HA pairs for AWS, their stock market technology and operations benefited from:

  • Seamless replication of their data to and from AWS using BlueXP Console for hybrid storage management.
  • Reduced storage spends due to Cloud Volumes ONTAP’s built-in storage efficiencies.
  • Instantaneous, cost-effective creation of dev/test volumes using FlexClone®. Volume cloning with FlexClone speeds up dev/test cycles by instantly creating full virtual copies of data volumes, no matter the size of the source volume.

Life Insurance Company: Highly Available Storage for Production Workloads and File Shares at Reduced Cost

This prominent American mutual life insurance company listed on the Fortune 500 offers a wide portfolio of insurance products and services, including disability, annuities, dental, and more. They have 8,000 employees and a national network of 3,000+ financial representatives.

While in the process of implementing a “cloud-first” strategy, which will ultimately lead to an “all-in” cloud infrastructure, this company is continually increasing their cloud footprint and aiming to achieve zero-second RPO. They have chosen Cloud Volumes ONTAP as their data management solution, reaping the following benefits:

  • High availability for their production SMB / CIFS applications in the cloud with Cloud Volumes ONTAP’s high availability configuration which provides RPO=0 and RTO of under 60 seconds.
  • Storage efficiencies have reduced their cloud spend, without compromising business continuity and DR requirements.
  • Seamless support for a multicloud storage architecture as they seek to avoid vendor lock-in and further strengthen their DR profile.

Diversified Financial Services Company: Rapid Deployment of SMB / CIFS File Sharing

This Cloud Volumes ONTAP customer is the largest provider in the US of commercial and residential mortgages as well as other offering other diversified financial services Following a corporate initiative to migrate to the cloud and selecting Azure as their provider, they sought a data storage management partner for feature enhancements that would accelerate their business.

The solution they devised with NetApp’s professional services team involved six Cloud Volumes ONTAP instances for Azure that gave them a number of benefits:

Financial Services Company: A DR Cloud Migration

This customer is a publicly traded, global insurance and financial services company headquartered in the USA, managing $1.366 trillion assets with ~49,000 employees and sales associates that serve institutional and private customers in more than 40 countries.

They were already using NetApp ONTAP as their enterprise data storage platform when they decided to adopt a “cloud-first” strategy based on a hybrid infrastructure. To do that, they turned to Cloud Volumes ONTAP, which allowed them to get all the same benefits of their existing system while leveraging the cloud’s economic benefits for lower DR costs.

  • Data migration with Cloud Volumes ONTAP helped them extend their on-prem data to the public cloud.
  • Seamless DR failover and failback with SnapMirror ensures data protection and business continuity in case of a disaster.

US-Based Finance and Banking Company: Keeping Data Immutable in the Cloud

With origins as a government-sponsored institution, today this company is a fully privatized bank that owns nearly one-fifth of the student debt across the United States. Offering more than 500 savings plans and operating across several states, this massive financial institution has annual revenues of ~$1.6 billion and employs 1,500 people nationwide.

The company had made a strategic decision to transition production workloads from their on-prem data center to the public cloud. However, they also needed to maintain a consistent data management where data could flow seamlessly between their on-prem and AWS public cloud storage resources.

The first task was to replicate more than 50 TB of production WORM (Write Once, Read Many) data to Amazon S3 object storage from their NetApp on-prem storage arrays. They were delighted to see that they could accomplish this quickly and securely using the NetApp Cloud Sync automated data synchronization service.

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As consumers, we all benefit from the agility, scalability, and flexibility of cloud computing in finance. There are enormous benefits that can be gained in the cloud: banking, insurance, financial services, and the rest of the financial industry don’t have to let regulations and concerns about data privacy be a barrier to gaining those advantages. As we’ve seen in these stories, NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP can help financial companies of all sizes get to the cloud and succeed there.

To find out more about how financial companies are navigating their way into the cloud, download our free guidebook on Cloud Migration Path for Finance Companies here.

eBook cover - The Cloud Migration Path for Financial Companies

Yifat Perry, Technical Content Manager

Technical Content Manager