NAB brings Google into multi-cloud fold

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NAB brings Google into multi-cloud fold

Eyes data services, Anthos.

NAB is formally adding Google as an option in its ongoing multi-cloud transformation, with specific use cases in mind around data analytics and Kubernetes.

The move into Google cloud platform has been on the cards for a number of months; iTnews revealed in July that NAB was one of two large banks to meet with Kubernetes expert Kelsey Hightower when he visited Australia.

NAB chief architect Sergei Komarov also indicated at the end of last year that the bank wanted to achieve code-level portability, being able to "avoid having to rewrite a substantial amount of business logic or data transformation code in order to enable it to run in alternate cloud provider infrastructure."

There isn’t much indication that the bank wants to use Google cloud platform in the same way it uses AWS, as infrastructure-as-a-service, though having it as an option “avoids concentration risk which is an important regulatory and risk consideration,” NAB chief technology and operations officer Patrick Wright said.

Instead, NAB has identified three main intended use cases for Google cloud platform: “data analytics, machine learning and container management”.

The bank could also add a fourth: workload management across its growing multi-cloud environment.

“Investment in data is a critical element of our digital transformation – to be able to use data to develop products and services to improve customer experiences and be able to anticipate their needs,” Wright said.

That will see NAB use Google cloud APIs as part of its NAB Discovery Cloud and Data Hub (data lake) at some point “in the future”.

NAB is presently refreshing its data strategy. Its most recent data architectural diagram does not make mention of a data analytics role for Google, though it was presented at a rival cloud provider’s conference, and the bank made it clear that new tools were being incorporated, without being specific at the time.

“I’m always impressed by Google’s capabilities in data,” Wright said in recorded comments released this morning.

“I think when you talk about each of the relative strengths, the Google team really gets data. It’s their core business - the search business that made Google famous - and data is their expertise. 

“And because the Google cloud platform was built on their core technology of data, what you get when you do business with Google is the very best data scientists and the capabilities in the world.”

Wright is also hoping to use Google cloud as a place to incorporate more open source into NAB’s environment, or at least experiment with it.

“I actually really like their approach to open source,” Wright said.

“They lead across all the providers in open standards and open systems. 

“They created Kubernetes, which is a fantastic ecosystem, [and] now they’ve turned it over to the world, but you get something from Google that likely will work elsewhere.”

NAB also flagged some future exploration of Anthos, a hybrid cloud solution that, among other features, allows users to manage workloads running on rival clouds like AWS and Azure.

Anthos has other Australian banking interest from the likes of Macquarie Bank.

“Google’s history of embracing open source technology enhances our ability to orchestrate infrastructure effectively across multi-cloud environments, and their software-based platform, Anthos, is a unique solution that we’ll explore further over time,” Wright added.

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