RBA to embark on infrastructure overhaul

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RBA to embark on infrastructure overhaul

Looks to take advantage of cloud, containerisation.

The Reserve Bank of Australia is gearing up for a major refresh of its banking technology infrastructure, revealing plans to stand up a cloud-based infrastructure platform and uplift its applications.

The central bank unveiled the planned transformation this week to improve the resilience of its core banking services over the next two years, while reducing complexity and driving down costs.

The program of work is expected to involve consolidating and re-platforming end-of-life infrastructure, resulting in “less on-premise infrastructure to maintain... as a result of leveraging cloud and containerisation”.

It is expected to apply to “all BK [RBA Banking] infrastructure”, bar the New Payments Platform, API gateway, IBM Sterling B2B integrator, and all third-party and direct connectivity with customers.

“The bank is looking to replace and modernise the banking technology infrastructure components that are facing obsolescence,” the RBA said in a request for proposal for a systems integrator.

“The new platform should utilise software containers and appropriate practices to support modern and efficient software application management to not result in any production downtime.

“Ultimately, the aim is to improve the resilience of the bank’s core banking services, simplify architecture where possible, improve scalability and reduce maintenance and operational overhead.

“This may include, where appropriate, adopting secure and reliable cloud services in line with the bank’s enterprise infrastructure strategy.”

Documents reveal that existing infrastructure is “primarily [a] virtual machine-based technology stack”, making scalability difficult and maintenance “complex and expensive”.

The bank also suffers from a lack of “automation for release, deployment and maintenance” and “capability to support zero down time maintenance and releases”, among other issues.

But with the infrastructure providing banking services to more than 90 federal government agencies, there is a need to ensure uptime of greater than 99.995 percent for all systems.

Some services also “experienced an increase in usage in 2020”, the RBA said without specifically mentioning the subsidy programs established by the government in response to the pandemic.

As such, the RBA is look for “highly scalable infrastructure” to ensure it's BK technology can “respond to increasing demand”.

It also plans to “move towards modern user authentication and authorisation such as OpenID Connect and OAuth2.1”, and support more artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities.  

The RBA said the systems integrator would need to provide design, implementation, testing and support/maintenance and handover services for four separate work packages using either an onshore or blended on/offshore model.

The “infrastructure replacement” package will involve the SI working with the RBA to replace infrastructure components nearing obsolescence with a new infrastructure platform.

The platform will be expected to “support modern, efficient application management using software containers, and to adopt a simplified, secure and reliable infrastructure architecture “.

“Both on-premises and cloud/hybrid options will need to be considered with the most cost effective and fit for purpose solution to be implemented,” documents state.

Other packages will involve uplifting “identified applications to support container mode and stateless high availability” and migrating databases and integration services to a common enterprise platform.

A design phase for the infrastructure replacement will kick off in March 2022 and span three months, with the build and deployment to follow between July 2022 and June 2023.

The RBA then expects to begin decommissioning existing infrastructure over the last six months of 2023.

The applications/service uplift, database migration and integration services migration will commence alongside the infrastructure replacement in March 2022 and run until September 2023.

Submissions to the RFP will close December 1.

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