NAB private Cloud builds new paradigm: Part 3

Unchartered waters a challenge for core banking platform

The development of a greenfield private Cloud is facilitating NAB’s IT revolution, but compared with more traditional banking platforms the new technologies may not be without challenges.

Delays in transaction processing has left workers across Australia without pay after a the fault crashed its payments system. The bank issued a media statement on Friday April 15 saying it was working to rectify the matter.

The meltdown is the second in less than six months; in November last year the bank was struck with technical problems resulting in delayed transaction processing. A few weeks later CEO, Cameron Clyne, said the problem was related to batch processing systems and a combination of factors, including a software change dating back to 2001.

Clyne said the problems validated the decision to move to a new core banking platform, but NAB may not escape technical challenges so easily. Sources familiar with NAB’s operations told CIO Oracle’s new banking Cloud is essentially an “untested platform”.

There have been several issues with UBank to the extent of having to reboot the platforms to keep them running. That said, apparently the problems exist across NAB’s mainframe and Oracle environments, as evidenced by the recent outages.

With NAB’s outsourcing and offshoring activities, the problems may be more closely related to skills dilution than the technology itself, according to the source.

The are concerns offshoring to India and the recent IBM outsourcing deal have watered down in-house skills at the bank. It means problems that would have been caught are slipping through — including standard tasks relating to database administration and systems management.

In another sign support is overwhelmed, lower-order issues are being escalated “in order to get something done about them”.

Another source close to the bank told CIO Oracle Enterprise Linux is now more prevalent at the NAB than Red Hat Enterprise Linux, but no decision has been made on whether to use Oracle or Red Hat as the standard server platform.

[ Read Part I of NAB's private Cloud journey at CIO ]

[ Read Part II of NAB's private Cloud journey at CIO ]

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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