Asian banking players take on Red Hat tech in flight to cloud

Comes amid an acceleration of digital transformation efforts.

Malaysia’s Alliance Bank and the Philippines’ Asian Development Bank have turned to open source solutions provider Red Hat to help with their respective journeys to the cloud.  

The US based open source software player said that the two banks, among other financial institutions in the local region, have taken on its Ansible Automation Platform as their core automation platform in their journey to the cloud.  

Both the financial institutions explicitly named by Red Hat represent examples of early adopters of the infrastructure automation technology to support business growth while increasing resiliency and reliability, the company said.  

It is understood that the Asian Development Bank (ADB) was looking into deploying automation solutions that would improve operational efficiency and effectiveness by automating repetitive tasks.  

The bank, which uses a hybrid environment with workloads running on-premises virtualisation platforms, wanted to focus on the consistency of automation of on-prem, extending to the public cloud.  

According to Red Hat, the integration offered by open source technology, combined with the software provider’s procedures for developing code in a hybrid environment, was well-suited for the Asian Development Bank as it looked to use cloud as its primary source of infrastructure.

“ADB was looking into technological solutions to improve operations efficiency and effectiveness by automating repetitive tasks," said Krista Lozada, senior IT specialist (innovation & engineering), Asian Development Bank. "As we use both public and private clouds, we needed a solution that would allow us to provision our infrastructure like a tap – turn it on, higher, or off as needed.

“Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform allows us to build secure infrastructure that’s supported with automation. Ansible also gives us a common language, documentation and developer toolset to make the process more efficient.  

“Now, Ansible is our common language for orchestration in CI/CD [continuous integration/continuous delivery] for infrastructure as code. This ultimately frees up bandwidth for our people to innovate, and better focus on serving ADB’s members and partners in order to promote social and economic development,” Lozada added.

Alliance Bank Malaysia Berhad, meanwhile, wanted to automate manual tasks such as server configuration, patching and hardening in order to free up team bandwidth away from resource-heavy tasks.  

Starting with server hardening and patching, Alliance Bank then added disaster recovery (DR) automation to protect its core systems and build readiness as their hybrid cloud environment expanded.

Red Hat played its part by automating the DR process and creating a playbook to make this process repeatable and scalable. Red Hat claimed this has resulted in better uptime for Alliance Bank’s applications when DR processes are run.

“As Alliance Bank competes in a fast-moving and dynamic financial services marketplace, automation increasingly becomes an essential component of our cloud infrastructure,” said Ken Yong, head of the group transformation office at Alliance Bank Malaysia. “Red Hat OpenShift includes built-in automation capabilities that help our teams focus on creating and updating valuable services.  

"By expanding our automation capabilities, we can free up our resources to implement new processes and applications and to upscale.  

“This supports our overarching goal of delivering banking the 'Alliance Way': to be more empathetic to customers’ needs and deliver innovative digital solutions that are fast, simple, and responsive,” he added.

Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform and Red Hat OpenShift typically work together to create a scalable platform for transformation, the company noted.  

ADB and Alliance Bank are just two examples of financial services organisations in Southeast Asia that are deploying Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform to automate repetitive and manual tasks and orchestrate complex workflows, according to Red Hat.  

For Josep Garcia, Red Hat vice president and general manager for growth and emerging markets, this year has demonstrated that organisations need to accelerate their digital transformation efforts rather than pause them.

“A key part of this journey should be network automation, which allows users to manage policy, enforcement and processes at the domain level,” Garcia said. “Several financial organisations in ASEAN are deploying Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform to automate applications and IT infrastructure, while providing a simple language to help facilitate DevOps practices.  

“Automation allows organisations to architect intelligently with their existing infrastructure, while bringing legacy IT toward a cloud-native future,” he added.

In what will likely come as good news to Garcia, 2021 has indeed seen an acceleration of digital transformation efforts.

According to analyst firm Gartner, digital transformation efforts are being brought forward by at least five years as a result of the greater impact the pandemic-prompted remote work shift has wrought.

The analyst firm reckons that the lasting impact of remote work is resulting in a reassessment of the IT infrastructure that shifts enterprise IT buyers’ requirements to demand work-anywhere capabilities.

“Through 2024, organisations will be forced to bring forward digital business transformation plans by at least five years,” said Ranjit Atwal, senior research director at Gartner.

“Those plans will have to adapt to a post-COVID-19 world that involves permanently higher adoption of remote work and digital touchpoints.”