The Cloud pioneers

Cloud adoption is essential to our digital transformation.

We’ve long known that the Cloud would be vital to our growth. In 2018, we began a strategic, long-term partnership with Microsoft to implement our Cloud transformation strategy. We’ve decided to pursue a hybrid cloud set-up wherein a third of our applications will be hosted in on-premises private Cloud Solutions, a third in the Public Cloud, and a third remaining on our mainframe infrastructure.

Our Cloud team has identified more than 600 applications that could be migrated to the Cloud in our Investment Bank alone. And the Cloud isn’t just a platform for applications to migrate to – they can be born there as well. Here are just a few of the applications moving us forward in our Cloud journey.

UBS Neo is an award-winning platform built on the latest web technology. It’s a cross-asset digital banking platform that allows clients and staff to access a suite of products and services through one interface. But it was run by hundreds of servers across six data centers and nearly half of those servers are non-production, meaning we spent a lot of time patching, upgrading, replacing, procuring and decommissioning them. The costs associated with both the servers themselves and the people doing the maintenance meant the platform was expensive to run.

Aspire is a multi-asset-class platform that supports our Quantitative Investment Strategy (QIS) and Actively Managed Certificates (AMC) businesses. The businesses have seen significant and sustained growth in recent years, both in terms of client demand and product complexity. This has prompted our engineering teams to look for innovative ways to support the rapidly evolving business opportunities that are underpinned by the platform.

Unlike UBS Neo and Aspire, Aqua was built natively in the Cloud. In addition to Aqua, other products native to the Cloud were used to represent the Cloud’s potential for seamless scalability, resilience and maintainability. We had to rethink how we deliver software development and associated infrastructure and compliance for the cloud-native journey.

Migration pay-offs

By migrating platforms like UBS NEO and Aspire to the Cloud, we can reinvest cash and talent into enhanced business features, reduce our dependency on niche skills and accelerate growth from linear to exponential. Since migrating UBS Neo to the Cloud, we have seen setup time reduced, lower operating overheads and increased stability. Our ambition is to adopt modern deployment strategies that will allow us to eliminate the need for weekend releases and downtime due to patching. The ability to dynamically scale-down resources when they are not used will reduce infrastructure costs.

That said, we’re getting faster by taking things slowly. Migration is incremental so our clients, and even our partner teams, shouldn’t feel we’re migrating.

A future born in Cloud

We had already proven the ‘lift and shift’ model was possible by migrating the compute power for Rates Options risk calculations in 2016. For a next-generation, born-in-the-cloud risk and pricing platform, we set our sights higher and embraced the businesses aspiration to overhaul legacy risk management software stacks. We had to rethink how we deliver software development and associated infrastructure and compliance for the cloud native journey. We also needed to partner with core teams to enable new ways of working and to sustain the rapidly evolving controls framework.

With the pioneers laying the groundwork, our journey to the Cloud will only pick up speed. This year, the focus is on equipping teams with the skills they need to manage the journey and defining a standardized data strategy. By next year, we expect the process for onboarding new applications will be faster and seamless. By 2022, we aim to have migrated a third of our applications to the Cloud.