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In the cloud; busting the status quo, controlling the disruption

Divina Paredes | July 5, 2016
The cloud provides CIOs with the power to transform the organisation and compete with startups, says Glenn Gore, head of technology, Asia Pacific, at Amazon Web Services.

Raines talked about moving the NZDF "mature ERP" to AWS public cloud, and the challenges and opportunities around the shift.

"We had exposure to AWS in the past," he explains. Part of its HR team trained on ERP platform in the cloud.

"We removed all master data transactional data deemed sensitive, populated enough information to support the HR information and exported the whole thing to AWS," he explains.

"It was a technology leap of faith. We saw the benefits of that capability to leverage this change in the organisation."

Raines sums up the business case for the move to the cloud this way: "Being agile and responsive requires thinking and delivering on alternatives while reducing costs, addressing scalability and flexibility within a controlled environment."

Duncan Ritchie, chief platform officer at Xero, says among the main drivers for its shift to the cloud were "aggressive goals" around platform agility, reliability, performance, security and cost, as well as the move to a DevOps model.

He says Xero looked at a bunch of public cloud providers and decided AWS "offered high breadth of infrastructure offerings that suited our aspirations for agility and flexibility".

He says among the advantages they gained on the agility front, were reducing the time to provision servers from weeks to 20 minutes, and reducing the time to release new services from months to weeks.

The company has also moved from hand-built servers to automate builds.

"These changes simplified our troubleshooting, he says. "They made it easy for us to make consistent changes and have a better view of what has changed, so if we have issues we can see what has changed."

He says Xero is completing its migration to AWS in the next couple of months. The next step is optimisation of the cloud platform.

The move to AWS and DevOps model increases the rate of innovation within the Xero product team and drives them into new areas like machine learning, where teams can play with large sets of data cost effectively, says Ritchie.

For Michael Koziarski, vice president, architecture at Vend, the company's move to AWS was prompted by the realisation they were spending their time on "undifferentiated heavy lifting".

'We needed some CPU, but the provider could not provide a disk larger than one terabyte maximum or was offering an expensive option,'' he states.

When they presented the business case that the move to the cloud would save Vend up to 50 per cent on its current systems, what was seen as a technology project became a key corporate initiative, he states

The 200-year-old startup

Melissa MacFarlane, chief digital officer of Westpac, talks about how the cloud has allowed the bank to act like a "200-year-old startup".


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