May 18, 2011

Speed-to-market beats all the other benefits of cloud computing, according to executives from BNY Mellon, Barclays Capital and Knight Capital Group who were speaking at the Wall Street & Technology Capital Markets Cloud Symposium.

While executives noted that cost savings and the ability to scale up and down are attractive cloud propositions, they were swayed to move to the cloud primarily by the desire -- and ability -- to push products to the market much more quickly.

Traditionally, IT server provisioning takes 6-8 weeks, they noted. But the cloud enables them to speed up the process to a matter of hours.

Many firms have started using cloud architectures for users who require massive computing needs such as advanced analytics. Peter N. Johnson, chief technology officer, BNY Mellon, noted that deploying analytics in the cloud enabled allowed BNY Mellon to cut provisioning from months or weeks to a few hours, "or sometimes even less."

"At BNY Mellon, we're focused on infrastructure as a service. There's money to be saved and you will save on automation. But our real focus is on time-to-market from a development perspective," Johnson said at the event on May 17.

David King, head of production platform engineering, Barclays Capital, agreed that when he first looked at cloud services, the main issue for his firm was time to market. "We are now running a large infrastructure-as-a-service offering which is a very big thing for us. We were really trying to save on the time to market issue."

Speed to market is one benefit that will sway even the most reluctant developers that cloud is the way to go, said Steven Sadoff, executive vice president, chief information officer, at Knight Capital.

"It is a paradigm shift for developers. Once they get hold of that, once they get it and see the tremendous benefits," he said, there's no turning back.

Meanwhile, security was a recurring concern raised during the course of the Cloud Symposium, which came just days after a recent data breach at Sony was found to have compromised 100 million accounts.

Still, most executives said they did not see any security issues with the private cloud - which is the preferred solution for financial firms -- as opposed to the public cloud. In fact, the [private] cloud can be more secure than companies' internal controls, BNY Mellon's Johnson noted.

"The idea that no one can do security like we can is a fallacy," he said, adding that firms should look to virtual private clouds as more secure than running applications internally.

Melanie Rodier has worked as a print and broadcast journalist for over 10 years, covering business and finance, general news, and film trade news. Prior to joining Wall Street & Technology in ...