Cloud Computing Makes Headway With Banks

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When a company like SunGard rolls out a series of products around cloud computing specifically targeting financial services firms, the industry takes notice and perhaps the hype doesn't seem so far fetched. However, while the vendor package might be more economical, banks are still looking to develop their own platforms.

The software vendor's latest venture is a fully managed "private cloud" service, through a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) system which allows firms to choose from five different components. This "pay as you go" mentality is aimed at appealing to banks' new-found frugality.

Cloud computing, you might remember, is where processing, storage, networking and applications are accessed as services over virtual rather than physical networks, whether that's public (via the Internet) or private (within a company's intranet). The talk over the last 12 months has been of it gaining traction in the financial services industry.

While it's easy to assume that financial services firms would readily accept the cheaper vendor option, and therefore not provide a great deal of work to techies in-house, this might not be the case.

"I believe that enterprises will spend more money building private cloud computing services over the next three years than buying services from cloud computing providers. But those investments will also make them better cloud computing customers in the future,'' Gartner analyst Thomas Bittman, told Securities Industry News.

But in terms of career options, cloud computing has yet to appear on banks' radars. The theory is that developers could soon need to understand how to build software that will run within a cloud environment - thus needing to add another feather to their bow.

However, Paul Elworthy, associate director in the IT and banking finance division of recruitment firm Hudson, says hiring managers are still reluctant to request these skills on job specs.

"But an understanding of the broader virtualization space is increasingly becoming a requirement, much more so now than 12 months ago," he says.

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