Why Bank of America is not using the public cloud

bank of america branch
Credit: Bank of America

Despite a massive IT transformation, the cloud still isn't in the cards


As Bank of America has undergone a massive transformation of its technical infrastructure during the past few years, there’s one emerging technology the financial firm is not using: IaaS public cloud.

In an interview with Bank of America CTO David Reilly I asked him if the bank uses the cloud in an organized, IT-driven manner. He basically said it’s not worth it. The bank has a big enough IT footprint that they don’t need to use the cloud.

+MORE AT NETWORK WORLD: Inside Bank of America’s IT Transformation +

Twice a year Reilly’s team does a benchmarking exercise that analyzes the company’s infrastructure inventory, the price paid for it and compares it to the current selling price. “When we benchmark the price points in the public cloud against what we’re able to provide internally – and we have years of benchmarking under our belt now – the economic delta’s just not there yet,” he says. “There’s no economic reason for us to move to the public cloud.”

It’s not purely an economic decision either. Reilly believes he can achieve the same, or close to the same, degree of flexibility and agility in his new software-defined, commodity-infrastructure powered greenfield IT environment compared to the public cloud. That internal environment has one other advantage too: “I don’t have to solve for the security questions,” that come with using the public cloud, he says, such as where data is stored, who has access to it, whether the bank will have access to capacity when needed. Reilly says there’s no impediment from bank regulators restricting a move to the cloud, so public cloud resources could certainly be used one day. But even when public cloud providers discount their services in exchange for long-term contracts, it’s still not worth it for BofA to use them.

Of course Bank of America is a fairly unique organization. The company spends $3 billion annually on its infrastructure technology and has 100,000 technology workers at the company. For organizations that don’t have that type of infrastructure scale, Reilly admits the cloud could be a good fit. 

Read more about Bank of America's IT Transformation here

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