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BNY Mellon’s NEXEN Drives Digital Transformation with Cloud Foundry

by Roger StrukhoffNovember 16, 2015
The open-source NEXEN platform now has 500 developers and more than 5,000 VMs deployed in a cloud environment that includes CF, OpenStack, and WSO2.
Why read this?
Use Case for Cloud Foundry:

Serve as a platform within an open-source, cloud environment in which better, more efficient ways of serving internal and external customers can be created.

Business or Technical Result:

DevOps culture being created, developers become much more efficient, and the user experience continues to improve.

Lessons learned:

The organization has had many years to learn what works and what does not work, as it started with a Java-based PaaS in 2001. Along the way people have learned to make REST APIs open to everyone, to be consistent with them, and to consider the monetization of the API.

What else is in the stack?

OpenStack, WSO2

Cool fact about deployment:

Even though this digital transformation initiative has 500 developers and reaches all the employees and clients of this very large organization, the core team that manages the infrastructure has only between 10 and 15 people.

Company Description:

BNY Mellon (Bank of New York Mellon Corp.) has revenues of more than $15 billion per year, with $27 trillion under management.

Cool fact about the company:

The company has its roots in the oldest bank in the United States, dating back to 1784.

(This use case is based on a presentation from the Cloud Foundry Summit in San Francisco in 2014, with updated information from the WSO2 Conference in San Francisco in November 2015 and additional sources.)

 

Background

BNY Mellon dates its roots to 1784 and is the oldest banking corporation in the United States. Today, it generates annual revenues of more than $15 billion and has $27 trillion—equivalent to one-fifth of the global economy—under management. More than 13,000 people work within its global enterprise IT staff.

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BNY Mellon has integrated Cloud Foundry into its IT infrastructure. As it seeks to digitize and transform its way of developing software and conducting business, it has created an open-source, cloud-based platform called NEXEN.

, former Managing Director and Global Head of Architecture and Engineering and , Managing Director, Enterprise Delivery Services and Architecture at BNY Mellon have spoken publicly about its use of the platform and how it’s benefitting the company.

NEXEN’s roots run deep. “We created a Java-based PaaS in 2001,” according to Swamy. “We then converted to open source in 2012, have built out an open architecture, and are now building DevOps capability into our organization.” BNY Mellon has EXP 100 applications running in its environment, with 10-15K users per day and millions of transactions.

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OpenStack is the other foundational technology in this use case; Swamy describes “infrastructure on OpenStack along with Cloud Foundry is a match made in heaven.”
 

Organizational transformation

But the business case for giving developers a machine in the cloud “is not good enough,” according to Swami. David Lewis also points out that the firm’s digitization strategy “is transforming the whole organization.”

David also notes that whereas in the past the company’s financial services drove the vision of the company, today it’s consumer businesses who are driving the technology.

Over time, the team at BNY Mellon have discovered many things about how it can and can’t run an infrastructure. Today, it has more than 5,000 VMs online, with a small team of 10 to 15 people running it.

Within this context, BNY Mellon’s NEXEN marks the biggest technological transformation in its history. NEXEN is designed to empower company clients to change the way they operate to be more flexible, efficient and fast. The platform also includes two applications—Digital Pulse and Digital Workplace—designed to provide data-driven insights to empower clients to make evidence-based decisions faster. Complementing the platform are new Innovation Centers in Silicon Valley, the New York area, London, and India.

BNY Mellon Graphic
Swamy says that the Silicon Valley center, in particular, is focused “not just on the technology, but on the whole organization. We want to transform how people work.”

He notes that agile programming, for example, “has been here for some time. Yet, development methodologies are (sometimes) still sitting in waterfall environments. With the cloud and IaaS, you can give developers an agile approach and the underlying infrastructure also built in an agile manner. This gives better value to the businesses we serve.”
 

Innovation to the fore

is Managing Director and Head of the BNY Mellon Innovation Center at Silicon Valley. In this role, he is building a team of software architects and engineers, and relationships with universities, startups, and the venture investment community.

He notes that NEXEN “is a collection of software and projects. It gives us an API store, analytics to assess what is happening, how it is going, and what we can do to accelerate it.”

“NEXEN is not just for geeks to deliver something,” Michael says. “It’s about how business accepts and adopts it. If you are not driving the people part of it, you are not going to accomplish the digital transformation.”

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APIs are critical to this ecosystem, and “we want to make sure there is a modern REST API available to the consumers,” Michael adds. The REST API is also intrinsic to developer productivity, allowing them to move as quickly as possible.

Additionally, API governance is very important and the BNY Mellon team ensures that the APIs they publish are consistent. “To a new developer who will be using API from BNY Mellon, we have to make sure that this API is rational, easy to consume, has documentation and a roadmap, that the data provided by the API is consistent with internal standards,” according to Michael.

“Making sure that the service team responsible for the API has a support model in place and that the monetization of the API is considered when it comes to promotion from the lab environment to the production environment” is also critical, he says. “Finally, we want to make sure that the API is ready and the team behind it is ready for globalization of the API.”
 

Lessons learned

In the course of the years, BNY Mellon has learned what works and what does not work when digitazing the organization.

In terms of people, such best practicies should be implemented:

  • Approach as a joint CTS / business change program with a strong sponsorship
  • Invest in “the best training and mentorship you can find”
  • Change the culture by addressing the breadth of change required at all levels of the organization
  • Use Agile as a method to promote empowered, self-organizing teams focused on services

Technological aspect should be treated as follows:

  • Architecture needs to be a first-class citizen
  • Agile is about teams of teams
  • Use end-to-end capabilities / services as an organizing paradigm
  • Promote reusable components

Reorganizing the process:

  • Start small and grow
  • Work closely with vendors to support Lean-Agile
  • Agile is not one thing. Connect the strategic dots
  • Change governance / control processes to support Agile
  • Adopt a bimodal approach approach (not everything is suitable for Agile)

 

Related videos

Here is a discussion of the project from Cloud Foundry Summit 2014:

Here is a short corporate piece about the project:

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