Sony Bank is one of the first financial institutions to adopt the cloud that helped it reduce costs by up to 60%
Sony Bank, a member of the Sony Financial Group, provides high-quality financial services. With an IT strategy focused on the latest technology, the company became one of the first financial institutions in Japan to adopt Amazon Web Services (AWS). The bank began progressively migrating its general in-house business systems and peripheral banking systems at the end of 2013, and by late 2019, about 80% of all systems ran on AWS. The bank is now building a cloud-native core banking system that uses the abundant services of AWS for a full-scale release in fiscal 2022.
We adopted AWS because as an online bank, our services need to be fast. We've used AWS since 2013 and our high regard for AWS and our trust in them remains strong as ever. We're currently building a next-generation core banking system with cloud-native architecture for the fiscal 2022.”
Head of the Systems Planning Department, Systems Development Department and Systems Management Department, Executive Officer, Sony Bank
Adopting AWS for industry-leading initiatives such as active disclosure of security information
Launched in 2001, Sony Bank is an online bank and personal assets manager operating under the corporate philosophy of “Be fair.” Over its history, it has provided financial services such as foreign currency deposit, mortgage loan, investment trust, and debit card issuance.
As part of its process of pursuing business creativity in the financial industry, Sony Bank began considering using a cloud service in 2011. Proactive disclosure of security information such as compliance with Financial Industry Information Systems (FISC) safety standards, a wealth of advanced functions, and a shared responsibility model which clarifies its scope of responsibilities made AWS stand out from other vendors.
“Our fundamental policy is to be low cost, fast, and of high quality,” says Tatsuya Fukushima, Executive Officer of Sony Bank. “To develop the system for achieving this, we’ve used open technologies, shifting our mindset from creating to using/combining and from tightly coupled to loosely coupled. When we examined domestic and overseas cloud services as part of the development process, AWS was the best fit.”
Running around 80% of all systems on AWS reduces infrastructure costs by up to 60%
Sony Bank began migrating its systems to AWS in December 2013, completing the first phase in fall 2019 after progressively migrating general in-house business systems (file servers, digital workflows, groupware) and peripheral banking systems (risk management, managerial accounting, loan management) with little impact to customers.
The bank decided to adopt AWS for its financial accounting system—one of its core systems—at the end of 2017, completing the migration in October 2019.
In 2018, the bank made a decision to replace its virtual desktop infrastructure with Amazon WorkSpaces, launching the service with around 700 devices in its general business environment in April 2019. In 2020, around 1,000 more devices to be used for banking business environments at sales offices and developmental environments were transitioned to WorkSpaces, with their use progressively rolling out from July that year.
As of July 2020, about 80 percent of all Sony Bank systems run on AWS. As a result, infrastructure costs are up to 60 percent lower than an on-premises environment, with infrastructure procurement and development more than twice as fast.
“We've used AWS since 2013 because it not only provides benefits such as improved costs and lead times but higher availability as well,” says Fukushima. “Fault tolerance is especially good, offering Multi-Availability Zones (AZ) and multi-region support, and the mechanisms to ensure availability for elemental technologies are tremendously impressive. The maintenance workload is light, and we can operate our systems without interruption. Our high regard for AWS and our trust in them remains as strong as ever.”
Running on AWS has freed the Sony Bank infrastructure personnel from setting up servers, and they can now respond quickly to the demands of business departments. The cloud enables users to secure resources only when needed, which enables rapid provisioning of environments to develop and test applications for individual projects or initiatives. According to Fukushima, “Because we can develop new products, services, and initiatives to improve banking operations without the system becoming a bottleneck, we can more actively contribute to the needs of service departments.”
Opening of the Osaka Region cements the decision to migrate core banking system
Having started its cloud journey with AWS, Sony Bank decided to adopt AWS for its core banking system and all other systems at the end of 2019. The bank is now migrating its large-scale, mission-critical system, which comprises its core banking system and online banking systems.
“When we started using AWS, we expected to increase our scope of use gradually, including important banking operations, and our intention became even stronger when AWS established a second region in Japan,” says Fukushima. “In 2021, the AWS Osaka Local Region became a full region after opening three years earlier. We decided to migrate our core system in anticipation of improved availability and fault tolerance.”
The bank looks forward to more of the availability and security, sincere attitude to customer feedback and ability to act, and rapid AWS service development speed that it has already experienced.
Sony Bank is particularly confident of steady support from AWS. Says Fukushima, “They've solved our failures and technical inquiries promptly, so we have no hesitation about adopting AWS for our core systems. You receive high-quality help and an excellent response even at the general support level, and by choosing AWS Enterprise Support, you can contact Technical Account Managers to rapidly attend to failures and give operational advice, which is another major benefit.”
According to Fukushima, AWS also has third-party certifications and supports Q&As based on company risk checks to provide financial institutions with excellent advice for ensuring compliance with external audits and supervisory bodies.
Developing a system that uses cloud-native architecture
Sony Bank is making steady progress on its project to build its core system on AWS and aims to have the system up and running in fiscal 2022. The new system will improve development productivity with cloud-native architecture such as microservices, containers, and serverless computing. The bank aims to secure high availability by using various AWS services in the Tokyo and Osaka regions.
The bank will migrate its traditional commercial databases to Amazon Aurora PostgreSQL to ensure the availability, reliability, and performance required of a core banking system. It expects the migration will bring major cost reductions.
Although Sony Bank will have transitioned all its systems to AWS once the migration of its core system is complete, the bank's AWS cloud journey will continue.
“We're rebuilding all the systems we run on AWS with cloud-native architecture. The environment surrounding the financial industry is changing drastically, so we’re hoping to support new businesses through a strong partnership with AWS,” says Fukushima.
To learn more, visit Financial Services.
About Sony Bank Inc.
- Established: April 2, 2001
- Capital: 38.5 billion yen
- Business description: Banking (Online Banking)
Benefits of AWS
- Infrastructure construction costs reduced by up to 60%
- Infrastructure construction speed is over two times faster than on-premises environments
- The ability to develop and expand new services
- Core banking system is being developed on AWS for full release in fiscal 2022
- A new core banking system using cloud-native architecture
AWS Services Used
AWS Lambda is a serverless compute service that lets you run code without provisioning or managing servers, creating workload-aware cluster scaling logic, maintaining event integrations, or managing runtimes.
AWS CloudFormation gives you an easy way to model a collection of related AWS and third-party resources, provision them quickly and consistently, and manage them throughout their lifecycles, by treating infrastructure as code.
Amazon API Gateway
Amazon API Gateway is a fully managed service that makes it easy for developers to create, publish, maintain, monitor, and secure APIs at any scale.
Amazon WorkSpaces is a fully managed, persistent desktop virtualization service that enables your users to access the data, applications, and resources they need, anywhere, anytime, from any supported device.
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