Western Union Working To Migrate Its Mainframe to the Cloud

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Modern technology often brings new and advanced solutions for our problems — although sometimes, it takes a while before such solutions can be implemented. Western Union VP head of technology transformation recently revealed that the company is attempting to move its mainframe to the cloud, and discussed the difficulties and challenges met along the way.

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According to Veena Dandapani, Western Union’s VP head of technology transformation, a lot of financial institutions are in the process of moving their mainframes to the cloud, and Western Union itself is no different.

Dandapani notes that most institutions still use systems from the 1960s, and they all have dated COBOL codes, which are millions upon millions of lines of code. With the development of cloud technology, financial services and other industries also got to experience a new technology that could significantly improve the speed and quality of their services.

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Western Union Migrates to the Cloud

However, the process of moving the entire mainframe of Western Union, which is currently active in 200 countries and which works with around 130 different currencies is a difficult one. There is a learning curve to it, and it is a rather complex process. The fact that Western Union is a very complex, international, cross-currency organization itself, also does not help simplify things.

Dandapani also points out various issues from the regulatory perspective, such as the necessity to have an exit strategy for the cloud. The current regulations require an exit strategy, which could come in the form of another cloud or another data center. Then, there is the issue of Western Union being an international organization, meaning that it needs to satisfy the regulatory requirements of each of the 200 countries in which it operates.

Dandapani gave several examples of different countries’ requirements, stating that Russian regulations require all the data to reside in Russia. Japan, on the other hand, requires all cloud transactions to remain within Japan. The Philippines are another example where regulations are rather specific, and the country does not allow the use of cloud technology unless the service utilizes a hybrid model.

No two countries are the same in terms of how data is to be secured, where it resides, and other similar matters — and there are countless variations of these requirements. As a result, Western Union has decided to resolve the situation by tapping into a hybrid, multi-cloud strategy.

Could Blockchain Technology Be a Better Solution?

With blockchain technology still being the hot topic of the tech industry, it is hardly surprising that it was considered by a company as large as Western Union. However, according to Dandapani, the biggest issue with using blockchain lies in the fact that it is still not regulated.

Blockchain networks allow for the use of smart contracts and cryptocurrencies. They are also distributed and decentralized to increase transparency and security. But, until the proper regulatory bodies create legislation that supports blockchain systems, they cannot be implemented. The real problem comes with the inability to govern them properly. Simply put, there is a lot of hype around the technology, but it still lacks a fully-backed use case that organizations like Western Union can truly rely on.

Of course, Dandapani admits that this is likely not going to be the case forever. Once these problems are resolved, blockchain technology will impact nearly all organizations around the world. Some might implement it, and be affected by it directly — others could simply get involved with it by becoming a part of its network.

What do you think about Western Union’s new plans? Do you think that a multi-cloud solution is better than the blockchain? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter.

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