"Cloud has become the new normal." This was a fitting remark from Andy Jassy, Senior Vice President of Amazon Web Services, during the opening keynote at the 2015 AWS re:Invent conference. His statement captures both the evolutionary and the revolutionary trends behind the growth of cloud computing over the last few years.
On the one hand, it summarises well the evolutionary progress of businesses completely ditching privately run data centres and moving 'all-in' to public cloud computing providers. Or as Charles E. Phillips, CEO of Infor, says: "Friends don't let friends build data centers any more". At some point we technologists have to look at what we can do with core infrastructure; if there is little value that we can add to our current technology layer, then it is time to move up the value chain.
More importantly for the trading community, however, this rapid
growth of public cloud services such as AWS has also kicked off
a small revolution. The basic infrastructure and core technologies around computing, networking, storage and databases have been commoditised on a massive scale. This has been followed by an exponentially growing democratisation of trading and asset management, across all business functions.
Traditional hurdles such as research, data, execution or completely starting and running a fund have been eroding at an ever-faster rate. Technology has traditionally been a substantial spend, yet with more innovative implementations, this has now been brought down to a fraction of what it was several years ago - much cheaper than doing it in-house or with traditional outsourcing providers.
The notion of large upfront capital expenditure, be it hardware or software, is becoming a legacy concept, and rightly so. Whole ecosystems of service providers are appearing around this technology, which can provide specific services for any stage of the trading life cycle, and they are providing these services on-demand and cost efficiently.