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Oracle data centre offers its back end to banking upstart

Larry's cloud to host Hampden & Co's bulging accounts

Oracle is becoming a British banking back end, with its data centres about to start holding the money and details of some of the UK’s wealthiest citizens.

Hampden & Co, due to launch in the first quarter of 2015, has picked Oracle’s Flexcube as its core banking platform, the database giant said Tuesday.

Unlike other Flexcube customers, Hampden’s will be run as a service hosted at an Oracle data centre - a 160,000 square foot facility in Linlithgow, Scotland.

Flexcube will run on Oracle SPARC T5 servers at the centre.

The system will let Hampden’s staff provision and manage customers accounts, and it’ll provide online banking initially, with mobile banking planned.

Flexcube has more than 530 users and is traditionally run from the data centres of Oracle partners - heavyweights such as Capgemini and CSC.

Banking is Oracle’s second largest vertical, and the plan is to let more customers run inside Oracle’s own data centres as it tries to grow its cloud footprint.

Oracle told The Reg Hampden had outsourced to Oracle rather than build and own the infrastructure to lower its costs, while reducing risk. Flexcube beat two other unnamed systems for the deal.

At the same time, Hampden - a private bank - didn’t want to work with lots of different service suppliers.

“Hampden preferred to have soup to nuts from one single vendor,” Senthil Kumar, veep, business development of Oracle Financial Services, told The Reg.

“We eliminate the risk of multiple parties coming together and trying to connect it up, and in the cloud we give them fairly good level of comfort to run core businesses.”

Hampden has been a work in progress since 2010, with Oracle brought in at the end of 2013 to develop and set up the core banking platform. Along the way Hampden got its current name, having rebranded from Scoban with new investment and received regulatory approval.

Hampden is the first such customer to go live in one if Oracle’s own data centres.

Hosted versions of Oracle’s apps - such as HR, ERP and CRM - have been available, but this is the first time a bank’s core business systems will be placed on Oracle.

The system is acting, in effect, like mainframes common in most other British banks and financial institutions that hold customers’ account details.

Traditionally, banks have built their own IT infrastructure. The core of what’s in operation today is legacy, doing back decades.

However, a new generation of banks are opening in the UK using cloud-based services and third-parities to deliver their IT infrastructure.

The idea being that it saves on cost and time.

From a headcount of 50 Hampden has an IT staff numbering “single digits”, under the overall control of Hampden’s chief operating officer Stuart Alexander. ®

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