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Deutsche Bank seeks options as sanctions threaten Russian dev unit

No data or code stored in Moscow and St Petersburg tech operations, bank says

International trade sanctions threaten to cut off Deutsche Bank from its near-shore IT support and software development unit in Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.

The global bank's Russian technology centre employs around 1,500 staff, including software developers and systems maintenance experts who work on its global trading business and main corporate banking system.

According to The Financial Times, the €25bn revenue bank is weighing up options as sanctions threaten to cut off the centre of expertise from the rest of its operations.

Bad situation... relying on a tech centre in a country that Europe has had fragile relations with for decades

"No quotes can make it out to the market, no negotiations can make it back from the market without passing through this software," one executive told The FT. "Trading is complicated and requires real-time support every day... without co-operation from the Russian teams things could start to go wrong almost immediately."

It is understood systems are based in the EU and the Russian centre does not store client or operational data.

A Deutsche Bank spokesperson told The Register: "Russia is just one of multiple tech centres that we have around the world. Clearly, the Ukraine invasion will have an impact on the bank, as it will on many companies. But we have rigorously tested our operational resiliency and are confident that the day to day running of our trading business will not be affected.

"We have no code and no data housed in the Russia tech centre."

However, sources say the bank had put itself in a "bad situation" by "relying on a tech centre in a country that Europe has had fragile relations with for decades." Another senior manager said reliance on the Russian IT operation was "a big mess."

The bank has worked to reduce its reliance on Russian IT companies for the last three years as well as cutting its IT headcount there. But it is still attempting a fast-track "knowledge transfer" from developers in Russia to Europe and US-based tech professionals as it prepares for Russia potentially being cut off, the sources said.

Last year, Deutsche Bank announced plans to migrate its Oracle systems onto a single instance of Big Red's on-premises cloud. It decided to upgrade its existing database systems and migrate the bulk of its Oracle database estate to Oracle Exadata Cloud@Customer, an on-premises deployment option of the Oracle Exadata Cloud Service.

Oracle customers have generally tried to avoid Big Red for cloud infrastructure because of its high cost, one observer told us. Deutsche Bank is also hedging its bets following a 2020 market match-making exercise with AWS, Microsoft, and Google (spoiler alert: it picked Google) to address a sprawling IT estate dating back to the 1990s. ®

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