BP's public cloud strategy helps reduce IT spend by 40 percent

The energy giant is moving “all in” on the cloud with AWS and is already seeing huge cost savings

BP has reduced the cost of running its SAP applications by a third after migrating workloads to Amazon Web Services' public cloud. It is just one aspect of an "all in" public cloud strategy that has resulted in a 40 percent reduction in infrastructure costs after just 18 months.

BP currently has five SAP systems ported to the public cloud with AWS starting with some HANA-based analytics and is steadily closing down all of its 7,000 servers across four data centres as the migration gathers pace. The energy firm is also looking to decommission 30 percent of its existing business applications as it moves further towards the cloud.

The first standalone application to move to the AWS is a specialised piece of software called Spiral, which is used by asset planners in its refineries division.

Speaking on stage at the AWS Summit in London last month, Claire Dickson, CIO Downstream at BP said that, by placing this app in the cloud, the time taken to complete a job was reduced from around seven hours to three minutes, while using the same data set. "I didn't think we would get that out of cloud and that has been revolutionary for us," she added.

However, Dickson admitted that it wasn't a simple process shifting a whole IT organisation to the cloud.

"We are learning that it has not been really easy, it has been a lot of work actually," she said. "For us as an IT organisation to upskill ourselves and use this new technology set has been a big deal."

Dickson also said that security was a concern for BP, and learning to "build capability and basics around security monitoring in the cloud" has been a significant challenge. At the same time, she added that the IT organisation has found patching in the cloud to be "orders of magnitude faster than on prem".

Security was a key theme during the AWS Summit, in a climate where DDoS attacks are extremely prevalent. Earlier in the day Amazon CTO Werner Vogels said that security was the "number one priority" at AWS and he was keen to promote the capabilities of AWS Shield to automatically protect against such threats.

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