Deutsche Bank is set to complete the first phase of a major cloud computing overhaul aimed at improving internal application development.

The German investment bank, which has a substantial presence in the City of London, has developed an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) development platform, due to go live this month.

The aim of the new platform is to enable developers to rapidly create and deploy virtual environments, running up to 2,000 VMs at any one time. These are supported by a variety of collaboration and knowledge management systems.

The VMs are available for development in Microsoft Windows, Unix, Solaris and Linux environments.

Deutsche Bank was awarded the 'conquering the cloud' prize by the Open Data Centre Alliance, after being judged as showcasing a particularly effective approach to cloud computing that could be used elsewhere.

Alistair McLaurin, at Deutsche Bank global technology engineering, said the bank had "wanted to create something radically different" and to "challenge assumptions around what centrally provided IT services could be and how much they must cost".

Using the new system, end-user costs are cheaper for each developer than running a dedicated PC for development, partly through what McLaurin called "aggressive standardisation" as well as automation. Additionally, storage costs were cut by not providing automated backup, and instead having "flexible" data repositories to protect and manage applications.

Deutsche Bank, which has also developed new modular data centre designs and elastic computing platforms, said access to the IaaS platform is underpinned by its core identity management platforms, including a Microsoft Active Directory system and an SAP-linked Global LDAP directory.

Any entitled permanent employee requesting a new virtual machine can visit one website, select an operating system and "click three buttons", McLaurin said, and the machine will be available "within an hour".

A system records the user's cost centre and details in a configuration management and billing database.

The private cloud is hosted in a data centre with racks of blade servers using four 12-core processors, and it runs on a network with 10 GB switches.

For more on the project read here