client story

Move From AWS to Azure Matures Banking as a Service Platform

In 2021, Backbase, a pioneer in the world of engagement banking, made a bold move: the company started to migrate its Banking as a Service (BaaS) platform from AWS to Azure as part of its partnership with Microsoft. This journey, which they began with Xebia | Xpirit, is now coming to an end, and with success. The platform is faster, more mature, and, above all, ready for Backbase’s impressive projected growth.

What we did

Migrating from AWS to Azure and entering a co-selling initiative.


Microsoft Azure


Finance and Banking

The decision to partner with Microsoft is based on our ability to innovate banks worldwide by working together. Almost every bank uses Microsoft technology, and Microsoft simply has the most powerful co-selling proposition of all cloud providers in terms of transacting through Azure Marketplace.

Eric Nieuwenhuijsen Technical Director Backbase as a Service at Backbase

Backbase as a Service (BaaS)  

While large banks often have their own IT departments and follow a “build over buy” strategy, for medium and small (including niche and start-up) banks, especially in low-development areas, working with a customizable off-the-shelf core banking system is a great solution. Where they would otherwise struggle to keep up with the global level of digitalization, Backbase brings the future of banking within reach for every bank worldwide.  

Backbase’s offering allows complete online and mobile banking environments to be up and running within months, including services such as digital onboarding, customer loyalty, and loan origination.   

The main advantages of Backbase as a Service are:  

  • A complete, customizable, and highly scalable SaaS offering.   
  • A significantly reduced time to market.   
  • A lower TCO than if you had to assemble your own team of developers with the capabilities to build such a comprehensive platform.  
  • SOC 2 certified, guaranteeing data safety.  

The Next Step for Growth  

After a year of running its Banking as a Service (BaaS) platform on AWS, Backbase was ready for the next step for sustainable growth. A cloud tender focused on technology, cost, and partnership resulted in a collaboration with Microsoft and a commitment to enter the market on a joint mission to digitalize banks across the world using Azure. The move from AWS to Azure also allowed Backbase to mature and accelerate the platform and secure future performance.  

Microsoft and its partner ecosystem help banks reduce cost and risk, modernize core systems and delight customers and employees to achieve differentiation and spur sustainable growth. With the migration from AWS to Azure, Backbase is now proudly part of Microsoft’s partner ecosystem and is eager to accelerate innovation in banking across the globe!  

From AWS to Azure in Four Steps  

In October 2021, with the help of Xebia | Xpirit, Backbase began migrating from AWS to Azure. Chris van Sluijsveld, Consultant at Xebia | Xpirit, comments: “Our assignment was to bring BaaS from AWS to Azure, a 2-year project with a team of sixteen people from Xebia | Xpirit and Backbase. We started with a PoC, then we onboarded new customers, and now we’re migrating current customers from AWS to Azure. The goal is to have all of them on Azure by the end of 2023.”   

The migration followed these four steps: 

1. Aim for First-Time-Right 

The first step in this migration process was discovery — getting to know the product, determining what features are there now, and what features are wanted. This input then forms the basis for a reference architecture that reveals what the product will look like on Azure. Next, four workstreams were set up (Access, Runtimes, CI/CD, and Experimentation) that started working on the MVP/PoC according to the requirements.   

“Because of the many people we spoke to in the preliminary phase, we had the right input to create a reference architecture that suited Backbase very well. The MVP was ‘First-Time-Right’ and thus the foundation for the final product,” Jelmer de Jong, Consultant at Xebia | Xpirit, adds.   

2. Move Beyond Feature Parity 

Van Sluijsveld, “To decide what products we would use, we looked at what Backbase was using on AWS, what the equivalent would be on Azure, and whether it could handle the same scale, for example. In this ‘product shoot out,’ we worked with Backbase to make all the choices for the new products.” 

The initial goal was feature parity, but along the way, the migration proved to be a vehicle for a complete upgrade of Backbase’s SaaS product at both the application and the infrastructure level. “For example, we replaced MySQL with MSSQL, and by using Argo CD instead of Flux CD, we now have much more insight into what the application is doing,” De Jong adds.  

“Switching to one identity provider (Azure AD), and implementing the principle of least privilege, helped Backbase grow security maturity. Last but not least, we undertook a huge harmonization effort, moving all CI/CD tooling (Bitbucket, Jenkins, and GitHub Cloud) to one centrally managed GitHub Enterprise Managed Cloud offering,” Van Sluijsveld concludes.   

3. Redesign and Train Teams  

 Over the past two years, the Backbase team has tripled — driven by the need to accelerate platform development and to keep Backbase operating on AWS while setting up Azure. “Backbase initially had one team working on everything. By 2022, that team had over 30 people, making it too big to manage effectively. So, we split it into four teams, each responsible for part of the platform, such as security and identity management or application deployment and corporate tooling. After all, the latter also had to be migrated to Azure,” Patrick van Kleef, Consultant at Xebia | Xpirit, adds.   

 Today, Backbase has three dedicated BaaS teams, as well as Product Owners, and Project Managers, roles that didn’t exist before. Finally, Xebia | Xpirit provided the following training courses to ensure everyone had a solid Azure foundation to build on: Microsoft Azure Fundamentals (AZ-900), Microsoft Azure Administrator (AZ-104), and Designing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions (AZ-305).  

4. Platform

Because a part of its customers is still on AWS, Backbase is currently working on both platforms. In 2023, current customers will be migrated to Azure, allowing the AWS environment to be phased out. Of course, any new customer will now land directly on the Azure environment. Van Sluijsveld, “The ultimate goal is to completely turn off AWS and have BaaS and everything the teams need running on Azure. Today, all internal tooling and new customers are on Azure. After recently obtaining the SOC 2 certification, which gives existing customers the same guarantee as on the old platform, we are ready to start migrating them!” 

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