Why Morningstar Moved to the Cloud: 97% Cost Reduction
Monday, August 14, 2017 at 9:47AM
Todd Hoff in Example


Enterprises won't move to the cloud. If they do, it's tantamount to admitting your IT group sucks. That has been the common wisdom. Morningstar, an investment research provider, is moving to the cloud and they're about as enterprisey as it gets. And they don't strike me as incompetent, they just don't want to worry about all the low level IT stuff anymore. 

Mitch Shue, Morningstar's CTO, gave a short talk at AWS Summit Series 2017 on their move to AWS. It's not full of nitty gritty technical details. That's not the interesting part. The talk is more about their motivations, the process they used to make the move, and some of the results they've experienced. While that's more interesting, we've heard a lot of it before.

What I found most interesting was the idea of Morningstar as a canary test. If Morningstar succeeds, the damn might bust and we'll see a lot more adoption of the cloud by stodgy mainstream enterprises. It's a copy cat world. That sort of precedent gives other CTOs the cover they need to make the same decision.

The most important idea in the whole talk: the cost savings of moving to the cloud are nice, but what they were more interested in is "creating a frictionless development experience to spur innovation and creativity."

Software is eating the world. Morningstar is no doubt looking at the future and sees the winners will be those who can develop the best software, the fastest. They need to get better at developing software. Owning your own infrastructure is a form of technical debt. Time to pay down the debt and get to the real work of innovating, not plumbing.

Here's my gloss of the talk:


Time for a Change

Changing the Culture

Strategy: Move Fast then Optimize

Result: 97% Cost Reduction

The Future

Why AWS?

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