Disc array fault blamed for Barclays online breakdown

Disc array fault blamed for Barclays online breakdown

Barclays has confirmed that a storage disc array fault at its Gloucester data centre caused its ATMs and online and telephone banking systems to crash yesterday.

The hardware failure left customers unable to withdraw cash at about 1500 ATMs in the South of England between around 1:00pm and 4:30 pm.

Online and phone bankers in the South were also unable to conduct transactions, while a small number of customers experienced difficulty using their cards to make payments in shops.

A Barclays spokesperson confirmed the problem was caused by a disc array failure at the Gloucester facility but refused to elaborate on the technology involved, saying only that an investigation is underway.

However, the bank does use Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) storage disc arrays at the Gloucester centre after striking a deal with the vendor last year.

It selected an HDS USP V-based SAN subsystem to provide storage for its Unix and mainframe systems and an AMS array with a NetApp NAS head to provide storage for Windows files. The technology was due to come online in February.

Barclays, which has around 15 million UK customers, has apologised for the inconvenience the outage caused. But one disgruntled user contacted the BBC to vent his anger after his card was rejected as he was trying to buy a Ferrari.

This is not the first time Barclays has suffered technical problems. Back in 2005 a technical glitch left millions of customers unable to withdraw cash from ATMs or use telephone and Internet banking services over the Easter holiday weekend.

Comments: (3)

Hitesh Thakkar
Hitesh Thakkar - SME - Fintech startups (APAC and Africa) - India 18 June, 2009, 08:18Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Press release has confused me as it left lot many questions unanswered.

1. It does not mentioned of any DR/BCP fall back plans that were kicked in. I assume they were as Bank would have burned their money for all such provisions.

2. TEchnical fault has traceability to infrastructure design fault against standard rule of RAS (Reliability Availability Serviceability).. hope their System analyst will fix it up.

3. It is not clear whether HDS or NetApps componets down... both the vendors need to take this seriously.


A Finextra member
A Finextra member 18 June, 2009, 11:12Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

The ATM network outage at Barclays was certainly annoying, but relief is in sight. The bank has decided earlier to move ATM handling onto a fault tolerant HP NonStop system. That migration is now underway and will also replace the currently used disk infrastructure. 

Paul Seagrove
Paul Seagrove - Seagrove Associates - London 18 June, 2009, 11:31Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Yes, where was the geographically remote mirror image DR system that should of kicked in?  As a Barclays customer, I think I should be told!  Perhaps there is an opportunity for someone to sell them some consultancy (unless HP is already on the case).