Feeds

Software upgrade KOs gas shipping auction system

Fax machines running red hot at UK's National Grid

High performance access to file storage

A botched Oracle upgrade last Sunday has denied access to an online trading system used to sell space on the UK gas pipeline network. Fax machines have been running hot all week as every transaction has had to be entered manually.

The Gemini system at the centre of the affair doesn't control movements of gas, nor is it used to buy and sell gas. Rather, it is used to run daily auctions in which spare capacity on the pipeline network can be bought.

Gemini is run by a company called xoserve, jointly owned by the five companies which run the regional pipeline systems.

"Although xoserve itself is relatively new, many of our employees have a rich heritage of providing these types of services and running complex IS systems since the British gas industry was opened up entirely to supply competition in 1996," says the company - having only been founded in 2005.

This time, however, something went wrong. On Monday, National Grid informed its customers that: "Yesterday's Gemini Oracle upgrade was completed at 15:00, some three hours later than anticipated due to an issue with the software. This issue has been resolved. However, xoserve are experiencing ongoing operational issues..."

These operational issues have led to all external access to Gemini being cut off for the week, though data could still be input centrally. Hence, the cumbersome system of faxing, with National Grid in some instances having to fax back screenshots from Gemini for the customers' records.

xoserve staff declined to comment to the Reg, referring all questions to National Grid.

National Grid's Stuart Larque played down the seriousness of the situation. "Gemini is not physically connected to the infrastructure and it isn't used to buy or sell gas."

Larque said he couldn't comment on how the market in pipeline capacity might be affected, but did say that most capacity is bought and sold in large long-term deals unaffected by the current outage. The daily auctions now being conducted by fax handled only a relatively small part of the market.

Larque added that xoserve hoped to have access to Gemini restored later today. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
It may be ILLEGAL to run Heartbleed health checks – IT lawyer
Do the right thing, earn up to 10 years in clink
France bans managers from contacting workers outside business hours
«Email? Mais non ... il est plus tard que six heures du soir!»
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.