Feeds

HDS drive array failure suspected in bank giant's ATM outage

Red faces all round after service goes titsup

Top three mobile application threats

Did a Hitachi Data Systems USP-V array controller failure cause the Barclay's ATM outage yesterday?

Yesterday, to its great embarrassment, Barclays' ATM network in the south of England crashed at 1pm, together with a lot of its online banking facilities. Functions were not restored until 4.30pm or later, and thousands of people were caused great inconvenience through not being able to get cash or manage their bank accounts online.

Barclays said it was due to a hardware failure at its data centre in Gloucester, which serves its ATM network south of the Wash. Various reports on the BBC, The Sun, The Mail and elsewhere said that a hardware component of a drive array had failed and that engineers were replacing cards.

What drive array was this? One that was involved in storing data relevant to cash machine operations and online banking? Also, given that the Gloucester data centre has a history of computing system failures (see here, here, and here) why wasn't there an adequate fallback mechanism in place?

We know that, in 2008, Barclays ordered a large, high-end USP-V storage array from Hitachi Data Systems, as part of a 4-year storage-on-demand contract for its Gloucester data centre. It was to provide storage for mainframe and Unix systems. The capacity would rise to 1PB and would start coming online in February this year. There was a separate mid-range AMS storage array supplied by HDS which provided file-based storage for Windows servers through a NetApp NAS head.

Apparently HDS had a similar USP-V contract in a separate part of the data centre.

Under the new contract there was a penalty clause for downtime with the penalty increasing as the downtime increases.

Some of the accounts of the Gloucester data centre's history of ATM crashes show that the mainframe system is involved in ATM operations and this indicates that the USP-V system could be the failed drive array in yesterday's outage.

This was confirmed by a source familiar with the situation from another IT supplier, who also said that HP/EDS have the maintenance contract for the affected system.

HDS recently announced failover clustering facilities for the USP-V. If a USP-V controller in a cluster fails then operations are automatically picked up by a second USP-V controller. Without such a High Availability Manager arrangement, a failed USP-V controller can cause the storage array behind it to be inaccessible until the controller is repaired.

Bastiaan van Amstel, the senior EMEA PR manager for HDS, said, regarding the outage: "A lot of due diligence is happening at the moment and, before it is completed nothing can be said." He added: "Many vendors are involved in the IT at Barclays." ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Kingston DataTraveler MicroDuo: Turn your phone into a 72GB beast
USB-usiness in the front, micro-USB party in the back
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Inside the Hekaton: SQL Server 2014's database engine deconstructed
Nadella's database sqares the circle of cheap memory vs speed
BOFH: Oh DO tell us what you think. *CLICK*
$%%&amp Oh dear, we've been cut *CLICK* Well hello *CLICK* You're breaking up...
Just what could be inside Dropbox's new 'Home For Life'?
Biz apps, messaging, photos, email, more storage – sorry, did you think there would be cake?
AMD's 'Seattle' 64-bit ARM server chips now sampling, set to launch in late 2014
But they won't appear in SeaMicro Fabric Compute Systems anytime soon
Amazon reveals its Google-killing 'R3' server instances
A mega-memory instance that never forgets
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
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.
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.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.