back to article Barclays IT systems have a strop

Barclays Bank is suffering an IT outage that has seen cash points refusing to pay out and online banking going offline, with some readers reporting that even fleshy-staffed branches are having problems. The problems started over lunch time, and it seems that anyone trying to get money from a Barclays account should try and …


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  1. Paul 172
    Thumb Down

    ...another one ?

    HSBC had a global card outage on the 31st of May, this year... I know, I was stranded in Wembley !

  2. AceRimmer

    Just a coincidence?

    Barclays lay off more contractors

    Barclays IT systems have a strop

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Surprise, surprise

    Well, I guess all that head-chopping in the IT department are starting to pay-off...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    could easily be a BT issue

    failure to communicate with a datacentre, doesn't necessarily have to be an issue with the bank's IT systems.

    What they need is some sort of system that lets them continue working locally, even if the communication links are down, then updates the system when they come back up, like we have :)

  5. Charlie Fisher
    Paris Hilton

    Barclays IT outage

    Your news yesterday ran with job cuts in IT departments at Barclays, so presumably some BOFH indulging in some rm -f style payback when given his papers, or a lack of skilled staff left with the ability to fix the problem because they have all been given the bullet...

    I've just had to withdraw cash over the counter, which brought on a gentle tinge of nostalgia.

    Paris, because she always has the personal touch

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    I tried

    4 attemps and I manged to get 50 beer vouchers

  7. LuMan

    Not good

    But will you still be able to go to Sainsbury's and buy a pint, sorry, half-litre of milk with your debit card and get cashback??

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Phew, it's a good job that.....

    ...Barclays haven't offshored* large parts of their IT department - oh, hang on a sec.

    *they're not outsourced, they're offshored and then those staff are, quite aptly, referred to as captives!

  9. Daniel 1

    Well, you sack your IT staff, and what do you get

    They probably turned off the workstation belonging to the ex-employee, that had the command line COBOL application running on it, that was responsible for managing the account synchronisation across the network. Now they're desperately running around switching them all back on again, in a bid to find which machine it was, since it turns out the only documentation for the job was in a README file sitting in the same directory, alongside the COBOL program, on the machine in question. Hopefully, all being well, it won't turn out to have been one of the old SPARC Ultras, that they sent off in a skip, this morning.

  10. Paul 25

    Is this just Barclays ATMs?

    Or is it any ATM when used by a Barclays customer?

    Either way, rather shonky.

    /me puts bet on it being a fat-finger moment.

  11. TrixyB
    IT Angle


    Didn't Barclays fire a lot of their I.T. Staff last week?

    VPN Accounts still enabled?

    I.T. pic as "Where is their I.T." !!??

  12. Anonymous Coward

    maybe there IT systems took a pay(out)-cut

    With all this recent cutbacks on IT staff, its nice to see the reality hit home.

    Perhaps the systems gained AI and went and took a payout-cut before they were asked when there contracts came up for renewal.

  13. sev71


    Barclays cuts more IT jobs (7 January 2009)

    Barclays to lay off more tech staff (11 May 2009)

    Job cuts start to bite at Barclays (11 June 2009)

    ... Major system issues (16 June 2009)

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Don't bother with the branches

    My girlfriend is a cashier at Barclays and even the branches have collapsed. The best thing to do is to stay home and write an angry letter explaining they probably shouldn't have fired those 400 IT staff a few months ago...

  15. TrixyB

    Back online now...

    Staff still not back though...

  16. Anthony Shortland

    PCI compliance :)

    I heard it was part of their drive towards PCI compliance. All transactions have to be hand written and delivered to their data center by secure carrier pigeon to be manually keyed in within their secure network

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Standard Management Practice

    This is standard management practice. When you have finished destroying the business sack the IT department and then blame all your failures on the resulting mess. We should be flattered that in spite of all the abuse management do actually realise that we are the ones holding the business together.

  18. DaveTheRave

    Loose your job

    Scheduled FDISK?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    cash back

    Try getting cash back instead.... I have a feeling it defaults to the VISA part, or whatever, on a debit card if the bank is unavailable. A few weeks ago I was getting the can't connect to your bank message at all the cash machines I tried from various banks but buying a pack of fags and getting cashback in tesco worked fine.

  20. Steve Evans

    Oh dear...

    Loose a load of IT staff, and then have the system break... Who would have thought it!

    I bet they laid off too many Indians and kept too many chiefs!

    Oh well, at least they'll be able to have a nice meeting about it.

  21. John Macintyre

    bbc - apparently they had a faulty disk array... guess it might be unsurprising but one disk array for the entire network? talk about a failover failure....

  22. Anonymous Coward

    Any chance

    my cash card withdrawal won't get back to my bank?

  23. Anonymous Coward

    I wonder how

    many of their offshore staff were involved in fixing this issue....or was it left to the heroic efforts of the few remaining onshore staff.....

  24. Merchman

    want my money

    17:45 - couldn't get money from the machines at tesco. At least it's the bank, not me!

  25. David Richardson
    Thumb Down

    Not the first time

    I had the same problem on Saturday (13th June) I tried 3 different cashpoints at my local branch before giving up and going inside. 1st Machine gave a this card is damaged error, the other two let me check my balance but threw a wobbler when I tried to make a withdrawal (unable to contact....).

    Hope it stays fixed this time.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The Decepticons are at work...

  27. Matthew 4
    Thumb Down

    you would think..

    they would learn.. remember what happened when they under-invested in IT in Canada? One bank nearly down the toilet (cant remember it's name for the life of me)

  28. Fozzy 1

    @ could easily be a BT issue

    Whihc bank is that? I'd love to have a crack at an old fraud trick where you could suck the machine dry of cash in about 10 minutes

    Pirates - hand over your jewelry too..

  29. Doogs


    My step daughter tried drawing out cash to go shopping for herdaughter's prom dress. Screen went blank just before dispensing cash. Result: no cash but debited from account.

    Took her ages to get through, but they restored the balance straight away; so must have been a few with the same thing.

    Not particularly robust software if a disk array going down causes that.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the second one

    "presumably some BOFH indulging in some rm -f style payback when given his papers, or a lack of skilled staff left with the ability to fix the problem because they have all been given the bullet..."

    I work for barclays let me assure you itll be the latter! I see people given a manual task with excel sit there and manually calculate one row at a time for thousands of rows when there is a very very simple beginner style formula that will do the lot in seconds, it's actually terrifying how little 96% of anyone there is pretty clueless when it comes to using a PC

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    @Daniel 1

    You jest, but exactly this happened with their NTP time service a few years ago. Someone had an OpenBSD (I think) system (called Dougal if I remember correctly), sitting under a desk that was turned off, and their entire UNIX application farm lost their reliable time source (it may have been wider than this; I was only interested in the Unix servers). It was not spotted until NTP on the DNS servers (which were also distributing time as a peer NTP tier) started complaining about being unable to sync with their higher-tier time source after about 10 days.

    Fortunately. the system was still present, and could be turned on again while they worked out how to remove it properly. Mind you, I was the local 'expert' on their NTP and DNS servers at the time, and I was a contractor. Says volumes about their own expertise, as I only have a passing knowledge of NTP. Think they use InfoBlox now, so I won't be doing that again.

    I feel reasonably safe to talk about this now, as all of the people who may recognise me have since left Barclays when the Poole support centre was shut down. Still, black helicopters...

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @John Macintyre

    Not really one disk array. Actually a two hands-full of large HDS SAN servers, but it is true that several critical application servers will be on the same SAN server. HDS always told Barclays that their SAN servers had multiple-redundancy, so even when a High Availability solution was deployed on a single site for server resilience, both servers tended to use the same SAN server for storage. And everything else (FC cards, switches, links etc.) was duplicated for each UNIX system. Of course, this was pre-SVN. Don't know whether they have actually implemented this since I left.

    Barclays used to have split-site with cross-site disk mirroring for their most critical systems, but when this became too costly, they started reducing the places where this was deployed. Apparently, (high bandwidth) X (long distances ) = lotsa money. Whoda thunk this strategy could cause an outage!

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another strop - Down again 23 June

    Barclaycard on-line systems down again Tuesday 23rd June!

    Can't help thinking that having systems staff in India with servers in UK is not a good idea.

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