Westpac: Quicker to reboot than press DR alarm

 

Why Westpac made the right call to switch off services.

Westpac staff voluntarily switched off ATM, EFTPOS and Online Banking services yesterday morning, iTnews can reveal, to avert a potentially far more severe outage.

The bank’s Automatic Teller Machine, EFTPOS and Online banking services were cut yesterday morning after the failure of an air conditioning unit at Westpac’s Ryde (Sydney) data centre, first noticed at 5am.

ATM and EFTPOS services were back online by 11am, but online banking wasn't available until 4:30pm.

Whilst Westpac won’t be able to provide a post-incident report until next week, a spokesman for the company today explained to iTnews why engineers made the agonising choice to switch off the services.

Upon discovering the cooling fault at 5am, IT engineers at the data centre were faced with the choice of leaving the servers and storage operating at dangerous temperatures – which could have resulted in a far more serious meltdown, executing the bank’s business continuity plan and shifting workloads to another facility, or switching the machines off until the air conditioning unit could be replaced.

The first option could have exposed Westpac to days or weeks of outages and the potential for data corruption or lost data.

The second option, switching to a secondary disaster recovery facility, was deemed to take too long.

The Westpac spokesman said engineers considered that it would take far less time to switch off the machines, wait for a third party to swap out the cooling units (the building is owned by Mirvac, IT infrastructure outsourced to IBM) and reboot.

The right call in the wrong situation?

The key question for Westpac’s board: why would its disaster recovery plan take so long to execute?

iTnews has discussed the build of ‘active-active’ data centre configurations – where ‘warm’ servers in secondary facilities can take on workloads from production systems within shorter time frames than the five plus hours Westpac took to bring EFTPOS and ATM back online or the eight hours plus to bring back online banking.

Varghese Jacob, designer of data centres for many blue-chip Australian companies, stressed that the industry "expects disaster recovery rollover times to be fast - a matter of a few minutes or hours."

"It shouldn't be quicker to shut down and reboot," he said.

Whilst Varghese can't speak for Westpac, he said often organisations don't regularly test the business continuity plans in place.

In this case, Westpac’s engineers are likely to have made the right call. But they would have good cause to turn around to the bank’s management and ask why it hadn’t put aside some of its $4 billion profits into the best business continuity money can buy.

Surely availability is secondary only to security in terms of the bank’s priorities.

Copyright © iTnews.com.au . All rights reserved.


Westpac: Quicker to reboot than press DR alarm
Time for an upgrade?
 
 
 
Top Stories
Frugality as a service: the Amazon story
Behind the scenes, Amazon Web Services is one lean machine.
 
Negotiating with the cloud email megavendors
[Blog post] Lessons from Woolworths’ mammoth migration.
 
Qld govt to move up to 149k staff onto Office 365
Australia's largest deployment, outside of the universities.
 
 
Time for an upgrade?
Sign up to receive iTnews email bulletins
   FOLLOW US...

Latest VideosSee all videos »

The great data centre opportunity on Australia's doorstep
The great data centre opportunity on Australia's doorstep
Scott Noteboom, CEO of LitBit speaking at The Australian Data Centre Strategy Summit 2014 in the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. http://bit.ly/1qpxVfV Scott Noteboom is a data centre engineer who led builds for Apple and Yahoo in the earliest days of the cloud, and who now eyes Asia as the next big opportunity. Read more: http://www.itnews.com.au/News/372482,how-do-we-serve-three-billion-new-internet-users.aspx#ixzz2yNLmMG5C
Interview: Karl Maftoum, CIO, ACMA
Interview: Karl Maftoum, CIO, ACMA
To COTS or not to COTS? iTnews asks Karl Maftoum, CIO of the ACMA, at the CIO Strategy Summit.
Susan Sly: What is the Role of the CIO?
Susan Sly: What is the Role of the CIO?
AEMO chief information officer Susan Sly calls for more collaboration among Australia's technology leaders at the CIO Strategy Summit.
Meet the 2014 Finance CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Finance CIO of the Year
Credit Union Australia's David Gee awarded Finance CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards.
Meet the 2014 Retail CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Retail CIO of the Year
Damon Rees named Retail CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at Woolworths.
Robyn Elliott named the 2014 Utilities CIO of the Year
Robyn Elliott named the 2014 Utilities CIO of the Year
Acting Foxtel CIO David Marks accepts an iTnews Benchmark Award on behalf of Robyn Elliott.
Meet the 2014 Industrial CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Industrial CIO of the Year
Sanjay Mehta named Industrial CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at ConocoPhillips.
Meet the 2014 Healthcare CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Healthcare CIO of the Year
Greg Wells named Healthcare CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at NSW Health.
Meet the 2014 Education CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Education CIO of the Year
William Confalonieri named Healthcare CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at Deakin University.
Meet the 2014 Government CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Government CIO of the Year
David Johnson named Government CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at the Queensland Police Service.
Q and A: Coalition Broadband Policy
Q and A: Coalition Broadband Policy
Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott discuss the Coalition's broadband policy with the press.
AFP scalps hacker 'leader' inside Australia's IT ranks.
AFP scalps hacker 'leader' inside Australia's IT ranks.
The Australian Federal Police have arrested a Sydney-based IT security professional for hacking a government website.
NBN Petition Delivered To Turnbull's Office
NBN Petition Delivered To Turnbull's Office
UTS CIO: IT teams of the future
UTS CIO: IT teams of the future
UTS CIO Chrissy Burns talks data.
New UTS Building: the IT within
New UTS Building: the IT within
The IT behind tomorrow's universities.
iTnews' NBN Panel
iTnews' NBN Panel
Is your enterprise NBN-ready?
Introducing iTnews Labs
Introducing iTnews Labs
See a timelapse of the iTnews labs being unboxed, set up and switched on! iTnews will produce independent testing of the latest enterprise software to hit the market after installing a purpose-built test lab in Sydney. Watch the installation of two DL380p servers, two HP StoreVirtual 4330 storage arrays and two HP ProCurve 2920 switches.
The True Cost of BYOD
The True Cost of BYOD
iTnews' Brett Winterford gives attendees of the first 'Touch Tomorrow' event in Brisbane a brief look at his research into enterprise mobility. What are the use cases and how can they be quantified? What price should you expect to pay for securing mobile access to corporate applications? What's coming around the corner?
Ghost clouds
Ghost clouds
ACMA chair Chris Chapman says there is uncertainty over whether certain classes of cloud service providers are caught by regulations.
Was the Snowden leak inevitable?
Was the Snowden leak inevitable?
Privacy experts David Vaile (UNSW Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre) and Craig Scroggie (CEO, NextDC) claim they were not surprised by the Snowden leaks about the NSA's PRISM program.
Latest Comments
Polls
Which bank is most likely to suffer an RBS-style meltdown?





   |   View results
ANZ
  20%
 
Bankwest
  9%
 
CommBank
  11%
 
National Australia Bank
  17%
 
Suncorp
  24%
 
Westpac
  19%
TOTAL VOTES: 1440

Vote