National Australia Bank hit by outage

A two-hour unidentified outage hit the National Australia Bank this morning, leaving early morning bankers late doing business.

SYDNEY (ZDNet Australia)--A two-hour unidentified outage hit the National Australia Bank this morning, leaving early morning bankers late doing business.

Although the cause of the blackout isn’t yet known, the National has confirmed that there was scheduled maintenance arranged for earlier this morning, which should have taken the system down temporarily.

“Some things go bump in the night and have to be taken down to get them running again,” National Bank’s head of Internet and e-solutions, Blair Vernon, told ZDNet.

Vernon said the two-hour outage could be “the backend of that occurrence”.

It was a lousy time for the NAB to lose control of its Net banking, as it is usually dogged by peak-hour traffic jams on Monday mornings--the result of a banking platform that utilises digital certification and consequently leans towards greater habitual usage.

The National’s online bankers have to download their digital certificate onto a particular machine, which leaves them restricted to using that PC unless they import the digital certificate to another machine via floppy disc. This leaves many users restricted to using a particular machine at a certain time of the day--with Monday morning being a classic example of the site's peak load problem.

It’s “unfortunate” that the outage occurred this morning, Vernon said.

“Before-you-go-to-work bankers would certainly have noticed it.”

According to Vernon, the early morning scheduled maintenance was part of the “routine upgrade process we’re driving towards”.

The National is in the process of developing a new browser-based version of the online banking facility, which will see digital certification become defunct, increase user flexibility and see a flattening of peak load problems.

The National, with over 400,000 registered Internet banking customers, anticipates the new Net banking system will be installed the second half of the year.

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