I got an email.
We're writing to let you know that we'll be carrying out work on our systems, during which time our core services (Online Banking, Telephone Banking and our Mobile Banking app) will be unavailable. This work is required to prepare us for one of the reforms brought in by the UK government, called ring-fencing, which aims to strengthen the UK financial system. You can find out more details about these reforms below.
The work will take place during one weekend each month, for five months (with the exception of December). They will start at 23:30 on a Saturday and typically complete around 15:30 Sunday afternoon. We'll let you know the exact dates nearer the time through our app, online banking, or via SMS or email.
The next time we carry out work where our core services will be unavailable will be the weekend from 23:30 on Saturday 19 August until 15:30 on Sunday 20 August. We know this may cause disruption and we're sorry for any inconvenience.
Which services will be unavailable?
During the periods where we'll be carrying out work on our systems, some core services will be affected. However, we'll always let you know about these periods in advance so you can organise your banking.
I had trouble believing this - I get so many scam emails purporting to be from my bank. But the from address was barclays.co.uk, and that was confirmed by the header. And it isn't asking me to take any action (like "send me all your passwords"). So I went to the Barclays web site and that confirmed it.
I'm just a small business, but I have a backup for each customer-facing server or service. So if I have to take a server down, I first switch the load to the backup, then I do the necessary work on the server, then I switch back. Indeed, right now I've replaced three hard drives that were failing; replacing them took about an hour, and recopying the data will take about a week. But because I have a backup server taking the load, there's zero impact on customers.
Surely Barclays have a backup system? Surely they aren't like British Airways, where a small accident leads to complete lack of service for several hours?
Apparently they're just like that. The first outage will be for 16 hours, next weekend.