When a (Leap) Second is Too Late

Contrary to popular belief, time can repeat itself. While everyone is familiar with leap years, I bet most people haven’t heard about leap seconds, which happen periodically when a second is manually added or subtracted from the Universal Time Coordinated (UTC), the central clock by which all clocks throughout the world are calibrated. UTC is periodically manipulated to keep us as close as possible to true solar time. The last time this happened was on June 30, 2015, when 23:59:59 took place twice before time moved on to 00:00:00.

For most, this extra second came and went without notice. However, as the head of Aria System’s global operations, this extra second had been on my team’s radar for a while. In our world, an extra second can have a catastrophic impact on computer systems. Unprepared? Websites go down, servers crash, and a host of other technological issues can occur.  Think Y2K on a smaller scale.

With so much at stake, Aria treated this manipulation of time with the utmost urgency. We proactively worked to introduce special precautions and software patches so the leap second had zero impact on our system, user interface, or websites. Other businesses, as recent new stories indicate, weren’t so fortunate. The leap second brought down unprepared websites for hours, along with a host of other issues in the process.

Incidents like this underscore the benefits of being truly enterprise grade – from our technology, to our processes, to the people that support our systems. When something like this happens, our customers’ businesses simply continue to run as they should.  On June 30th, 2015, Aria customers were unscathed by these newsworthy complications and felt zero repercussions. It’s a testament to the level of planning and concern Aria puts into everything it does, including planning for the passage of time – where each and every second matters.

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About the Author

Oleg Ganopolskiy
Oleg Ganopolskiy is responsible for ensuring that Aria Systems' infrastructure provides the highest level of security, compliance, performance, capacity and reliability for its customers. Oleg joined Aria Systems from Nokia, where he was responsible for operational capacity, planning, analytics, and modeling across the company's Global Services Platform. Prior to Nokia, he managed technology operations at AOL and spent eight years in operations at eBay. He has held senior technical roles at Oracle Corporation and Nordic Systems, Inc. For fun, he travels, spends time with his family, works, and worries about work.

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