(The Hosting News) – Websites including LinkedIn, Foursquare, Gawker and Reddit were among a number of sites affected by a leap second change made to the world clock, according to a number of reports. The result? Any web presence’s worst night: service downtime.
The time shift that accounted for one second was made to configure the clock’s settings to the Earth’s current rotation. So why did it affect websites? Some online services rely on something called network time protocol (NTP), a platform that works to accurately keep computer systems in check with time synchronization standards. Adjusting the world clock is nothing new. It’s been done a number of times in the past.
Meanwhile, some web services relying on NTP can bypass the time adjustments. In September, top online search engine Google detailed “leap smear,” a tactic developed by the company to avoid any service downtime issues.
“We modified our internal NTP servers to gradually add a couple of milliseconds to every update, varying over a time window before the moment when the leap second actually happens. This meant that when it became time to add an extra second at midnight, our clocks had already taken this into account, by skewing the time over the course of the day,” commented the company at the time.
Websites were kept busy trying to recover from the issue caused by the time shift. “We are having some Java/Cassandra issues related to the leap second at 5pm PST. We’re working as quickly as we can to restore service,” commented Reddit in a Twitter post.
The leap second’s effect on sites was bad, but it wasn’t the only service interruption this weekend. On Friday night, a North Virginia data center by Amazon Web Services experienced a service interruption caused by storms in the area. That downtime affecting Elastic Compute Cloud, ElastiCache, Elastic Beanstalk and Relational Database Service resulted in an interruption in service for Instagram, Netflix and Pinterest.