Y2K tests and problems

Sean Donelan SEAN at SDG.DRA.COM
Sat Jun 19 07:10:09 UTC 1999

The San Fernando Valley sewage spill during a Y2K test in news reports
was traced to a 1985 programmer mistake in the code.  What combination
of events tickled the bug, and why nothing at the plant alerted operators
to the problem is still being investigated.

In the Internet world, NSI announced on Friday their Y2K test program
for domain name servers.  If you choose to participate, I noticed NSI
plans to use NTP for clock synchronization.  One problem which has shown
up in other Y2K tests is failing to keep the NTP test network properly
isolated from the NTP production network. With correct stratum settings
and a good NTP web, if the test and production networks are accidently
connected, NTP figures out someone's clock is insane.  However, in a few
cases NTP on a production machine which isn't properly isolated will
synchronize with the test NTP network, e.g. if a machine reboots, and
uses a NTP broadcast to set its clock when booting.

Unlike the financial industry which can do testing on the weekends, when
few real transactions are in the system, the Internet is a 24x7 network.
So be careful out there.

Sean Donelan, Data Research Associates, Inc, St. Louis, MO
  Affiliation given for identification not representation

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