Site Reliability, DevOps and Cloud

June 22, 2024 San Francisco, USA


Rock around the clock (synchronization): Improve performance for end users with high precision time!

Lerna Ekmekcioglu
Clockwork Systems

Is the app slow or the network lagging? When it comes to latency across distributed systems, it can be hard to pinpoint where exactly the issue lies. To add to this, business demands drive where we run our workloads today - whether on-premises, cloud or hybrid environments - to enhance agility, reduce cost or risk, but often blurring our view into the health of our systems across these disjoint environments. Clock synchronization in distributed systems is key for identifying the true culprit when it comes to latency. In this session, I’ll demystify the building blocks for synchronizing clocks across distributed systems. I’ll go over protocols to date (NTP, PTP, PPS), their pros and cons, and best practices such as slewing clocks. I’ll dive into an algorithm that achieves higher precision clock synchronization at scale. Using this, we gain visibility into useful metrics such as one way delays, which gives us the ability to monitor response times and improve performance for our end users. The session is targeted for SRE’s, infrastructure, and platform teams who are looking to gain a deeper understanding of how to improve response times for workloads with high precision clock synchronization across distributed systems deployed on-premises, in the cloud, multi-cloud, or hybrid environments.

Lerna is a Senior Solutions Engineer at Clockwork Systems where she helps customers meet their performance goals as well as regulatory reporting objectives with software solutions built upon’s foundational clock synchronization research. Prior to this, she was an AWS Senior Solutions Architect serving Global Financial Services customers for 3 years. Before that, Lerna spent 17 years as an infrastructure engineer in large financial services companies working on authentication systems, distributed caching, and multi region deployments using IaC and CI/CD to name a few. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, sight seeing and backyard astronomy.

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