4 Essential Attributes of a Time Synchronization Solution

Why Equinix Precision Time is expanding our geographical reach to deliver even greater accuracy, reliability, security and ease of consumption

Ramki Ramakrishnan
Nicole Shum
4 Essential Attributes of a Time Synchronization Solution

Time synchronization for IT systems has become vital in a world where microsecond-level accuracy counts. Consider industries like financial services, where maintaining an ordered sequence of transactions is required for regulatory compliance. Or gaming, where the chronological order of play from multiple players needs to be precise. And what about broadcasting? Customer media experiences rely on perfectly synced audio and video feeds.

For these and other use cases, organizations use time synchronization or Time as a Service (TaaS) tools to synchronize system clocks across the enterprise IT landscape. To deliver on their promise, time sync solutions need to meet certain criteria that users have identified as essential in a time sync service.

In this blog post, we’ll talk about the top four attributes of an ideal timing service and look at how our TaaS solution, Equinix Precision Time™, addresses each of them. Our recent expansion into several new geographies further demonstrates our commitment to helping customers meet their need for accurate, reliable, secure time synchronization. And as a bonus: We’ve made ordering Precision Time even easier—so enterprise IT teams can focus more energy on innovation and growth.

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4 key attributes in a time sync tool

Again and again, timing service users ask for four key traits in their TaaS solutions: accuracy, reliability, security and ease of consumption. Let’s take a closer look at why those characteristics stand out and what you should look for in an ideal timing solution:

1. Accuracy

It’s not surprising that accuracy tops the list of essential attributes for a time sync tool. In fact, “precision” is in the name of our product for a reason. That’s because high accuracy is indispensable for timing customers. As application speeds accelerate, transactions that once took a few seconds now move at millisecond and microsecond speeds—even nanoseconds. The faster our IT systems move, the more important it will be for enterprise applications to be precisely synced in time.

Today, you can look for accuracy in the microsecond-level range in time sync solutions, and no doubt, it will keep getting faster. Equinix Precision Time delivers Precision Time Protocol (PTP) SLA accuracy of more than 50 microseconds.

2. Reliability

When it comes to IT systems, reliable performance is a must. Even minor outages, delays or disappointing user experiences can damage a company’s reputation or bottom line. Therefore, you need IT solutions you can count on. Reliability in a time sync solution means that the tool is highly available and performs according to established standards. Equinix Precision Time offers 99.999% availability and is delivered via Equinix Fabric® virtual interconnection services, with Fabric port redundancy for greater availability.

3. Security

Attacks on global national satellite system (GNSS) signals, including GPS, can threaten infrastructure timing, as can bad actors, so security has become increasingly important for time sync tools. Having a robust time stamping and log file is also essential for security incident event management (SIEM). You need a time sync tool that enables advanced network forensics for the sake of your network security—especially in enterprise-scale digital infrastructure. Equinix Precision Time provides industry-leading jamming and spoofing threat mitigation as well as MD5 authentication, which adds a layer of security for Network Time Protocol (NTP) customers by guaranteeing packets are from a valid NTP client or server.

4. Ease of consumption

And finally, a TaaS tool needs to be easy to use. Most time synchronization solution users aren’t timing experts or electrical engineers. Instead, they have other priorities on their plates around maintaining enterprise infrastructure. Therefore, an ideal time sync solution should be easy to use. Delivering time on demand, as a fully managed service, means that users can quickly and easily access what they need. Equinix Precision Time is delivered as a service to make using it seamless for our customers—and we’ve recently made some changes to our consumption model to further help you access the service.

Instead of having a separate portal, Precision Time is now available via the Equinix Fabric portal. If you already have a variety of interconnections through Equinix Fabric and use Network Edge virtual networking services, you’re familiar with the Equinix Fabric portal. To simplify consumption of our digital services and save you time and effort, we’ve integrated the portals, which frees you up to focus even more on your digital transformation.

Check out the following demo on how to order Precision Time services via the Equinix Fabric portal:


How expanding into new regions reinforces TaaS benefits

Equinix Precision Time is designed to deliver on all four of the key attributes identified above. And we’re doubling down on that commitment by continuing our expansion into new regions. We’ve recently made Precision Time locally available in Amsterdam, Singapore, Sydney and Toronto.

There are several ways that geo-expansion supports time sync accuracy, reliability, security and ease of consumption. Locally sourced time can deliver better accuracy and stability. In some countries, users want or need to access time from within their country for geopolitical reasons or because local access supports regulatory compliance requirements for their industry. Having timing infrastructure in more locations also increases resiliency and security. If you’re running mission-critical workloads in a hybrid infrastructure, for example, availability, resiliency and security are all the more critical, and locally sourced timing infrastructure can bolster these benefits.

To learn more about how Equinix Precision Time provides accurate, reliable, secure and easy-to-consume timing services, download the Equinix Precision Time data sheet.

Ramki Ramakrishnan Director Product Management, Equinix Precision Time Service
Nicole Shum Global Product Marketing, Equinix Fabric
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