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Master Clocks For Data Centers – Everything You Must Know About Its Functionality

Master Clocks For Data Centers – Everything You Must Know About Its Functionality


Master clocks and distributed clock synchronization setups are critical for more than one application. It has a vital role in maintaining distributed SQL databases at data centers. Clock synchronization is an integral approach to maintaining the requirements in a modern data center and cloud infrastructure. The master clock setup has numerous applications including - 

  • It is an integral part of the areas that necessitate an amplified data performance while distributing data into different geographic regions. 
  • It is vital in the dynamic network infrastructure and cloud computing setup with an ever-improving setup. 


A distributed SQL database needs a robust infrastructure with resilient properties for failures. An extensive network with dynamic cloud computing abilities can process queries and transactions simultaneously in a distributed manner. In this process, time synchronization becomes the vital deciding pointer. Master clocks with an enhanced setup for time synchronization across nodes are essential to attain flawless data operations. The ultimate task of the master clock is to bring every clock under control and ensure a synchronized data flow. 


Synchronizing wall clocks across nodes with master clocks


In a distributed system, the concept of time can become haphazard. Each data node follows a distinct time. It is not synchronized with the other nodes. Why? Because nodes with modern timekeeping devices rely on timers developed with quartz crystal oscillators to keep time tracking. These quartz crystals follow a precise frequency. The vibrations of the crystal in the quartz timepieces act like a pendulum or a grandfather clock. The speed may not be equal for all. As a result, the time nodes can lose the synchronized This means that the time across nodes gets out of sync.


Network Time Protocol and master clock 


Network time protocol is a mechanism commonly implemented for synchronizing wall clocks across diverse data nodes. NTP is a globally recognized networking protocol vital for clock synchronization between the cluster nodes. The protocol can synchronize time within a few milliseconds. The functionality of the NTP protocol is incredible under ideal circumstances, but it could reflect deployments in the real world and non-ideal conditions. These non-ideal conditions can include excessive load on the node, asymmetric routes, dynamic network congestion, and data failures, increased clock skews. 


Data center operations - At a glance


Data center operations are diverse. A data center comprises a cluster of systems and workflows with highly functional activities. The extensive data center operations include developing and maintaining dynamic network resources. In fact, a data center is also responsible for cyber security and monitoring systems related to power and cooling. 


The IT requirements of organizations are managed by the data centers. The various different types of data centers differ in size, capacity, etc. The ever-growing demand for cloud computing is pushing data centers to improve. One needs a modernized solution with updated operations of virtualization and automation. 


With the enhanced techniques of cloud computing and the ever-growing pressure to manage IT resources, the automation process at data centers is getting more complex. Currently, the data center focuses on offering an optimized solution with cost efficiency and data functionality. 


The data center components are diverse. It includes computing hardware, network equipment pieces like routers, management systems, data storage, software and applications and power management equipment pieces, and many more. Besides these, the clock setup makes a critical difference. It is integral for time maintenance. 


The Role of NTP and PTP


NTP, or Network Time Protocol, is a term associated with the operations of a master clock. It has become a critical part of network timekeeping. With the ever-developing solutions, the protocols are also coming up with better versions. 


  • The diverse components have a systematic setup, similar to GNSS, ensuring optimal synchronization accuracy. For instance, the primary time servers comprise the first strata. Every strata contain a setup to ensure a one-on-one connection with a Stratum 0 clock. Why? It is to achieve microsecond-level synchronization. In fact, it is essential to connect to the rest of the Stratum 1 servers. These are integral parts of accurate and efficient data backup. 


PTP, or Precision Time Protocol, is another conventional protocol model for network-based time synchronization standards. It is distinct from NTP. The millisecond-level synchronization is absent in PTP networks. Instead, the PTP networks focus on obtaining a nanosecond- or picosecond-level synchronization. 


  • The incredible accuracy of the PTP makes it apt for most commercial and industrial applications. The enhanced solution for time synchronization and timestamping of PTP makes it the best choice. What makes PTP timestamping accurate? The protocol implements hardware timestamping over software. Also, the protocol is a dedicated one, essential for keeping the devices synchronized. 


Final note 


Get a master clock from a reliable manufacturer and ensure optimal time accuracy. Obtain premium solutions for time synchronization for the data center and manage the essentials. Utilize the premium and modern features of the protocols and develop the ideal master and slave clock setup in the data center. 



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