Best way to sync time on a Linux machine

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Operating Systems Linux Red Hat Best way to sync time on a Linux machine
# 1  
Old 10-01-2013
Best way to sync time on a Linux machine

I wanted to know which should be the best way to sync time for a linux machine. We have an application server and a database server, both using RHEL 5.8 as the OS. It is important that the time on both these servers match together and also sync with a common time source. As per my knowledge, these are the 2 ways which can be explained as follows considering the common source as, it can also be assumed that & are the hostnames of the other 2 machines

1) Add a cron job with the command, ntpdate to sync with the time on The cron job could be scheduled once a day something as follows:

* 1 * * * /usr/sbin/ntpdate -b

2) Configure the /etc/ntp.conf on the 2 machines, & to include the line like:

and line


for and vice-versa for

There are few observations in this also:

1) By adding server, it should be aligning the time with public time server but would it be reliable?

2) By including the peer, should it help maintaining the time for & to be close to each other. This would mean that the 3 machines in picture including the server would have a time close to each other.

I had put this query in another forum but I have not got any replies from that.

I hope my question is clear.

Please revert with the reply to my query.


---------- Post updated 10-01-13 at 12:03 AM ---------- Previous update was 09-30-13 at 01:29 AM ----------

Request people in this forum to please revert.


Last edited by Scrutinizer; 10-01-2013 at 04:11 AM.. Reason: ct
# 2  
Old 10-01-2013
I'm not commenting on your approach in general. But, if you are in an area that observes daylight savings time shifts or the server you're connecting to as a time server is in an area that observes daylight savings time shifts, NEVER use 1am or 2am or anytime between 1am and 2am as the time to kick off a cron job to synchronize times.
# 3  
Old 10-01-2013
Don't bother with the peer line, just let the two servers sync to a reliable common time source, using the same ntp.conf. There are many examples in the documentation how to set this up. If the local clock of the servers is too far off, then initially servers will have trouble syncing, that is why usually when a server boots the ntpd start script first performs an ntpdate to leap to the right time before ntpd takes over. Once the server's time is in sync with ntpd there should be no need for any further ntpdate commands..
# 4  
Old 10-01-2013
Thanks for your answer. I had 2 points to put fo which I would request elaborate & detailed answers:

1) Are the public servers as put by me a reliable source? Also, I am located in India, so which public server should be ideal as a time source.

2) Is the peer command going to help by having the 3 machines in picture including the server have a time close to each other?


---------- Post updated at 09:16 AM ---------- Previous update was at 09:12 AM ----------

Thanks for your answer but may I request you to please give a detailed &
elaborate answer on what should be the ideal configuration with the scenario given by me in mind.

# 5  
Old 10-01-2013
In general, it would be better to use time servers based in India. See NTP Servers in India ( for example.
# 6  
Old 10-03-2013
You don't need to use cron to run ntpdate - it's a service.

# chkconfig --level 345 ntpdate on

# chkconfig: - 57 75
# description: set the date and time via NTP

# 7  
Old 10-03-2013
Thanks for your answer. Is it possible to know the time on the servers before syncing? the servers mentioned are


I hope my question is clear of knowing the time on the mentioned servers before putting these servers in the configuration files of the NTP service.

Request you to please revert.


---------- Post updated at 03:25 AM ---------- Previous update was at 03:17 AM ----------

My basic requirement was to set the time on my RHEL system to a reference time on another machine like:

ntpdate -b

So, in the scenario mentioned by me above, it should be one of the options to run a cron job.

I hope, my question is clear.


Last edited by Scott; 10-03-2013 at 06:28 AM.. Reason: The next time you post without code tags or bump a post, I will ban you.
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