[nSLUG] Why is ntp so terrible?

D G Teed donald.teed at gmail.com
Thu Mar 9 20:58:32 AST 2017

So we have a LAN, with one system designated as the ntp server.
It is set to sync time to a couple of stratum 2 sources.  All other servers
name the local ntp server on the LAN as the ntp source.  After a few weeks
we notice the time everywhere is different.  Some are doing OK, others
are off by quite a few minutes or maybe only 5 minutes.  It doesn't matter
so much that we have the time synced with the NRC atomic clock,
but that time within the LAN is tight.  Services like drive mappings
fail without that feature.

I feel like we could do better running no daemon on the bulk of the systems
and simply cron ntpdate (yeah, deprecated - whatever) to run 4 times a day.
The current ntp performance isn't much worse than not running ntp
and just relying on the system clock.

I normally don't do anything special when installing ntpd.  I use
the default setting in the conf except I customize the server line
to use my local ntpd.

Is anyone else feeling ntp is not performing as designed?
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