I just signed up to Dreamhost tonight. My desktop has an NTP client, which means my computer synchronizes the time with the US Navy’s directorate of time (which used to be an atomic clock but they changed the configuration around). Anyhow, my desktop is time accurate to a few seconds, probably less than a second drift.
So I log onto western.dreamhost.com for the first time and do a “date” and I see -
Sat Sep 10 20:28:22 PDT 2005
The problem is this is not the correct time, the correct time would be:
Sat Sep 10 20:33:04 PDT 2005
So the time, the web logs and whatnot on western (and all of the web sites hosted on it) are off by 282 seconds or so. That means all our web logs and whatnot are off by 282 seconds. And I would guess this number is increasing every day.
Let’s say the host has massive clock drift - 4 seconds a day. That means the time has not been corrected for 70 days. Let’s say there is only one second clock drift. That means the time has not been corrected for 282 days.
It would be nice if NTP was implemented on western.dreamhost.com. That way, if my web logs say someone hit my web site at 3 PM, I would know they hit the web site at 3:00:00 PM, not 3:04:42 PM. Clock drift of a few seconds can usually be accommodated, clock drift of 4 minutes, 42 seconds, with an increase of x seconds a day, is hard to accommodate.
Aside from letting us have more accurate web logs and whatnot, having a correct time is helpful to sysadmins as well. If you are trying to track down a bug, you can compare the Cisco access logs to the logs on the host, compare times and whatnot. This is hard to do when the clocks are spinning wildly in different directions, one too slow by a few seconds a day, one too fast by a few seconds a day.