New Time-as-a-Service Keeps Edge Apps in Synch

Image credit: iStockphoto/Sonja Filitz

A significant challenge about running applications at the edge is time synchronization. It allows companies running these applications to meet compliance requirements and support seamless operations of their digital infrastructure.

For online gaming, government, manufacturing, financial services, and media and entertainment companies, time synchronization is an urgent problem that needs addressing. Yet, they face security vulnerabilities and complexities that come with installing costly antenna-based GPS timing infrastructure solutions and sourcing time from the internet.  

“Time and time services are ubiquitous and more valuable today than many business leaders realize. Nonetheless, existing approaches to procuring, provisioning, and managing time-based infrastructure can entail considerable cost and complexity. As application environments and business needs evolve, those challenges are likely to grow, especially in relation to the security risks and vulnerabilities of using internet-based time resources,” said Brad Casemore, vice president for data center networks at IDC.

Equinix offers a cost-effective alternative that it claims can improve application efficiency and network agility while relying less on the internet and GPS antennas for time synchronization.

Called Equinix Precision Time and offered globally as a value-added edge service on Platform Equinix, Equinix claims it is the industry’s first Time-as-a-Service that allows companies to synchronize their applications at the edge

“With the launch of Equinix Precision Time, Equinix is further extending its capabilities to help meet the time-related needs of enterprise customers, many of which already use the global Equinix Fabric and will welcome the introduction of this new service,” said Casemore.

Equinix Precision Time is delivered via Equinix Fabric. Key benefits include:

  • Accuracy – The service provides microsecond-level precision for Precision Time Protocol customers with an SLA of 50 microseconds. Equinix Precision Time also offers support for the popular NTP protocol for customers operating standard enterprise network infrastructure, providing the flexibility to choose the optimal time protocol that suits their organization’s operational needs.
  • Compliant – It complies with the time synchronization accuracy requirements of FINRA and MiFID II, which have SLA requirements of 100 microseconds for timestamping applications. It is also compliant with the time synchronization accuracy requirements of SMPTE 2110 requirements. 
  • Reliable and Secure – Delivered over Equinix Fabric, customers can bypass the public internet to achieve more secure and reliable time synchronization across servers using private IP network connectivity.
  • Speed to market and CAPEX savings – Without incurring up-front capital costs, customers can use Equinix Precision Time Portal to configure and rapidly deploy the Equinix Precision Time service. Equinix manages and maintains a redundant stack of GPS Antennas, time servers with atomic clock holdover, and grandmaster clocks.

The integration with Equinix Fabric also allows companies to tap into the rich digital ecosystems and seamlessly connect with other physical or virtual services available on the Equinix platform.

“With the launch of Equinix Precision Time, we’re continuing to evolve Platform Equinix with an industry-first, Time as a Service offering that echoes the consistent promise of accuracy, security, reliability, and rapid provisioning that our customers have come to expect from Equinix,” said Bill Long, senior vice president for core product management at Equinix.

“For global businesses that require highly accurate time services to run critical applications, Equinix Precision Time delivered over Equinix Fabric is essential for synchronizing time across servers in a matter of minutes and helping digital leaders gain a competitive advantage by tapping into the full value of our platform,” he added.

Image credit: iStockphoto/Sonja Filitz