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Having the correct time is a prerequisite for file system logging

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The importance of time on an NFS server

Synchronising an accurate and identical time for file system logging

The integrity of any file system depends on the names and dates of the files, including information on the date of creation, last access, last archive and last modification.

In a distributed file sharing system, a master file is kept by an NFS (Network File System) server, for use by remote clients.

NFS depends on the network time: when it handles duplicate files, it saves the last copy. However, if a client timestamps a remotely accessible file with a time prior to the time of the file stored on the server, the client file, along with any changes, will be deleted.

It is therefore necessary to have the same reference time at every point of your infrastructure.

Analysis of log files and log reports

Guaranteeing reliable and precise timestamping for the analysis of all computer processing

The log files of your servers and the logs on your hardware allow you to evaluate the activities on your infrastructure. Because the (log) reports are a compilation of information from different devices, a precise timestamp is essential for a precise analysis in the event of a malfunction.

Similarly, system error messages rely on network time synchronisation for accurate time stamps to give sense to the data.

It is often only when a problem arises that organisations become aware of the importance of time synchronisation (either as a contributing factor to the problem itself or as a tool with which to diagnose the problem).

Having a time server allows for accurate time stamping and the correct time information everywhere in your infrastructure. This ensures that your logging system works properly and that you have reliable elements to analyse and correlate events with each other in the event of an investigation.

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