Google’s NTP servers now support leap seconds

Google has built support for the leap second into the time servers that regulate all Google services.

“Even better, our Network Time Protocol (NTP) servers are now publicly available to anyone who needs to keep local clocks in sync with VM instances running on Google Compute Engine or to match the time used by Google APIs,” said Google.

Google said its public NTP service is backed by Google’s load balancers and atomic clocks in data centres around the world.

It said no commonly-used operating system is able to handle a minute with 61 seconds and “trying to special-case the leap second has caused many problems in the past”.

“Instead of adding a single extra second to the end of the day, we’ll run the clocks 0.0014% slower across the ten hours before and ten hours after the leap second, and smear the extra second across these twenty hours.”

All Google services will be synchronized on smeared time.

“You’ll also get smeared time for virtual machines on Compute Engine if you follow our recommended settings.”

“You can use non-Google NTP servers if you don’t want your instances to use the leap smear, but don’t mix smearing and non-smearing time servers.”

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Google’s NTP servers now support leap seconds