What is the Challenge ?
Today’s data center applications — ranging from 5G networks to financial services to online gaming — require more intelligence at the network edge. They have exceptional real-time requirements and are extremely sensitive to delays.
- Data Consistency – Keeping all database replications perfectly harmonized in a distributed architecture necessitates timing synchronization among servers within a data center as well as between data centers, even those that are thousands of miles apart.
- Electronic Trading – Timestamps are of critical importance to prove exactly when a transaction took place and precisely track the exact order of a series of transactions, including those that occurred in other cloud-connected data centers.
- Multimedia Applications – Smooth and glitch-free audio and video streamed for business purposes or online gaming depends on timing synchronization.
- Industrial Applications – With the rise of private 5G networks in factory settings, controllers and computers cannot properly sequence manufacturing tasks without precise timing synchronization.
These are just some of the ways that having a reliable and widely available source of time is essential to data center operations. STL is there to optimize performance, increase reliability, and improve security.
Common Struggles of Data Centers
Engineering and operations personnel responsible for designing and running today’s most modern and sophisticated data centers are aware that things can go wrong without proper timing synchronization. Some typical examples:
- Network Time Protocol (NTP) frequently fails to deliver the accuracy needed for today’s time-sensitive applications.
- Precision Time Protocol (PTP) offers better accuracy than NTP but relying on PTP to provide time to distant applications and appliances at the network edge too often introduces an accumulated timing error.
- Using GPS/GNSS as a source of time is challenging within indoor locations where the signal has a hard time reaching without outdoor antennas that are difficult and expensive to install and maintain.
- Having a backup source of time is essential. However, establishing redundant GPS/GNSS sources is burdensome and expensive — and it usually fails to deliver true resilience.
If these problems sound familiar, then it’s time to consider a timing solution from Satelles. STL is easy to connect and simple to configure, it operates indoors and in occluded environments, and it just works.
STL is the Solution
With STL, data center managers can count on dependable timing synchronization throughout their facility.
STL solutions work indoors, so antenna location is more flexible, thus reducing hassle and saving money while increasing end user satisfaction regarding performance and reliability.
More flexible and convenient than PTP (which too often fails to meet timing needs because it traverses too many network hops due to unknown fiber runs), STL is a timing source that can be deployed close to the network edge where distributed compute processes need to be synchronized.
Why STL is Perfect for Data Centers
STL is traceable to UTC and can be used to discipline a primary reference clock (PRC) to ensure persistent accuracy to UTC.
STL can provide timing synchronization with an indoor antenna , thereby eliminating some of the unknowns and costs related to making a cable run to a rooftop antenna. That’s essential when outdoor GNSS antennas are impractical to install or not permitted. STL is 30 dB stronger signal than GPS, so it can penetrate areas difficult for GPS to reach, plus it is not affected by signal multipath.
STL can operate in parallel with GNSS to constantly monitor for timing agreement, and there are solutions that allow systems to fail over to STL if a GNSS compromise is detected. Of course, STL can also be configured as the primary source of time rather than GNSS.
The STL signal is 1,000 times stronger than GNSS, and it has cryptographic protections. These features make STL more difficult to disrupt or manipulate and thus capable of increasing the resilience of time-dependent applications.
Customers want redundancy, but what good is a second GPS receiver if GPS itself is degraded or denied? STL is a distinct source of timing that works when GPS doesn’t, so it provides exceptional resilience.
Satelles STL Systems Meet Data Center Needs
Satelles works with partners to manufacture a portfolio of STL-capable products. STL receivers are available in multiple form factors with a range of performance specifications and operational characteristics to work in several deployment environments.
Get the Specifics:
- Watch our one-minute video for a quick overview of STL
- View our data sheet for our system specifications, including stability of 20 to 100 nanoseconds and timing traceable to UTC(USNO) and UTC(NIST)
Connect with us to learn more about how STL satisfies the timing synchronization requirements for data centers.