Equinix launches 'time as a service' for when every second counts

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Digital infrastructure company Equinix announced a new "Time-as-a-Service" tool that allows businesses to bypass the internet or GPS infrastructure when it comes to properly tracking time.

Equinix Precision Time is reportedly an industry-first, with the company saying it provides greater speeds, better synchronization, and more security for businesses that rely on precise, reliable, and secure time sync.

The feature, delivered via the company's Equinix Fabric offering, eliminates the need to rely on the public internet or GPS antennas for time synchronization. The company argues that GPS infrastructure can be expensive and hard to install, while sourcing time from the public internet could be risky from a cybersecurity perspective.

Cutting costs and staying secure

Equinix says the need for such a service is evident in many industries, with financial services companies such as high-frequency trading platforms, banks and brokerages relying on precise time tracking to maintain an ordered sequence of transactions.

Gaming sites and e-sports could also use the service to track the chronological order of play in multiplayer games, media companies can use it to better synchronize audio and video feeds and eliminate lip-sync errors, and even governments can use it to maintain network synchronization of mission-critical networks, Equinix claims. 

Equinix says it manages and maintains a redundant stack of GPS Antennas, time servers with atomic clock holdover, and grandmaster clocks to deliver the service, and claims it takes mere minutes to install it. Equinix Precision Time supports network timing protocols such as NTP and PTP, the company added.

In terms of compliance, Equinix says it complies with the time sync requirements of FINRA and MiFID II, which require a Service Level Agreement (SLA) of 100 microseconds when it comes to application timestamping, by offering a 50 microseconds SLA. It also claims to be compliant with SMPTE 2110.

Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.