15.3. Using chrony

15.3.1. Installing chrony

The chrony suite is installed by default on some versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7. If required, to ensure that it is, run the following command as root:
~]# yum install chrony
The default location for the chrony daemon is /usr/sbin/chronyd. The command line utility will be installed to /usr/bin/chronyc.

15.3.2. Checking the Status of chronyd

To check the status of chronyd, issue the following command:
~]$ systemctl status chronyd
chronyd.service - NTP client/server
   Loaded: loaded (/usr/lib/systemd/system/chronyd.service; enabled)
   Active: active (running) since Wed 2013-06-12 22:23:16 CEST; 11h ago

15.3.3. Starting chronyd

To start chronyd, issue the following command as root:
~]# systemctl start chronyd
To ensure chronyd starts automatically at system start, issue the following command as root:
~]# systemctl enable chronyd

15.3.4. Stopping chronyd

To stop chronyd, issue the following command as root:
~]# systemctl stop chronyd
To prevent chronyd from starting automatically at system start, issue the following command as root:
~]# systemctl disable chronyd

15.3.5. Checking if chrony is Synchronized

To check if chrony is synchronized, make use of the tracking, sources, and sourcestats commands.

15.3.5.1. Checking chrony Tracking

To check chrony tracking, issue the following command:
~]$ chronyc tracking
Reference ID    : 1.2.3.4 (a.b.c)
Stratum         : 3
Ref time (UTC)  : Fri Feb  3 15:00:29 2012
System time     : 0.000001501 seconds slow of NTP time
Last offset     : -0.000001632 seconds
RMS offset      : 0.000002360 seconds
Frequency       : 331.898 ppm fast
Residual freq   : 0.004 ppm
Skew            : 0.154 ppm
Root delay      : 0.373169 seconds
Root dispersion : 0.024780 seconds
Update interval : 64.2 seconds
Leap status     : Normal
The fields are as follows:
Reference ID
This is the reference ID and name (or IP address) if available, of the server to which the computer is currently synchronized. If this is 127.127.1.1 it means the computer is not synchronized to any external source and that you have the local mode operating (via the local command in chronyc, or the local directive in the /etc/chrony.conf file (see section local)).
Stratum
The stratum indicates how many hops away from a computer with an attached reference clock we are. Such a computer is a stratum-1 computer, so the computer in the example is two hops away (that is to say, a.b.c is a stratum-2 and is synchronized from a stratum-1).
Ref time
This is the time (UTC) at which the last measurement from the reference source was processed.
System time
In normal operation, chronyd never steps the system clock, because any jump in the timescale can have adverse consequences for certain application programs. Instead, any error in the system clock is corrected by slightly speeding up or slowing down the system clock until the error has been removed, and then returning to the system clock’s normal speed. A consequence of this is that there will be a period when the system clock (as read by other programs using the gettimeofday() system call, or by the date command in the shell) will be different from chronyd's estimate of the current true time (which it reports to NTP clients when it is operating in server mode). The value reported on this line is the difference due to this effect.
Last offset
This is the estimated local offset on the last clock update.
RMS offset
This is a long-term average of the offset value.
Frequency
The frequency is the rate by which the system’s clock would be wrong if chronyd was not correcting it. It is expressed in ppm (parts per million). For example, a value of 1ppm would mean that when the system’s clock thinks it has advanced 1 second, it has actually advanced by 1.000001 seconds relative to true time.
Residual freq
This shows the residual frequency for the currently selected reference source. This reflects any difference between what the measurements from the reference source indicate the frequency should be and the frequency currently being used. The reason this is not always zero is that a smoothing procedure is applied to the frequency. Each time a measurement from the reference source is obtained and a new residual frequency computed, the estimated accuracy of this residual is compared with the estimated accuracy (see skew next) of the existing frequency value. A weighted average is computed for the new frequency, with weights depending on these accuracies. If the measurements from the reference source follow a consistent trend, the residual will be driven to zero over time.
Skew
This is the estimated error bound on the frequency.
Root delay
This is the total of the network path delays to the stratum-1 computer from which the computer is ultimately synchronized. In certain extreme situations, this value can be negative. (This can arise in a symmetric peer arrangement where the computers’ frequencies are not tracking each other and the network delay is very short relative to the turn-around time at each computer.)
Root dispersion
This is the total dispersion accumulated through all the computers back to the stratum-1 computer from which the computer is ultimately synchronized. Dispersion is due to system clock resolution, statistical measurement variations etc.
Leap status
This is the leap status, which can be Normal, Insert second, Delete second or Not synchronized.

15.3.5.2. Checking chrony Sources

The sources command displays information about the current time sources that chronyd is accessing. The optional argument -v can be specified, meaning verbose. In this case, extra caption lines are shown as a reminder of the meanings of the columns.
~]$ chronyc sources
	210 Number of sources = 3
MS Name/IP address         Stratum Poll Reach LastRx Last sample
===============================================================================
#* GPS0                          0   4   377    11   -479ns[ -621ns] +/-  134ns
^? a.b.c                         2   6   377    23   -923us[ -924us] +/-   43ms
^+ d.e.f                         1   6   377    21  -2629us[-2619us] +/-   86ms
The columns are as follows:
M
This indicates the mode of the source. ^ means a server, = means a peer and # indicates a locally connected reference clock.
S
This column indicates the state of the sources. * indicates the source to which chronyd is currently synchronized. + indicates acceptable sources which are combined with the selected source. - indicates acceptable sources which are excluded by the combining algorithm. ? indicates sources to which connectivity has been lost or whose packets do not pass all tests. x indicates a clock which chronyd thinks is a falseticker (its time is inconsistent with a majority of other sources). ~ indicates a source whose time appears to have too much variability. The ? condition is also shown at start-up, until at least 3 samples have been gathered from it.
Name/IP address
This shows the name or the IP address of the source, or reference ID for reference clocks.
Stratum
This shows the stratum of the source, as reported in its most recently received sample. Stratum 1 indicates a computer with a locally attached reference clock. A computer that is synchronized to a stratum 1 computer is at stratum 2. A computer that is synchronized to a stratum 2 computer is at stratum 3, and so on.
Poll
This shows the rate at which the source is being polled, as a base-2 logarithm of the interval in seconds. Thus, a value of 6 would indicate that a measurement is being made every 64 seconds. chronyd automatically varies the polling rate in response to prevailing conditions.
Reach
This shows the source’s reach register printed as an octal number. The register has 8 bits and is updated on every received or missed packet from the source. A value of 377 indicates that a valid reply was received for all of the last eight transmissions.
LastRx
This column shows how long ago the last sample was received from the source. This is normally in seconds. The letters m, h, d or y indicate minutes, hours, days or years. A value of 10 years indicates there were no samples received from this source yet.
Last sample
This column shows the offset between the local clock and the source at the last measurement. The number in the square brackets shows the actual measured offset. This may be suffixed by ns (indicating nanoseconds), us (indicating microseconds), ms (indicating milliseconds), or s (indicating seconds). The number to the left of the square brackets shows the original measurement, adjusted to allow for any slews applied to the local clock since. The number following the +/- indicator shows the margin of error in the measurement. Positive offsets indicate that the local clock is ahead of the source.

15.3.5.3. Checking chrony Source Statistics

The sourcestats command displays information about the drift rate and offset estimation process for each of the sources currently being examined by chronyd. The optional argument -v can be specified, meaning verbose. In this case, extra caption lines are shown as a reminder of the meanings of the columns.
~]$ chronyc sourcestats
210 Number of sources = 1
Name/IP Address            NP  NR  Span  Frequency  Freq Skew  Offset  Std Dev
===============================================================================
abc.def.ghi                11   5   46m     -0.001      0.045      1us    25us
The columns are as follows:
Name/IP address
This is the name or IP address of the NTP server (or peer) or reference ID of the reference clock to which the rest of the line relates.
NP
This is the number of sample points currently being retained for the server. The drift rate and current offset are estimated by performing a linear regression through these points.
NR
This is the number of runs of residuals having the same sign following the last regression. If this number starts to become too small relative to the number of samples, it indicates that a straight line is no longer a good fit to the data. If the number of runs is too low, chronyd discards older samples and re-runs the regression until the number of runs becomes acceptable.
Span
This is the interval between the oldest and newest samples. If no unit is shown the value is in seconds. In the example, the interval is 46 minutes.
Frequency
This is the estimated residual frequency for the server, in parts per million. In this case, the computer’s clock is estimated to be running 1 part in 109 slow relative to the server.
Freq Skew
This is the estimated error bounds on Freq (again in parts per million).
Offset
This is the estimated offset of the source.
Std Dev
This is the estimated sample standard deviation.

15.3.6. Manually Adjusting the System Clock

To update, or step, the system clock immediately, bypassing any adjustments in progress by slewing the clock, issue the following commands as root:
~]# chronyc
chrony> password commandkey-password
200 OK
chrony> makestep
200 OK
Where commandkey-password is the command key or password stored in the key file.
If the rtcfile directive is used, the real-time clock should not be manually adjusted. Random adjustments would interfere with chrony's need to measure the rate at which the real-time clock drifts.
If chronyc is used to configure the local chronyd, the -a will run the authhash and password commands automatically. This means that the interactive session illustrated above can be replaced by:
chronyc -a makestep