Time Synchronisation

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Introduction

In an Active Directory (AD) you must have an accurate time synchronisation. For example, Kerberos requires correct time stamps to prevent replay attacks and the AD uses the time to resolve replication conflicts. The default maximum allowed time deviation in an AD is 5 minutes. If a domain member or domain controller (DC) has a higher or lower time difference, the access is denied. As a result, a user cannot access shares or query the directory.

Samba supports the ntpd from http://ntp.org. The daemon synchronises the time with external sources and enables clients to retrieve the time from the server running the daemon.

Note that ntpd does not support authenticated time synchronisation with Windows 2000 clients.



Configuring Time Synchronisation on a DC

Requirements

  • ntpd >= 4.2.6 from http://www.ntp.org, compiled with enabled signed ntp support (--enable-ntp-signd)
  • Verify the socket permissions on your domain controller (DC). The ntpd daemon must have read permissions in the ntp_signed directory. To list the permissions, enter:
# ls -ld /usr/local/samba/var/lib/ntp_signd/
drwxr-x--- 2 root ntp 4096  1. May 09:30 /usr/local/samba/var/lib/ntp_signd/
To set the permissions, run:
# chown root:ntp /usr/local/samba/var/lib/ntp_signd/
# chmod 750 /usr/local/samba/var/lib/ntp_signd/


Set up the ntpd.conf File on a DC

Typically, the ntpd daemon read its configuration from the /etc/ntpd.conf file.

The following is a minimum ntpd.conf file that synchronises the time with three external NTP server and enables clients to query the time using signed NTP requests:

# Local clock. Note that is not the "localhost" address!
server 127.127.1.0
fudge  127.127.1.0 stratum 10

# Where to retrieve the time from
server 0.pool.ntp.org     iburst prefer
server 1.pool.ntp.org     iburst prefer
server 2.pool.ntp.org     iburst prefer

driftfile       /var/lib/ntp/ntp.drift
logfile         /var/log/ntp
ntpsigndsocket  /usr/local/samba/var/lib/ntp_signd/

# Access control
# Default restriction: Allow clients only to query the time
restrict default kod nomodify notrap nopeer mssntp

# No restrictions for "localhost"
restrict 127.0.0.1

# Enable the time sources to only provide time to this host
restrict 0.pool.ntp.org   mask 255.255.255.255    nomodify notrap nopeer noquery
restrict 1.pool.ntp.org   mask 255.255.255.255    nomodify notrap nopeer noquery
restrict 2.pool.ntp.org   mask 255.255.255.255    nomodify notrap nopeer noquery

For further information about the ntpd access control, see http://support.ntp.org/bin/view/Support/AccessRestrictions.

If you have SELinux enabled on your server, see Time Synchronisation - SELinux Labeling and Policy.



Configuring Time Synchronisation on a Unix Domain Member

Requirements


Set up the ntpd.conf File on a Unix Domain Member

Typically, the ntpd daemon reads its configuration, depending on the operating system, from the /etc/ntpd.conf or /etc/ntp.conf file.

The following is a minimum conf file that synchronises the time with the Samba Active Directory (AD) domain controllers (DC) DC1 and DC2 and does not provide time services for other hosts.

# Local clock. Note that is not the "localhost" address!
server 127.127.1.0
fudge  127.127.1.0 stratum 10

# Where to retrieve the time from
server DC1.samdom.example.com     iburst prefer
server DC2.samdom.example.com     iburst

driftfile /var/lib/ntp/ntp.drift
logfile   /var/log/ntp

# Access control
# Default restriction: Disallow everything
restrict default ignore

# No restrictions for "localhost"
restrict 127.0.0.1

# Enable the time sources only to only provide time to this host
restrict DC1.samdom.example.com   mask 255.255.255.255    nomodify notrap nopeer noquery
restrict DC2.samdom.example.com   mask 255.255.255.255    nomodify notrap nopeer noquery

For further information about the ntpd access control, see http://support.ntp.org/bin/view/Support/AccessRestrictions.


Configuring Time Synchronisation on a Windows Domain Member

Default Time Source

Windows AD domain members use the DC holding the PDC emulator FSMO role as default time source. For more information about the time synchronisation and hierarchy in an AD, see http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc773013%28v=ws.10%29.aspx#w2k3tr_times_how_izcr.


Setting User Defined Time Sources and Options

To create a group policy object (GPO) to for setting a user defined NTP time source and options:

  • Log in to a computer using an account that is allowed you to edit group policies, such as the AD domain Administrator account.
  • Open the Group Policy Management Console. If you are not having the Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) installed on this computer, see Installing RSAT.
  • Right-click to your AD domain and select Create a GPO in this domain, and Link it here.
  • Enter a name for the GPO, such as Time Sources. The new GPO is shown below the domain entry.
  • Right-click to the newly-created GPO and select Edit to open the Group Policy Management Editor.
  • Navigate to the Computer ConfigurationPoliciesAdministrative TemplatesSystemWindows Time ServiceTime Providers entry.
  • Double-click to the Configure Windows NTP Client policy to edit:
  • Enable the policy and set the following options:
  • Enter the fully-quallified domain name (FQDN) of the NTP server to the NtpServer field and and append the 0x9 flag. For example:
GPO Windows NTP Client Options.png
  • Keep the NT5DS type setting.
  • Update the additional parameters, if necessary.


Enable Windows NTP Client

In order for the above settings to have any effect, you will need to enable the Windows NTP client on the client machines. This can be done on via group policy as follows:

  • Navigate to the Computer ConfigurationPoliciesAdministrative TemplatesSystemWindows Time ServiceTime Providers entry.
  • Double-click to the Enable Windows NTP Client policy to edit:

GPO Windows NTP Client Enable.png


  • Enable the policy (there are no options to set).
  • Close the policy properties by clicking OK. The GPO is automatically saved on the Sysvol share on the domain controller (DC).


  • Close the Group Policy Management Editor.
  • Close the Group Policy Management Console.