Can anyone interpret these loopstats? - NTP

This is a discussion on Can anyone interpret these loopstats? - NTP ; Folks, I've been monitoring my Windows Vista system using the Meinberg distribution NTP, and it seems to have a peculiar behaviour of alternate good and bad timekeeping: http://www.david-taylor.myby.co.uk/mrtg/gemini_ntp.html Can anyone who understands loopstats and peerstats better than I do explain ...

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Thread: Can anyone interpret these loopstats?

  1. Can anyone interpret these loopstats?

    Folks,

    I've been monitoring my Windows Vista system using the Meinberg
    distribution NTP, and it seems to have a peculiar behaviour of alternate
    good and bad timekeeping:

    http://www.david-taylor.myby.co.uk/mrtg/gemini_ntp.html

    Can anyone who understands loopstats and peerstats better than I do
    explain what's going on. The files are here:

    http://www.david-taylor.myby.co.uk/g...ista-stats.zip

    In the event log NTP is showing errors: "Unable to initialise the .rnd
    file", but I don't think that's key to the operation of NTP itself. The
    NTP service shows as running, and the W32time service as stopped.

    Thanks,
    Puzzled from Edinburgh (a.k.a. David)



  2. Re: Can anyone interpret these loopstats?

    David J Taylor wrote:
    > Folks,
    >
    > I've been monitoring my Windows Vista system using the Meinberg
    > distribution NTP, and it seems to have a peculiar behaviour of alternate
    > good and bad timekeeping:
    >
    > http://www.david-taylor.myby.co.uk/mrtg/gemini_ntp.html
    >
    > Can anyone who understands loopstats and peerstats better than I do
    > explain what's going on. The files are here:
    >
    > http://www.david-taylor.myby.co.uk/g...ista-stats.zip
    >
    > In the event log NTP is showing errors: "Unable to initialise the .rnd
    > file", but I don't think that's key to the operation of NTP itself. The
    > NTP service shows as running, and the W32time service as stopped.
    >
    > Thanks,
    > Puzzled from Edinburgh (a.k.a. David)
    >
    >


    How about your ntp.conf? What does your ntpq -p banner look like?

    I would make a small bet that the network between you and your upstream
    servers is a real mess but looking only at your graphs doesn't tell me
    much more than that.

    I'm rather puzzled by the timing of the relatively flat period on your
    daily graph. It seems that you are getting the best performance between
    about 11 AM and 9:30 PM. I would expect the network to be busiest
    during that period and consequently I would expect to see the worst
    performance during that period.

    What happened on Friday of week 45? It looks as if that was about the
    time everything turned to worms!


  3. Re: Can anyone interpret these loopstats?

    David J Taylor wrote:
    > Folks,


    (...)

    > In the event log NTP is showing errors: "Unable to initialise the .rnd
    > file", but I don't think that's key to the operation of NTP itself. The
    > NTP service shows as running, and the W32time service as stopped.


    Hello Devid--

    You could find a GNU/linux or freebsd system with openssl installed:

    # openssl rand 1024 > x

    ....then move the file "x" to someplace your "other os" ntp can find it
    with the name "dot rnd" (not sure if you can specify another name).

    Not sure about the data plot question. They don't look that bad to me,
    actually.

    //Steve

  4. Re: Can anyone interpret these loopstats?

    "rtxo" wrote in message
    news:13kecijgavaarf8@corp.supernews.com...
    > David J Taylor wrote:


    >> In the event log NTP is showing errors: "Unable to initialise the .rnd
    >> file", but I don't think that's key to the operation of NTP itself.
    >> The NTP service shows as running, and the W32time service as stopped.


    > You could find a GNU/linux or freebsd system with openssl installed:
    >
    > # openssl rand 1024 > x
    >
    > ...then move the file "x" to someplace your "other os" ntp can find it
    > with the name "dot rnd" (not sure if you can specify another name).


    There's an environment variable 'RANDFILE' on my system with a likely-
    looking path. OTOH, it may be for PuTTY.

    Groetjes,
    Maarten Wiltink



  5. Re: Can anyone interpret these loopstats?

    Richard B. Gilbert wrote:
    > David J Taylor wrote:
    >> Folks,
    >>
    >> I've been monitoring my Windows Vista system using the Meinberg
    >> distribution NTP, and it seems to have a peculiar behaviour of
    >> alternate good and bad timekeeping:
    >>
    >> http://www.david-taylor.myby.co.uk/mrtg/gemini_ntp.html
    >>
    >> Can anyone who understands loopstats and peerstats better than I do
    >> explain what's going on. The files are here:
    >>
    >> http://www.david-taylor.myby.co.uk/g...ista-stats.zip
    >>
    >> In the event log NTP is showing errors: "Unable to initialise the
    >> .rnd file", but I don't think that's key to the operation of NTP
    >> itself. The NTP service shows as running, and the W32time service
    >> as stopped. Thanks,
    >> Puzzled from Edinburgh (a.k.a. David)
    >>
    >>

    >
    > How about your ntp.conf? What does your ntpq -p banner look like?
    >
    > I would make a small bet that the network between you and your
    > upstream servers is a real mess but looking only at your graphs
    > doesn't tell me much more than that.


    Richard, thanks for that, but the network is very clean. The upstream
    server is a GPS-synced device, and the performance can be seen before the
    Vista upgrade at the end of week 45. Very flat. The ntpd.conf is
    essentially unaltered, and whnever I check the banner shows the PC as
    synced to the GPS stratum one server.

    > I'm rather puzzled by the timing of the relatively flat period on your
    > daily graph. It seems that you are getting the best performance
    > between about 11 AM and 9:30 PM. I would expect the network to be
    > busiest during that period and consequently I would expect to see the
    > worst performance during that period.


    Yes, I don't think it's network related at all. To me, it seems almost
    that there are two sync sources at work, and I'm seeing the beat between
    them. But, no, the W32time service is stopped. It puzzled me, so I
    asked. You can see the network load into that PC here:

    http://www.david-taylor.myby.co.uk/mrtg/gemini.html

    Normally, very light. The software tasks now running under Vista are
    basically the same as those running under XP before, and the same versions
    of the software.

    > What happened on Friday of week 45? It looks as if that was about the
    > time everything turned to worms!


    That was when the PC had Vista installed (fresh, not upgrade). I was
    hoping that Heiko might look at this, as he reported "good" performance
    with Vista much earlier this year.

    Cheers,
    David



  6. Re: Can anyone interpret these loopstats?

    rtxo wrote:
    []
    > Hello Devid--
    >
    > You could find a GNU/linux or freebsd system with openssl installed:
    >
    > # openssl rand 1024 > x
    >
    > ...then move the file "x" to someplace your "other os" ntp can find it
    > with the name "dot rnd" (not sure if you can specify another name).
    >
    > Not sure about the data plot question. They don't look that bad to me,
    > actually.
    >
    > //Steve


    Thanks, Steve. I stole a .rnd file off one of my other systems and copied
    it. We'll see if it makes any difference. I've just given the file full
    access to everyone, as Windows Vista is very protective about programs
    writing in the root directory of a hard disk. The Windows OpenSSL seems
    to require C:\.rnd

    Cheers,
    David



  7. Re: Can anyone interpret these loopstats?

    Maarten Wiltink wrote:
    []
    > There's an environment variable 'RANDFILE' on my system with a likely-
    > looking path. OTOH, it may be for PuTTY.
    >
    > Groetjes,
    > Maarten Wiltink


    Thanks, Maarten. Nothing like that on Windows, it appears.

    Cheers,
    David



  8. Re: Can anyone interpret these loopstats?

    Maarten Wiltink wrote:
    > "rtxo" wrote in message
    > news:13kecijgavaarf8@corp.supernews.com...
    >> David J Taylor wrote:

    >
    >>> In the event log NTP is showing errors: "Unable to initialise the .rnd
    >>> file", but I don't think that's key to the operation of NTP itself.
    >>> The NTP service shows as running, and the W32time service as stopped.

    >
    >> You could find a GNU/linux or freebsd system with openssl installed:
    >>
    >> # openssl rand 1024 > x
    >>
    >> ...then move the file "x" to someplace your "other os" ntp can find it
    >> with the name "dot rnd" (not sure if you can specify another name).

    >
    > There's an environment variable 'RANDFILE' on my system with a likely-
    > looking path. OTOH, it may be for PuTTY.
    >


    Yes but remember (if you knew) that on Windows and ntpd runs under it's
    own account as a service. You need to get RANDFILE defined for the
    account and it's not a account you can log onto. If you define it
    globally, everyone gets it. The alternative is to put it in the home
    directory of the account which looks something like X:\Documents and
    Settings\ntpd\ where X: is the appropriate drive. YMMV.

    Danny

    > Groetjes,
    > Maarten Wiltink


  9. Re: Can anyone interpret these loopstats?

    David J Taylor wrote:
    > Thanks, Steve. I stole a .rnd file off one of my other systems and copied
    > it. We'll see if it makes any difference. I've just given the file full
    > access to everyone, as Windows Vista is very protective about programs
    > writing in the root directory of a hard disk. The Windows OpenSSL seems
    > to require C:\.rnd


    The locations that it looks for the file are fully described in
    html/hints/winnt.html

    Danny

  10. Re: Can anyone interpret these loopstats?

    Danny Mayer wrote:
    > David J Taylor wrote:
    >> Thanks, Steve. I stole a .rnd file off one of my other systems and
    >> copied it. We'll see if it makes any difference. I've just given
    >> the file full access to everyone, as Windows Vista is very
    >> protective about programs writing in the root directory of a hard
    >> disk. The Windows OpenSSL seems to require C:\.rnd

    >
    > The locations that it looks for the file are fully described in
    > html/hints/winnt.html
    >
    > Danny


    Thanks, Danny. On the Vista system I'm looking at, neither RANDFILE nor
    HOME are defined (at least for my user account), so C:\.rnd is what is
    used. Would having the .RND file or not make any difference to the
    performance of NTP?

    By the way, with the Meinberg distribution, the page is here:

    \NTP\doc\HTML\build\hints\winnt.html

    Defining that file seems to have made no difference though - sometimes the
    timekeeping is excellent, and sometimes awful. It doesn't seem to depend
    on what I'm doing on the PC, and it has me really puzzled!

    http://www.david-taylor.myby.co.uk/mrtg/gemini_ntp.html

    Checking the ntpq -p output shows all servers at 377 reach, 1024s poll,
    and my local GPS stratum 1 server as the preferred clock with just 1.5msec
    delay.

    Cheers,
    David



  11. Re: Can anyone interpret these loopstats?

    "David J Taylor"
    wrote in message news:5RI1j.52262$c_1.25697@text.news.blueyonder.co .uk...
    > Maarten Wiltink wrote:


    >> There's an environment variable 'RANDFILE' on my system with a likely-
    >> looking path. OTOH, it may be for PuTTY.


    > Thanks, Maarten. Nothing like that on Windows, it appears.


    That _was_ on Windows.

    In response to Danny's remark about the account the NTP daemon runs
    under: yes, you're right and I hadn't spotted that - but there are
    per-user and systemwide environment variables and this one was indeed
    set systemwide to %systemroot%/system32/drivers/etc/.rnd.

    Groetjes,
    Maarten Wiltink



  12. Re: Can anyone interpret these loopstats?

    Maarten Wiltink wrote:
    > "David J Taylor"
    > wrote in
    > message news:5RI1j.52262$c_1.25697@text.news.blueyonder.co .uk...
    >> Maarten Wiltink wrote:

    >
    >>> There's an environment variable 'RANDFILE' on my system with a
    >>> likely- looking path. OTOH, it may be for PuTTY.

    >
    >> Thanks, Maarten. Nothing like that on Windows, it appears.

    >
    > That _was_ on Windows.
    >
    > In response to Danny's remark about the account the NTP daemon runs
    > under: yes, you're right and I hadn't spotted that - but there are
    > per-user and systemwide environment variables and this one was indeed
    > set systemwide to %systemroot%/system32/drivers/etc/.rnd.
    >
    > Groetjes,
    > Maarten Wiltink


    As I should have written "Nothing like that on my Windows, it appears".
    But, yes, it's in the docs somewhere.

    It begs the question: should the RANDFILE environment variable be
    something which Meinberg's installer defines, if it is not otherwise set?

    Cheers,
    David



  13. Re: Can anyone interpret these loopstats?

    On Nov 23, 1:08 pm, "David J Taylor" bit.nor-this-bit.co.uk> wrote:
    > In the event log NTP is showing errors: "Unable to initialise the .rnd
    > file", but I don't think that's key to the operation of NTP itself. The
    > NTP service shows as running, and the W32time service as stopped.
    >
    > Thanks,
    > Puzzled from Edinburgh (a.k.a. David)


    What are the Power Options settings in Vista? Can you try creating a
    custom power profile which prevents processor power management (in
    Vista, every default power profile - even the "High Performance"
    profile - seems to use processor frequency scaling.)

    If things work fine with processor frequency scaling turned off, that
    would be an interesting.

    Besides processor power managmeent, the power management options for
    the Indexing service as well as the multimedia power options could
    potentially affect ntpd, I suppose. (The former because of lost
    interrupts, and I know the Meinberg build uses multimedia timers on
    windows).

  14. Re: Can anyone interpret these loopstats?

    Ryan Malayter wrote:
    > On Nov 23, 1:08 pm, "David J Taylor"
    > wrote:
    >> In the event log NTP is showing errors: "Unable to initialise the
    >> .rnd file", but I don't think that's key to the operation of NTP
    >> itself. The NTP service shows as running, and the W32time service
    >> as stopped.
    >>
    >> Thanks,
    >> Puzzled from Edinburgh (a.k.a. David)

    >
    > What are the Power Options settings in Vista? Can you try creating a
    > custom power profile which prevents processor power management (in
    > Vista, every default power profile - even the "High Performance"
    > profile - seems to use processor frequency scaling.)
    >
    > If things work fine with processor frequency scaling turned off, that
    > would be an interesting.
    >
    > Besides processor power managmeent, the power management options for
    > the Indexing service as well as the multimedia power options could
    > potentially affect ntpd, I suppose. (The former because of lost
    > interrupts, and I know the Meinberg build uses multimedia timers on
    > windows).


    Ryan,

    Some interetsing points there - I've just changed to the High Performance
    plan and, while there are no BIOS or Processor settings there (even with
    the Show Me Everything enabled), the HD turn-off time was 20 minutes by
    default. So I've changed that to Never.

    Let's see what that does....

    Thanks,
    David



  15. Re: Can anyone interpret these loopstats?

    On Nov 26, 4:04 pm, "David J Taylor" bit.nor-this-bit.co.uk> wrote:

    > Ryan,
    >
    > Some interetsing points there - I've just changed to the High Performance
    > plan and, while there are no BIOS or Processor settings there (even with
    > the Show Me Everything enabled), the HD turn-off time was 20 minutes by
    > default. So I've changed that to Never.
    >
    > Let's see what that does....
    >


    Hmm... every Vista PC I've encountered has processor power management
    settings available, but they are horribly buried in the UI, as is the
    new custom in Vista.

    Go to Windows Menu->Control Panel->Power Options. Then click on
    "change plan details" for any plan. Then click on "Change Advanced
    Power Settings" hyperlink, and finally "change power settings that are
    currently unavailable" hyperlink to edit items that require
    administrative control. That will get you to a tree view of all power
    management settings available on the PC. There should be an entry
    called "Processor Power Management".

    Of course, we only have Vista on newer hardware. If you don't see
    those options, can I ask what sort of hardware are you using? Do you
    have power management disabled in your PC's BIOS?

    Regards,
    Ryan

  16. Re: Can anyone interpret these loopstats?

    Ryan Malayter wrote:
    > On Nov 26, 4:04 pm, "David J Taylor"

    []
    > Hmm... every Vista PC I've encountered has processor power management
    > settings available, but they are horribly buried in the UI, as is the
    > new custom in Vista.
    >
    > Go to Windows Menu->Control Panel->Power Options. Then click on
    > "change plan details" for any plan. Then click on "Change Advanced
    > Power Settings" hyperlink, and finally "change power settings that are
    > currently unavailable" hyperlink to edit items that require
    > administrative control. That will get you to a tree view of all power
    > management settings available on the PC. There should be an entry
    > called "Processor Power Management".
    >
    > Of course, we only have Vista on newer hardware. If you don't see
    > those options, can I ask what sort of hardware are you using? Do you
    > have power management disabled in your PC's BIOS?
    >
    > Regards,
    > Ryan


    Ryan,

    Thanks for your continuing interest. I've gone through that, including
    the "unavailable" settings, and there's no "Processor power management" in
    the tree. I'll try and remember to check the BIOS next time I need to
    reboot, but I didn't set up this BIOS from scratch myself. It's a fairly
    recent motherboard: ASUS A8N SLI Deluxe with an AMD 64 X2 4400+ processor.

    Cheers,
    David



  17. Re: Can anyone interpret these loopstats?

    Ryan,

    Ryan Malayter wrote:
    > On Nov 23, 1:08 pm, "David J Taylor" > bit.nor-this-bit.co.uk> wrote:
    >> In the event log NTP is showing errors: "Unable to initialise the .rnd
    >> file", but I don't think that's key to the operation of NTP itself. The
    >> NTP service shows as running, and the W32time service as stopped.
    >>
    >> Thanks,
    >> Puzzled from Edinburgh (a.k.a. David)

    >
    > What are the Power Options settings in Vista? Can you try creating a
    > custom power profile which prevents processor power management (in
    > Vista, every default power profile - even the "High Performance"
    > profile - seems to use processor frequency scaling.)
    >
    > If things work fine with processor frequency scaling turned off, that
    > would be an interesting.


    That's indeed an interesting point.

    > Besides processor power managmeent, the power management options for
    > the Indexing service as well as the multimedia power options could
    > potentially affect ntpd, I suppose. (The former because of lost
    > interrupts, and I know the Meinberg build uses multimedia timers on
    > windows).


    Please note that "the Meinberg build" is based on the official NTP sources.

    The only thing the ntpd port for Windows does with the multimedia timers is
    to set them optionally to highest resolution while the ntpd service is
    running.

    This is just to avoid virtual steps in the system time returned by the
    Windows API calls, when another program changed the MM timer resolution,
    which still happened on Vista when I tried last time.

    This MM feature is only enabled if the "-M" flag is given on the command
    line for ntpd. This can be enabled or disabled in the GUI setup during
    installation, or simply by editing the ntpd's ImagePath registry key. So it
    can easily be disabled to see whether the behaviour changes.

    Martin
    --
    Martin Burnicki

    Meinberg Funkuhren
    Bad Pyrmont
    Germany

  18. Re: Can anyone interpret these loopstats?

    Martin Burnicki wrote:
    []
    > Please note that "the Meinberg build" is based on the official NTP
    > sources.
    >
    > The only thing the ntpd port for Windows does with the multimedia
    > timers is to set them optionally to highest resolution while the ntpd
    > service is running.
    >
    > This is just to avoid virtual steps in the system time returned by the
    > Windows API calls, when another program changed the MM timer
    > resolution, which still happened on Vista when I tried last time.
    >
    > This MM feature is only enabled if the "-M" flag is given on the
    > command line for ntpd. This can be enabled or disabled in the GUI
    > setup during installation, or simply by editing the ntpd's ImagePath
    > registry key. So it can easily be disabled to see whether the
    > behaviour changes.
    >
    > Martin


    Turning off the HD shutdown had no effect (the system is quite busy do HD
    shotdown may never have been invoked), so I'll try removing the -M switch.
    Martin, have you tested with different versions of Vista and found any
    differences?

    In particular, I'm using Vista Ultimate on my testbed right now, and there
    may be differences between the firewall in the different Vista editions
    (not yet sure this is true, though).

    Cheers,
    David



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