Press Releases

TimeKeeper 5.0 Addresses “Fragility of Time”, Improves Time Security

September 19th 2011 · 3 min read

AUSTIN, TX, Sep 19, 2011—FSMLabs(R) today announced the 5.0 release of TimeKeeper(TM), its groundbreaking time synchronization software for high-frequency trading and other applications requiring extreme time precision. Addressing the fragility of certain time architectures in maintaining precise time, TimeKeeper 5.0 improves system security by tracking multiple time channels to identify and react to time performance problems. In addition, it offers the ability to bridge precision time over multiple networks.

“Most people simply assume that their time sources are correct, but this is not always the case,” said Victor Yodaiken, CEO of FSMLabs. “Antennas may be broken or blocked. Time signals are relatively easy to spoof. Master clocks or wiring can simply break down. Until our 5.0 version, there was no way to know if part of the system is failing. In addition, PTP architectures are more prone to failure than the older NTP systems. The more important precision time is to an operation, the more potential damage can occur. An obvious example is the problem of trading algorithms that start behaving erratically because an overheated server is repeatedly falling behind by microseconds, despite synchronization.”

TimeKeeper 5.0 offers the ability to monitor multiple time distribution channels, even those operating on different time distribution standards or of different quality due to distance or network issues. As an example, a TimeKeeper client may monitor two different Precision Time Protocol (PTP) “master clocks” and three different Network Time Protocol (NTP) servers. In addition, if the time quality of TimeKeeper’s primary sources becomes questionable, TimeKeeper can now switch from tracking one time source to another, according to a fail-over list provided at configuration time.

TimeKeeper produces a detailed log for each monitored time source including data on the dynamics of the internal time synchronization model. This data-rich log can be used both for documenting system state and for multi-source analysis that can expose failing time sources. Under development now, the coming TimeKeeper 5.1 will include software for automatically switching from compromised time sources based on security analysis.

“It’s important to note that none of the alternative synchronizing software in the market, as far as we know, has this capability—a capability made more comprehensive with TimeKeeper’s multiple source technology—but that also leverages TimeKeeper’s self-management of time adjustment,” said Yodaiken. “Other time synchronization software trusts the operating system to adjust time, making the actual operation something like a black box. This new version of TimeKeeper opens up that operation, so that performance analysis is possible.”

Another new feature of TimeKeeper 5.0 is the option to function as a boundary clock. The boundary clock is a server which syncs directly with the master clock and serves as a time hub for other networks. It reduces or eliminates network-related degradation and message latency that occurs when time messaging is simply extended farther and farther from the primary source. It also enables more distant and potentially lower-quality sources to be monitored and synchronized with the primary time source.

The advances of TimeKeeper 5.0 were developed in response to customer requests and also to address emerging concerns of regulators, risk managers, and security agencies concerning the security of time data. Future development in TimeKeeper will add to time-monitoring capabilities and security-related functions of the time network.

For more information or a demonstration of TimeKeeper 5.0, contact FSMLabs at

About FSMLabs

With more than 12 years as a provider of real-time operating systems and software solutions, FSMLabs serves industries such as avionics, robotics, and finance, where time is a mission-critical resource. Current innovations include real-time enhancements to off-the-shelf operating systems and TimeKeeper, the groundbreaking software for accurate distribution and synchronization of time data from reference clocks to the application layer in networked environments. FSMLabs is a privately held firm headquartered in Austin, Texas. For more information, visit

TimeKeeper is a trademark of FSMLabs Inc. FSMLabs is a registered trademark of Finite State Machine Labs Inc.

Kathleen Hawk
Clearview PR