Xenserver and clock drift

When it comes to a virtual machine’s clock my experience with other virtualization solutions has been that it’s automatically synchronized with the host machine. I didn’t notice until recently that this is not the case with Citrix Xenserver – at least when it comes to PVHVM machines.

I tried installing openntpd on each of my VMs and setting it to my internal NTP server (which in turn synchronizes with the web.) After a few days I was frustrated to see that the servers were still not in sync – some were minutes behind while others were inexplicably minutes ahead. Some of this might have to do with my experiments on live migrating these VMs a while back.

At any rate, it was clear that openntpd failed to do the job. Some research revealed that there is a bug where it reports adjusting the clock when the real status was an error. That little bug cost me an hour or two of digging and troubleshooting. Very frustrating.

I switched to plain old ntp instead and the problem was resolved within moments.


Moral of the story: Make sure you have a proper NTP setup for each of your VMs if you’re going to use Citrix Xenserver.

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