Windows Server 2019 provides regulatory compliance with highly accurate time that is traceable and UTC-compliant, including support of leap seconds.In this article, we’ll talk about the technical advances we made between Windows Server 2016 and Windows Server 2019 including true UTC-compliant leap second support, a new time protocol called Precision Time Protocol, and end-to-end traceability. But before we talk about the technical details, let’s talk about why this matters to you.

In the past, the requirement for time accuracy on Windows was limited to domain-based scenarios that required all devices to be synchronized within 5 minutes. Now worldwide government regulations (for example, US: FINRA, EU: ESMA/MiFIDII) are demanding much higher accuracy time – as stringent as 100µs (microseconds). Self-proclaimed accuracy is not enough. You must also be able to prove or “trace” your time back to an authoritative time source – More on this later. ESMA justifies the accuracy and traceability requirements in this way: “…It is also essential for conducting cross-venue monitoring of orders and detecting instances of market abuse and allows for a clearer comparison between the transaction and the market conditions prevailing at the time of their execution.”

As a result, we first brought 1 ms (millisecond) time accuracy to Windows Server 2016 meeting some of the regulatory requirements – This is supported in-market today. However, our work was not done, and so Windows Server 2019 makes improvements to comply with these regulations and allow Windows to be the preferred choice for workloads with time dependencies. Now, let’s talk a little bit about the features you’ll find in Windows Server 2019 and current Insider builds.

Important! While many of our efforts directly address concerns from regulated industries, this technology applies to any industry, application, or cloud-service with a time dependency.

There’s a lot of content in this article (because we did a lot!) – here’s a quick summary of the information you’ll see in this article

  • Compliant Leap Second Support
  • Accuracy Improvements (Precision Time Protocol, Software Time-stamping, Clock Source Stability)
  • Traceability (including system logging, performance counters, and our work with partners)


Read more: Top 10 Networking Features in Windows Server 2019: #10 Accurate Network Time | Networking Blog