Clock drift in Docker containers

I was working on a docker container which uses the aws cli to mess around with some autoscaling groups when I got a somewhat strange error:

A client error (SignatureDoesNotMatch) occurred when calling the DescribeAutoScalingGroups operation: Signature not yet current: 20171115T012426Z is still later than 20171115T012420Z (20171115T011920Z + 5 min.)


Are the clocks off?

$ date
Sat Nov 14 21:21:54 EDT 2017

$ docker run alpine date
Sun Nov 15 01:26:58 UTC 2017

There’s a time zone difference, but that’s not a big deal. The big problem is that the clock has drifted just over five minutes…

A bit of Google later shows that it could be a problem with docker-for-mac: It seems that the virtual machine that docker is using under the hood is drifting. All that you have to do is set the hardware clock *of the virtual machine.

$ docker run --rm --privileged alpine hwclock -s

No output. Let’s see if it worked:

$ date
Sat Nov 14 21:23:20 EDT 2017

$ docker run alpine date
Sun Nov 15 01:23:22 UTC 2017

Bam. The drift now is due to the time between me running the commands. Nothing else.

Weird. But fixable.