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NTP is always recommended, but only really required when you are running HA between your controller nodes. In that case, the clocks have to be very closely synchronized in order to manage the cluster and fail over properly.

In a non-HA environment, NTP will synchronize the clocks in order to make log correlation possible, and will ensure that the clocks never get out of sync far enough that authentication tokens appear to be expired. If that happens, you will lose the connections to all the APIs between two out-of-sync nodes.