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Y2k7 – Daylight Savings Time

Clock

Beginning on the second Sunday of March, being this March 11, 2007, Daylight Savings Time (DST) will begin. Yup, that’s right – 3 weeks earlier then what used to be the beginning of DST. And personally, I don’t think this change has gotten nearly the attention is should. While for most people daily life won’t really be affected in any dramatic ways, the IT world has just over 6 weeks from today to stand up, take notice and make sure that computer-based systems continue to work.

You see, to continue functioning properly, most computer-based systems will have to be patched. If not, timestamps will be off. “Who cares?” some may say. How quickly history is forgotten. While Y2k did not turn into the Armageddon that some proposed, much of that was due to the immense work that went into preventing just such a nightmare. And while I’m not suggesting now that this change is anywhere near the potential catastrophe we feared 7 years ago, it definitely needs to be addressed.

Take for instance a financial system that processes interest on vast amounts of money. An hour more of interest on billions of dollars could be quite costly. Or more closer to home — what about your cell phone/planner that you keep updated with Outlook? If you want to your times kept in sync, and not be late to a meeting the next day, I sure hope your cell phone, your PC and Exchange were all updated properly. Not to mention the hardware they all run on and potentially sync their clocks to. Or the timeservers that your server environment syncs to. Hey, at least if you’ve centralized your time synchronization, they’d all be off exactly the same and you’ll all be late together! :)

I think what’s really going to get some IT shops that don’t put the necessary thought and energy into addressing this issue are going to be systems that aren’t in the spotlight on a daily or even monthly basis, such as:

  • PBX systems
  • Call recording systems
  • IVR systems
  • ACD systems
  • Building card access (doh!)
  • Building alarm systems
  • PDAs
  • Fax machines
  • …and more

And then there’s the application level. While most well-written applications may sync their times with the system clock, others may not. They may require their own patches.

This can’t be put off any longer and you can’t depend vendors automagically patching for you. While Windows Update might take care of desktops and servers, I’d be surprised if anyone truly has a completely homogeneous shop of all Microsoft, where they can simply depend on Microsoft patching to fix everything. I don’t think Microsoft sells a fax machine, do they?

Get a list put together of all your systems and applications, prioritize and get cracking!

Here’s some more information on the new Daylight Savings Time.

Here’s a Microsoft page with some information specific to their products.

And Bill at the EdgeBlog has put together a nice list of links to various IT vendors for their DST 2007 fixes/patches.

Good luck!

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