Daylight Saving Time Shift Expected To Run Smoothly This Time

Microsoft received a channel-wide condemnation in March as solution providers raced to patch Exchange, Outlook and other applications with little notice and complicated, time-consuming instructions. The patch instructed Windows applications to update a table that recognized when daylight savings time was supposed to occur.

Microsoft wasn't the only company to blame (Yes, you, Sun) and the company now offers a simplified Web page for solution providers looking for patches. Apple, IBM and Sun also offer similar services on their Web sites.

"I don't think at this point it should be a problem," says Peter Busam, COO of solution provider Decisive Business Systems, based in Pennsauken, N.J. "It was a problem back in March, but at this point I would hope everyone has addressed the issue." Rex Frank, CTO for Alvaka Networks, an MSP in Irvine, Calif., regards it as a non-issue. "I don't think it's going to be a big issue," he says, noting the majority of his office weren't even aware of the impending switch. "Our intention is to send out an advisory letter to our customers and verify the patches are applied." To Frank, any worry is much ado about nothing. "I was one of the alarmists in February," he recalls. "Now I've mellowed."

Others are advocating for a more cautious approach.

Sponsored post

Ray Wang, principal analyst at Forrester Research in Cambridge, Mass., says he believes solution providers still need to proactively communicate with clients regarding best practices learned from the last go around, such as paying attention to meetings scheduled two weeks prior and after the November change. "Now is a good time to launch a wiki to help others go through this and share best practices or build a community ecosystem," he says. He also suggests keeping an eye Blackberrys, PDAs, and other mobile devices.

Solution providers with international enterprise clients should be particularly diligent, says Wang. "Globally, the start dates and times may vary," he says. "If the [patch] did not allow for flexible setting of dates, then I would be a little bit worried." He recommends ensuring the most current patches are applied and testing those patches as a precaution. "This is the safest approach for those with international employees, especially those in Australia, New Zealand, as well as Jordan," he says.

In Australia's case, Queensland, the northernmost state in the Eastern States, opted out of the coordinated daylight savings date to which the other states agreed. "This is such a complicated issue because start and end dates change with year and location," Wang says. "In Jordan, daylight savings time is permanent, so actual offsets throw everyone off."

The general attitude in the channel would seem to be one of reduced apprehension augmented by guarded vigilance. Marc Harrison, a professional engineer for Silicon East, a Manalapan, N.J. solution provider, certainly eyes the date with a twinge of suspicion. "We think Microsoft has it under control by now, but I wouldn't be surprised if I'm surprised," he says. "I would recommend getting everything patched by the end of the month."