No, it’s not Y2K all over again, but the looming change to New Zealand’s daylight saving time (DST) will have profound implications for IT managers, Microsoft warns.
At a special session at the Tech Ed conference in Auckland last week, Microsoft technical account manager Bradley Borrows said at least 40 Microsoft applications would be directly affected by changes to DST, which will start one week earlier (at 2am on September 30) and end two weeks later (at 3am on April 6, 2008) than in previous years.
Borrows stressed that the problem was not confined to Microsoft software, and he urged IT managers to “engage with third-party suppliers now”. The DST change will affect any time-dependent software including calendar, attendance and scheduling programs, retailing and transactional software.
“I’m not saying that ATMs will fall over, but the logging of transactions could be out by an hour,” Borrows said.
Microsoft will be providing free patches and updates to its currently supported applications and operating systems — from Windows XP Service Pack 2 onwards — but it will be making a charge for fixes for non-supported products such as Windows 2000.
The Microsoft application that will cause IT managers the biggest headache is probably Outlook. An organisation that uses Outlook’s Calendar for scheduling meetings and appointments, for example, will need to patch its PC, server and mobile device operating systems, as well as the Exchange application at all locations.
In many cases IT managers will have no choice but to recall mobile devices in order to update them, but Borrows said Microsoft was in discussions with both Telecom and Vodafone with a view to establishing “text to patch” services.
Once Exchange has been patched for the DST change, any appointments within the DST period which have been scheduled prior to the patch will have to be “rebased” using a tool available from Microsoft. In the case of internationally arranged appointments, the appointments will have to be rebased in all the countries involved.
Microsoft has established a website at www.microsoft.co.nz/timezone for further information.