A simple daylight saving shift to improve the viewing experience of the Commonwealth Games has sent a ripple through the industry with time-conscious IT managers busy updating systems. And many could be caught napping due to a widespread, mistaken belief the extension applies only to Victoria.
Whereas daylight saving usually finishes on the last weekend in March it has been extended this year, in the eastern states that observe the time change, until Sunday April 2 (at 3am clocks go back one hour.)
Microsoft Windows users were issued a patch from the software giant to cope with the extension of daylight savings for a week until April 2, while mid-range and Linux systems require manual configuration to maintain the correct time.
However, keeping an organization's network temporal during this year's sporting spectacle may vary from simple to overly complex, according to Tweed Shire Council's systems supervisor Marcus Armour.
Armour has architected the network such that all Windows desktops and servers synchronize with a dedicated time server using the network time protocol (NTP), eliminating the need for patching.
"Our architecture is managed centrally from a server and clients sync with that server internally with NTP," Armour said. "We've taken control of that away from clients for these situations."
To achieve this, Tweed Shire Council, on the NSW North Coast and bordering Coolangatta which, as a Queensland city is locked on to Eastern Standard Time, has disabled the Windows daylight saving function in its standard operating environment across the 40 servers and 350 PCs.
"We don't have to go through the costly exercise of patching every machine which would take at least half a day," Armour said, adding the process should take only a few minutes.
And for the Windows time server, Armour can also avoid this patching task.
"We will be applying the patch on that single server, but if we don't have to we will get away without patching; that's the hope," he said, adding he is aware the patch may need to be removed after April 2.
In contrast, Wattyl IT manager Ashok Vanmali has had the Windows patch applied to the company's servers and desktops.
"The change to the Windows environment involved taking the Microsoft patch, testing it and then packaging it into our patch deployment solution for all servers and desktops," Vanmali said. "The whole process of scripting the patch deployment and testing took less than half a day."
While Wattyl's network is not setup to take the time from a central point, this is something Vanmali would consider - particularly for its iSeries machine which required manual configuration - to take away daylight sayings problems "so long as it is sensitive to daylight saving".
While the iSeries required manual intervention, Vanmali said the process was "trivial", adding correct time is "absolutely important for the business", because of data replication running across systems.
Vanmali's team used information from the Internet to configure the iSeries, which was subsequently sent to it from IBM in response to an enquiry. "IBM should have been more proactive, but I may have pre-empted them because we started this project as soon as we found out two weeks ago," he said.
The Bill to vary daylight saving in NSW had its second reading in Parliament in September 2005 with assent granted on October 19, 2005. The Bill also contained a clause which will allow future variations to daylight saving schedules to be made by government regulation rather than needing a change in the Standard Time Act 1987