Not Quite Y2K, but Glitches Loom with '07 Daylight-Saving Change
Sounding a little like the Y2K concerns at the turn of this century, the U.S. Congress's expansion of daylight-saving time, which moves the clock change from early April to March 11, may cause some VARs to lose a little sleep.
The change will require patches for many software products, some which will require manual installations. But customers shouldn't expect VARs to be pushing such patches very hard.
"People will wait and see what will really happen because of Y2K," said Jim Locke, president of JWLocke and Associates, a VAR based in Pasadena, Calif. "Everybody shouted that the world was going to come to an end with Y2K, and of course it didn't."
But in spite of the negative connotations that may automatically go along with the daylight-saving time issue, Locke believes that it will indeed be an issue, and one that will most likely be handled through remediation rather than proactive efforts.
"It's hard for VARs to be proactive with this because of skepticism brought about by the Y2K experience," Locke said. "There has to be a rallying cry by vendors that this will be a major issue before you see VARs go ahead and do something about it."
In some cases, users won't have to do anything. Much software deployed today will be automatically updated. For example, Microsoft's Windows XP (SP2), Windows Server 2003, Windows Server SP1 will receive patches via automatic updates, according to a Microsoft Web page that provides an overview of products affected by the change and whether or not they are supported.
But other software, such as versions of Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Exchange before the 2007 versions, will require manual downloads and installations.
And Microsoft Windows XP SP1 and Windows NT 4 are not supported.
CompTIA (Computing Technology Industry Association) raised the flag about the issue this week after having problems with its own enterprise applications.
"In our meeting software, Microsoft Outlook, meetings in March were being fouled up," said Steven Ostrowski, a spokesman for the organization Oakbrook Terrace, Ill. "Our IT guys got a software patch to fix it and it seems to be working."
The fix was a quick one for the CompTIA organization.
"This problem is similar to Y2K in that it is something that wasn't planned for. But it's not as serious as that problem," Ostrowski said.
The expansion in daylight-saving time, which pushes the start of it ahead by three weeks and the end of it back by one week, was part of the U.S. Energy Policy Act of 2005.
Arizona, Hawaii and parts of Alaska and Indiana are unaffected by the changes because they do not observe daylight-saving time, according to CompTIA. Canada will mirror the changes in the United States.
Software patches are available for all major computer operating systems, the organization said.
An overview of the Microsoft patches and support is available here.
IBM is similarly advising customers of the need to manually update many of its DB2 products. An overview of IBM DB2 information is available here.