Canadian companies clear DST shift with few glitches


It may be too early to say for sure if the daylight saving time (DST) shift this weekend passed without any big casualties. However, initial reports indicate Canadian organizations seem to have experienced few, if any, challenges.

Louis Shallal, chief information technology officer of York Region says he expects to receive very limited number of calls regarding the DST changeover because the issue was planned for and dealt with as early as January.

Starting this year, DST begins three weeks earlier, and ends a week later than usual. The reason behind the change is to cut energy consumption.

“We will probably get some calls from employees who were not able to leave their machines on over the weekend as we had advised,” he says.

York Region employees, Shallal says, were instructed to leave their computers on so updates could be loaded on to them.

Many of the region’s nearly 3,000 employees are expected to have done so, however there may be less than 10 per cent who missed the deadline because they were on vacation, absent or simply forgot, says Shallal. He says IT team members will have to install the updates on the remaining machines on a “one-to-one” basis.

The region did not receive any official advisory on the DST issue, but once Shallal learned about it from the news he set up a team to deal with potential problems.

Because York Region uses Outlook and Exchange for its messaging and calendar applications, Microsoft also notified the region that updates will be made available to them.

Left unattended, the time change would have affected the region’s business systems such as its PeopleSoft payroll and human resources applications, its databases using Oracle and SQL Server as well as numerous laptops and wireless devices, according to David Borsato, project manager of the region’s DST update initiative.

“Had we not loaded the updates, applications that are time sensitive would have been off by one hour,” says Borsato.

Mauro Lollo, co-founder and chief technology officer at Unis Lumin Inc., reports no issues following the DST shift this weekend. “Most things went off without a hitch.”

Unis Lumin is an IT services provider based in Oakville, Ont.

In some cases, however, the DST patches that were applied did not kick in until after the system was rebooted several times, says Lollo.

“When one applies a patch to a product, that patch does not necessarily take hold. So you get the occasional funny like that, but all told, everything has gone smoothly since,” he says.

Although several reboots may have been required, clients encountered no significant repercussions as a result, he says.

Although Lollo deems the recent DST patching a success, he says the challenge is not entirely over. “DST is going to happen in the fall again. We’re going to have to be watchful to ensure the patches that were applied this time around actually take in the fall again.”

Amit Sahni, chief technology officer at Evron Computer Systems Corp., also reported a smooth DST shift among its clients. “They rolled over very nicely. There were no issues.”

Evron Computer is a systems integrator based in Markham, Ont. that began preparing clients for the DST change a couple of weeks ago.

There may have been no significant impact as a result of the time change among Evron’s clients, however the period leading up to the shift presented some issues, according to Sahni.

Several users had applied patches to their individual workstations, which resulted in some problems when Evron tried applying patches as well, says Sahni.

This affected primarily pre-existing appointments in Microsoft Outlook, he says. The remedy was to provide additional instructions to clients that outlined a process as to how they should reset their existing appointments.


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