Daylight Savings Time Strikes Back!

So this weekI am researching SharePoint upgrades. More specifically I am interested in upgrading customized sites in WSS 2.0 and SPS 2003 to WSS 3.0 and MOSS sites using the Gradual Upgrade approach. To do this I chose an iterative route. Start with a simple, small , un-customized team site in WSS 2.0 and upgrade to WSS v3 team site template. Well it was simple until DST strikes!

The VPC was patched and updated for DST. For some reason, the same simple, small, un-customized team site upgrade which took approximately ten minutes to finish would not finish. Updating a site collection using the gradual upgrade approach creates timer jobs that are set for a one-time run. Checking the various status pages for the upgrade as well as the timer jobs show that the upgrade is in process but no upgrade job actually running. Apparently the upgrade has hung up. In a fit of frustration I let it sit to see if indeed it was running behind the scenes and sure enough – it completed an hour later. So what was a 10 min upgrade now is an hour and 10 minute upgrade. My plan of an iterative approach to building an upgrade solution for a customized site is not looking good. At this rate I will be lucky to get in more than 5 upgrade attempts in an 8 hour day.

So I restarted with a clean VPC, this time changed the diagnostic settings for upgrade to capture as much as possible and restarted a new simple upgrade. Again it takes over an hour to complete but this time the logs showed the story. The upgrade was not taking its sweet time to complete. The associated timer jobs did not even start until an hour later. Once the jobs started it was a 10 minute upgrade.

So now I am thinking DST issue – processes that should be running “immediately” are running an hour later. To prove that it was not my imagination I started again with a clean VPC, rolled back the server clock ( disabling the automatic time update service) to March 1 and started another upgrade. This time the jobs started processing within a minute and the complete upgrade was accomplished in approximately 10 minutes.

So now I double check that I indeed had all the required DST updates on the VPC, which it does. During a web search the final piece of the puzzle falls into place, a KB Article titled “One-time timer jobs will not run until one hour after the jobs were created in SharePoint Server 2007 “.

Basically there appears to be an issue with “One-time” jobs and Daylight Savings Time The current “work around” is to either schedule your jobs an hour earlier to compensate for the issue or change to a Time Zone not affected by the DST if you happen to be lucky enough to live in an area that has a similar Time Zone where DST does not apply . What makes this issue so aggravating is that the job time for the upgrade is set by the system. There appears to be no simple way to change the start time of an upgrade job to an hour earlier. Most of us also do not live in a location that has a similar time zone that does not utilize DST. So effectively there is no workaround for this particular upgrade issue. Hopefully the issue will resolve itself in three weeks which is when we would normally change to DST. Of course for those that wrote automated processes and compensated by scheduling the start time one hour early will have hopefully paramterized the start time!

So today I will say I ran into:

  • The Bad with what appears to be a Daylight Savings Time bug
  • The Ugly for the current proposed fix – which appears to be none in my particular case.
  • The Good for the Diagnostics settings that helped me localize the issue.

I guess this can all change if we see a hot fix or a service pack update.