Local timezones on servers considered harmful?

colmmacc asked:

I’m curious as to what other administrators’ experiences with timezones, in the context of remotely administered servers, are. In my career I’ve come across several conventions;

  1. Always, always, always use UTC.
  2. Always, always, always use the timezone of wherever base HQ is.
  3. Use the local time of the people who happen to be administering.
  4. Use the local time of the server location.

In some places, I’ve come across multiple and conflicting conventions. My own preference has been to use UTC, always – with no daylight savings. But for one reason or another, it seems that most people prefer to use some concept of local time, with daylight savings. Although it seems like a straightforward technical matter, discussions around changing conventions always seem to trend towards religious schisms.

What are you using? What do you consider to be the advantages and disadvantages of each approach?

My answer:

I run all my servers on UTC, and I convert any that come into my control as soon as I can.

The one exception so far has been an asterisk server, which I had to leave on local time. Changing it to UTC completely broke asterisk. (It’s on 1.6, hopefully this won’t be an issue when I get around to upgrading it later this year.)

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