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In a distributed environment where the solution has multiple CD's and at least one CM (if not more), as well as other roles like processing servers, how important is the time and timezone synchronicity?

An example:

  • CD1: EDT
  • CD2: UTC
  • Processing Server: PDT, 1 minute behind
  • CM: MDT, 1 minute ahead.
  • 1
    Good one, Pete. I expect the answer will be "not very", as Sitecore should support distributed authoring. But no personal experience here. – Dan Solovay Oct 12 '16 at 0:24
  • I've seen different timezones used on simpler set-ups than this and it's caused issues with custom code (and also confusion when looking at logs etc). At the very least I would recommend using the same timezone but as MikeD suggests below larger scale brings bigger problems if things aren't synchronized. – Owen Niblock Oct 12 '16 at 11:04
19

I would say it's of high importance. Depending on the event queue interval, if all your CD's share the same core database, it can cause index triggering to be missed. Typical event queue checks are two minutes apart so you can see how easy it is to be off 1 minute in either direction from a baseline. So says Sitecore:

"Synchronize all servers to a single reliable time source, for example, by means of the Network Time Protocol (NTP). The aggregation of engagement automation states depends on the system time and changing this can lead to incorrect aggregation results or loss of data." Configure a content delivery server

EDIT The default event queue check interval is only 2 seconds (not 2 minutes). With this in mind, I would up the recommendation from high importance to critical importance.

  • What if we have 10 CD's in different regions to serve different time zones (e.g. local events) and we need to have 'local time'? Do you think it must be instance-specific setting? – Daniil Oct 12 '16 at 10:08
  • 2
    I think you would use UTC time on all servers and adjust display time based on the site's locale. Server time zone shouldn't matter. Azure servers for example are all on UTC. – techphoria414 Oct 12 '16 at 10:56
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    I think Time synchronization is important, but Timezone is not. From what I see EventQueue timestamps use UTC time, whatever the local time of the system, so long as the clocks are in sync they can all convert to Universal Time. – Laver Oct 14 '16 at 2:13
3

I think Time synchronization is important, but Timezone is not.

From what I see EventQueue timestamps use UTC time, whatever the local time of the system, so long as the clocks are in sync they can all convert to Universal Time.

While do agree with @owen-niblock that mixed timezones can easily cause confusion when reviewing logs (as log timestamps are local time), and also cause confusion in custom code, I don't believe it would cause an issue with Sitecore operations.

However; if I had such a broad and distributed server setup I'd probably already have them all logging to a central log aggregator which consolidates the logs, makes them searchable, and normalizes the timing.

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