Date time conversion / storage in SQL server

Alexandre Takacs
Alexandre Takacs used Ask the Experts™
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Hi

I'm getting via an API date time values in the format 2019-01-20T10:16:49Z

What's my best approach to store them in SQL server ?

I have tried to define a DATETIME column and insert via CONVERT(DATETIME, '2019-01-20T10:16:49Z', 102) )  but it fails...

I'm sure it muss be pretty easy but google isn't my friend so far...
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Mark EdwardsChief Technology Officer

Commented:
In your string date/time, the "Z" of course stands for the 24-hour clock military "ZULU" time, which is the same as GMT except that "Z" does NOT observe daylight savings time.
You'll need to convert if you want local time.
Also, the "T" isn't going to be recognized by SQL Server, so you'll need to replace it with a space.
So replace the "T" with a space first and get rid of the "Z" and convert to date/time, then calculate local time if you want local.

Author

Commented:
Thanks

So this would not be something that SQL server could interpret natively?
SQL should be able to interpret fine.  And unless you're on a pretty old version of SQL, you shouldn't even have to specify the format.

This should work fine:
select convert(datetime, '2019-01-20T10:16:49Z')

If not, and it is an older format, then 127 is the format that recognizes "Z":
select convert(datetime, '2019-01-20T10:16:49Z', 127)

As a "general" rule, it's best to store dates in UTC time.
Hey Mark
“... ZULU time which is the same as GMT, but Z doesn’t observe daylight saving ...”
The GMT Timezone doesn’t observe daylight saving either!

Author

Commented:
If not, and it is an older format, then 127 is the format that recognizes "Z":
select convert(datetime, '2019-01-20T10:16:49Z', 127)

Thanks - that did the trick !

As a "general" rule, it's best to store dates in UTC time.

Hmm do we actually have control how SQL server stores date/time values? We can format it whichever way we see fit but IMHO the storage is beyond our control...

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