By Kanagavelu Sugumar

2012-12-28 13:53:40 8 Comments

I have to store UTC dateTime in DB.
I have converted the dateTime given in specific timezone to UTC. for that I followed the below code.
My input dateTime is "20121225 10:00:00 Z" timezone is "Asia/Calcutta"
My Server/DB(oracle) is running in the same timezone(IST) "Asia/Calcutta"

Get the Date object in this specific Timezone

        String date = "20121225 10:00:00 Z";
        String timeZoneId = "Asia/Calcutta";
        TimeZone timeZone = TimeZone.getTimeZone(timeZoneId);

        DateFormat dateFormatLocal = new SimpleDateFormat("yyyyMMdd HH:mm:ss z");
                    //This date object is given time and given timezone
        java.util.Date parsedDate = dateFormatLocal.parse(date + " "  
                         + timeZone.getDisplayName(false, TimeZone.SHORT));

        if (timeZone.inDaylightTime(parsedDate)) {
            // We need to re-parse because we don't know if the date
            // is DST until it is parsed...
            parsedDate = dateFormatLocal.parse(date + " "
                    + timeZone.getDisplayName(true, TimeZone.SHORT));

       //assigning to the java.sql.TimeStamp instace variable
        obj.setTsSchedStartTime(new java.sql.Timestamp(parsedDate.getTime()));

Store into DB

        if (tsSchedStartTime != null) {
            stmt.setTimestamp(11, tsSchedStartTime);
        } else {
            stmt.setNull(11, java.sql.Types.DATE);


DB (oracle) has stored the same given dateTime: "20121225 10:00:00 not in UTC.

I have confirmed from the below sql.

     select to_char(sched_start_time, 'yyyy/mm/dd hh24:mi:ss') from myTable

My DB server also running on the same timezone "Asia/Calcutta"

It gives me the below appearances

  1. Date.getTime() is not in UTC
  2. Or Timestamp is has timezone impact while storing into DB What am I doing wrong here?

One more question:

Will timeStamp.toString() print in local timezone like does? Not UTC?


@Mark Rotteveel 2012-12-28 14:11:02

Although it is not explicitly specified for setTimestamp(int parameterIndex, Timestamp x) drivers have to follow the rules established by the setTimestamp(int parameterIndex, Timestamp x, Calendar cal) javadoc:

Sets the designated parameter to the given java.sql.Timestamp value, using the given Calendar object. The driver uses the Calendar object to construct an SQL TIMESTAMP value, which the driver then sends to the database. With a Calendar object, the driver can calculate the timestamp taking into account a custom time zone. If no Calendar object is specified, the driver uses the default time zone, which is that of the virtual machine running the application.

When you call with setTimestamp(int parameterIndex, Timestamp x) the JDBC driver uses the time zone of the virtual machine to calculate the date and time of the timestamp in that time zone. This date and time is what is stored in the database, and if the database column does not store time zone information, then any information about the zone is lost (which means it is up to the application(s) using the database to use the same time zone consistently or come up with another scheme to discern timezone (ie store in a separate column).

For example: Your local time zone is GMT+2. You store "2012-12-25 10:00:00 UTC". The actual value stored in the database is "2012-12-25 12:00:00". You retrieve it again: you get it back again as "2012-12-25 10:00:00 UTC" (but only if you retrieve it using getTimestamp(..)), but when another application accesses the database in time zone GMT+0, it will retrieve the timestamp as "2012-12-25 12:00:00 UTC".

If you want to store it in a different timezone, then you need to use the setTimestamp(int parameterIndex, Timestamp x, Calendar cal) with a Calendar instance in the required timezone. Just make sure you also use the equivalent getter with the same time zone when retrieving values (if you use a TIMESTAMP without timezone information in your database).

So, assuming you want to store the actual GMT timezone, you need to use:

Calendar cal = Calendar.getInstance(TimeZone.getTimeZone("GMT"));
stmt.setTimestamp(11, tsSchedStartTime, cal);

With JDBC 4.2 a compliant driver should support java.time.LocalDateTime (and java.time.LocalTime) for TIMESTAMP (and TIME) through get/set/updateObject. The java.time.Local* classes are without time zones, so no conversion needs to be applied (although that might open a new set of problems if your code did assume a specific time zone).

@Kanagavelu Sugumar 2012-12-28 14:19:06

I want to store my time in GMT. I believe my timeStamp in GMT. So what should i do? is it setTimestamp(int parameterIndex, Timestamp tzGmtObj, Calendar calGmtObj) ??

@Mark Rotteveel 2012-12-28 14:24:01

@KanagaveluSugumar see my update

@Kanagavelu Sugumar 2012-12-28 14:26:26

if "setTimestamp(int parameterIndex, Timestamp x)" uses the timezone of the virtual machine. what is the role of x in the code ?

@Mark Rotteveel 2012-12-28 14:27:57

@KanagaveluSugumar That is the actual timestamp value to set. A driver only uses the Calendar object for the timezone information, not for its value!

@Kanagavelu Sugumar 2012-12-28 14:32:43

oooh Great!!! I will try this in my code. and let you know the result. Thanks a lot.

@Kanagavelu Sugumar 2012-12-28 18:34:54

Great, It is working :) I spend lot of time to prove (Date/Timestamp).getTime() is holding timezone specific time in milliseconds. Now i understood that It is not. It always give UTC milliseconds irrespective of timezone. But (Date/Timestamp).toString() is timezone specific. Thanks a lot.

@Mark Rotteveel 2012-12-29 09:35:05

The toString() on java.lang.Date (and java.lang.Timestamp) will always present it in your local timezone.

@Trebor 2014-05-21 19:50:56

Thank you. It saved my butt in trying to figure out why what was being stored in the database was not what was being passed to it.

@Abdelhafid 2016-05-02 13:06:28

For Mysql, we have a limitation. In the driver Mysql doc, we have :

The following are some known issues and limitations for MySQL Connector/J: When Connector/J retrieves timestamps for a daylight saving time (DST) switch day using the getTimeStamp() method on the result set, some of the returned values might be wrong. The errors can be avoided by using the following connection options when connecting to a database:


So, when we do not use this parameters and we call setTimestamp or getTimestamp with calendar or without calendar, we have the timestamp in the jvm timezone.

Example :

The jvm timezone is GMT+2. In the database, we have a timestamp : 1461100256 = 19/04/16 21:10:56,000000000 GMT

Properties props = new Properties();
props.setProperty("user", "root");
props.setProperty("password", "");
props.setProperty("useTimezone", "true");
props.setProperty("useLegacyDatetimeCode", "false");
props.setProperty("serverTimezone", "UTC");
Connection con = DriverManager.getConnection(conString, props);
Calendar nowGMT = Calendar.getInstance(TimeZone.getTimeZone("GMT"));
Calendar nowGMTPlus4 = Calendar.getInstance(TimeZone.getTimeZone("GMT+4"));
rs.getTimestamp("timestampColumn");//Oracle driver convert date to jvm timezone and Mysql convert date to GMT (specified in the parameter)
rs.getTimestamp("timestampColumn", nowGMT);//convert date to GMT 
rs.getTimestamp("timestampColumn", nowGMTPlus4);//convert date to GMT+4 timezone

The first method returns : 1461100256000 = 19/04/2016 - 21:10:56 GMT

The second method returns : 1461100256000 = 19/04/2016 - 21:10:56 GMT

The third method returns : 1461085856000 = 19/04/2016 - 17:10:56 GMT

Instead of Oracle, when we use the same calls, we have :

The first method returns : 1461093056000 = 19/04/2016 - 19:10:56 GMT

The second method returns : 1461100256000 = 19/04/2016 - 21:10:56 GMT

The third method returns : 1461085856000 = 19/04/2016 - 17:10:56 GMT

NB : It is not necessary to specify the parameters for Oracle.

@eckes 2016-11-07 17:20:19

I guess you could for oracle set the session timezone to UTC to achive the same conversion than MySQL does for the non-calendar case. "ALTER SESSION SET TIME_ZONE = 'UTC'".

@Evgeniy Dorofeev 2012-12-28 14:42:50

I think the correct answer should be java.sql.Timestamp is NOT timezone specific. Timestamp is a composite of java.util.Date and a separate nanoseconds value. There is no timezone information in this class. Thus just as Date this class simply holds the number of milliseconds since January 1, 1970, 00:00:00 GMT + nanos.

In PreparedStatement.setTimestamp(int parameterIndex, Timestamp x, Calendar cal) Calendar is used by the driver to change the default timezone. But Timestamp still holds milliseconds in GMT.

API is unclear about how exactly JDBC driver is supposed to use Calendar. Providers seem to feel free about how to interpret it, e.g. last time I worked with MySQL 5.5 Calendar the driver simply ignored Calendar in both PreparedStatement.setTimestamp and ResultSet.getTimestamp.

@Alex 2013-12-19 09:03:13

Interested comment about MySQL 5.5

@Jorge.V 2019-05-31 11:37:33

I believe this to be wrong as of java 8+. Inside the Timestamp (because it extends from java.util.Date) there is a calendar attribute, which has a zoneinfo attribute that in fact contains the timezone. You can still get the UTC time with .getTime() because the Timestamp also stores it, but it HAS timezone information.

@Woot4Moo 2012-12-28 14:01:46

It is specific from your driver. You need to supply a parameter in your Java program to tell it the time zone you want to use.

java -Duser.timezone="America/New_York" GetCurrentDateTimeZone

Further this:

to_char(new_time(sched_start_time, 'CURRENT_TIMEZONE', 'NEW_TIMEZONE'), 'MM/DD/YY HH:MI AM')

May also be of value in handling the conversion properly. Taken from here

@Kanagavelu Sugumar 2012-12-28 14:08:03

do you meant me to follow… or You want to set my JVM application to run in GMT?

@Woot4Moo 2012-12-28 14:12:30

@KanagaveluSugumar well that depends. If you want to modify the timestamp for EVERY query set it on startup, if you only want to modify SOME (meaning anything less than EVERY) then modify each query in the fashion as laid out by the post you referenced.

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