26 Replies Latest reply on Sep 16, 2009 2:40 PM by Andy McBride

    Solarwinds support quality ??

      Hi,

      maybe it’s just me but after reading
      Solarwinds software quality on the QA process i was having the same thoughts.

      Especially because I am having issues to after the upgrade to 9.5
      My frustrations are really starting to grow as my problems are not getting solved for more than 3 months now (and we are paying real money for support).

      I reported 3 cases (on the same issue):
      Closed case 97428 First reported (Created on 29-05-2009!!!)
      Closed Case:10045
      Escalated Case: 104794

      Posted a post:
      NPM 9.5 and Jobengine having multiple instances

      Replied on 2 different post with the same subject or similar problems:
      1)
      Re: 9.5 SP2 install results
      2)
      SolarWinds Job Engine causing 100% cpu utilization

      I was asked to remove my wireless devices, which I did not do as we want to monitor them.
      Today I installed SP4 and deleted most of my application monitor(s). The issue is still happening.

      I am really getting annoyed by the issue at this time, not in the last place because I have to chase for a solution instead of SW informing me regularly on the status.

      I had some experience in Support myself and in general i am very forgiving but there is a limit.

      One thing in support I that I learned over the years is:
      1) Users generally can understand that things take a bid longer but only as long as you keep them informed (initiative should always come from support) 
      2) Don't promise anything that you cannot deliver!

      At this time I am on the edge of getting really @x#%&#!
      Sorry to be so negative but i think i have reached my limit of being patience.

      Greetings,
      Mars

        • Re: Solarwinds support quality ??
          the_toilet

          I am sure you will not want to hear this sort of response, but i have had a great service from Solarwinds support, both early in the morning and late at night.

          just the other night i had a licensing problem, and at 11pm GMT i managed to get a trial license, and get my system back up and running, and it was due to me being an idiot and making a mistake that broke it LOL!

          Yes, there have been a few annoying issues with the 9.5, but SW have stated they are doing everything they can to improve the QA process...

          it is just worth noting, that we are more likely to complain when things go wrong, then when things go right...  i bet there was a huge number of successful 9.5 upgrades...  compared to the problem upgrades

          it is likely, that many of us thwackers, are pushing the product much further than the average user, and those are areas that SW QA process is always going to have problems testing....

          However, I understand your pain, and I hope you get sorted soon….

           

            • Re: Solarwinds support quality ??


               

              I am sure you will not want to hear this sort of response, but i have had a great service from Solarwinds support, both early in the morning and late at night

              I cannot judge on the way and timings they helped you, I was just describing my experience witch I am having at this time (maybe different case manager).

               

              just the other night i had a licensing problem, and at 11pm GMT i managed to get a trial license, and get my system back up and running, and it was due to me being an idiot and making a mistake that broke it LOL!

              I had similar issue's and helped pretty fast only now when the going gets tough I am not (to my satisfaction) helped, as the issue is now occurring for more than 3 months. 

               

              Yes, there have been a few annoying issues with the 9.5, but SW have stated they are doing everything they can to improve the QA process...

              it is just worth noting, that we are more likely to complain when things go wrong, then when things go right...  i bet there was a huge number of successful 9.5 upgrades...  compared to the problem upgrades


              This is not my issue (although it did trigger my problems) the issue is me having to chase them in solving or informing me on....the problem.

               

              it is likely, that many of us thwackers, are pushing the product much further than the average user, and those are areas that SW QA process is always going to have problems testing....

              This is why I am posting this so they can learn and maybe escalate internally.
              In the mean time I am hoping some guru reads this, clicks on one of the links and say's to me: No biggie just press on this button and all you're problems are solved ;-) 

            • Re: Solarwinds support quality ??
              Stacy Patten

              This is really starting to ****.  I spend more of my time defending the software and managing it's issues than tuning it and making it everything we need it to be.

              I opened a ticket 111379 on the 13th of August as Critical because I updated APM and now half of the pollers don't work.  I typically get an email every other day, after my business hours (CST), requesting patience, sometimes additional information, and never have a proactive call or remote session.  So, next week I have to report to our CIO about the large amount of money we spent on this product and why it's so great because it's a wonderful product,  but it's a difficult sell when I can't monitor the status of 1/2 of our Global Contact Center/Call Processing environment after the last upgrade.  It's also great timing because my support is due!

              It totally agree that any patch or major upgrade to NPM is terrifying.  I never trust that it will work well and it has taken a couple of hours each time because of how long it takes for the NetPerfMon process to stop.

              It has been somewhat depressing because I've have always been a HUGE fan of Solarwinds products!

              Regards,
              Stacy

                • Re: Solarwinds support quality ??
                  Miron

                  Hi,

                  Again as in a separate post it appears that the function of the product has evolved into a business application rather than just something for the techies. As such it needs to be afforded the appropriate resources both time and money in order to have development and production environment. The loss of visibility or potential of missing that a service is down needs to be quantified in order to relate the spend on the product and development enviroment to business needs.

                  I would assume that not many of our colleagues who deliver or maintain applications would upgrade a business system without having an easy roll back or a parallel enviroment.

                  While this above is all easy to say and little harder to do - it is noted that it is difficult to be champions of a product when you know that it has great potential to beat anything opensource or commercial but currently has a number of issues related to a new release. Sometimes we are aware of the potential of the product while budget holders are interested in what it can do currently - and if they keep seeing page cannot be displayed or reports not loading then it instills a negative association.

                   

                  All in all I will continue to be a champion of SW and look forward to future improvements (with a bit more QA :-)

                   

                  Regards

                   

                  Miron

                  • Re: Solarwinds support quality ??
                    kweise

                    Stacy,

                    Just a quick comment on how long it takes the NetPerfMon process to stop when you're doing an upgrade.  Save yourself the time by doing the following:

                    Bring up the services MMC on yoru Orion server and set the SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor to a start up type of disabled. 

                    Open Task Manager.

                    Open the Orion Service Manager and click Shutdown everything.

                    Find the NetPerfMonService.exe in the processes tab of the Task Manager.  Highlight it and click End Process.  Click OK to the pop up warning box.  That will kill the NetPerfMon process and allow you to get your upgrade done without having to wait for the service to stop on its own.  Once the upgrade is completed and the configuration wizard runs and reinstalls the services, the NetPerfMon service will have it's start up type reset to Automatic.  If you have multiple Orion servers, you'll need to go through these steps again to shut the services down to run the upgrade on your other servers. 

                    Hope this saves you some time on your next upgrade.

                      • Re: Solarwinds support quality ??
                        Stacy Patten

                        I do know of that, but I would expect the software to be able to stop what it's doing in a timely manner than for me to go through and perform these steps.  I particularly would expect they could manage to do this as part of the upgrade process.

                          • Re: Solarwinds support quality ??
                            jedski

                            Stacy hi,

                             

                            I have also experienced this problem where it takes hours before the Network Performance Stops and the configuration wizard error that it stopped in an untimely manner. I started to experience this starting 9.1 and still exists to 9.5. This morning, I was in session with one of the Technical Support Engineers of SOlarwinds and keeps on emphasizing that there is a problem on the server that we have. As of now, where checking on this but I think, this issue where it takes hours to stop a service and hours to connect to the poller be resolved by the next release.

                            You may want to see what I posted on the forum.Enhancement on the SolarWinds Application versions after 8.5.1

                      • Re: Solarwinds support quality ??
                        brian_duvall

                        Mars,

                        Completely agree about Solarwinds support. Typically if I need an issue resolved or worked on I need to literally harrass support to get them to work on it.  If I stopped calling/emailing or following up, nothing would ever get done.  I also pay for support/maintenance and get little to no feedback on open cases unless I push for it.  I also am disappointed in the lack of ability to escalate cases to higher levels of support.  Seems like paying users are only allowed to talk to first level support personnel which is not a good model.  If an issue has been ongoing for over a few weeks and still unresolved, they should appoint a higher level support person to the case to figure out how the software bug is occuring.  Overall like the product..like the price...would recommend they develop a better support group/process.

                          • Re: Solarwinds support quality ??

                            C'mon guys, it's not accurate to say that you only deal with first-level support at SolarWinds, and that we never escalate. We have three tiers of support that are all involved in remediating these issues, and we often also pull our developers and other subject matter experts off what they're working on to help. (And I also have to say, although we aren't currently in the business of 24/7 support, we give you really good coverage both through the support org and here on thwack.)

                            Brian, I looked at your case history, and many of your cases were escalated to Tier 2 or Tier 3 support. And for ticket 102994 that you have open now, we have one of our lead developers working the case.

                            Just wanted to clarify how things work over here. Of course, we value your feedback and we know there's always room for improvement.

                              • Re: Solarwinds support quality ??
                                Miron

                                Alison,

                                One thing I do find disappointing with support occassionally is the time it take to understand the problem and the seeming reluctance to do a 5 min webex to understand rather than sometimes days of back an forth emails.

                                In general all the support tickets have eventually been solved and you guys are as helpful as possible.

                                However one current case I have open is regarding the inability to resize labels in Network Atlas, which was previously possible. It seems that now labels and text boxes are the same. Now the problem I have is the way I have been told that because SW use a 3rd party control in Network Atlas and that the problem lies in that control - that SW are going to close the case because it is not a code problem in SW itself.  Frankly I dont like this, whether you develop all the code yourself or use tons of 3rd party elements we expect that on the customer behalf these issues/faults/bugs will remain open until successfully resolved and that SW will work with any 3rd party control writer to fix the problem. I can understand if new version has to lose some functionality (due to technical reasons) and it is well communicated but considering it was only discovered after the fact I would consider these types of issues the responsibility of SW to solve and not just close.

                                Now you might say well resizing a label is not a big deal and yes it doesnt impact that core functionality however it can make the difference between a map looking proffessional or something created by a chicken.

                                Regards

                                Miron

                                  • Re: Solarwinds support quality ??
                                    davbyrd

                                    Alison,

                                    One thing I do find disappointing with support occassionally is the time it take to understand the problem and the seeming reluctance to do a 5 min webex to understand rather than sometimes days of back an forth emails. 

                                     

                                    Miron, et al,

                                    From an active member of the Support Team - I do often find it easier to get on a quick GoTo to completely understand (or rectify) the issue.  However time constraints are often a concern - as a "5 minute" GoTo - can turn into an hour or more..  As I'm sure you can understand, we do have to prioritize our case load - both the phone queue and the online support.  Urgent cases (system down, etc) obviously have priority - and then we go from there. 

                                    We are tweaking our Escalation processes as well, as Allison mentioned - Everyone from the top down is involved.

                                    We appreciate everyone's opinions and suggestions - I just wanted to let you know that we are continually adjusting to be the best Support Group around.

                                    Thanks!

                                  • Re: Solarwinds support quality ??
                                    jedski

                                    Allison hi,

                                     

                                    I guess it would be better if the users know where their cases are already escalated and if possible to give updates on the current isolation being done by your team internally. I have been creating cases for almost 2 years now and still I, like everyone here would like to have some cases escalated most specially those cases where a bug or error is seen. In my experience, everytime I encounter an error, the technical support always says you need to upgrade to this version with sp x to verify if the error still occurs. Actually there is no definite answer. I do understand that some errors are not yet seen on the solarwinds but recommending a product upgrade everytime I encounter an issue is not always a solution or workaround. Another thing is that, everytime an error is seen by the engineer from SW, initially they would always suspect the server even if you have an idea that it is not really a server problem. Then again they would insist that you should have raid 1+0. etc. I would always end up solving things on my own.

                                    To be fair, there are some cases where Support Engineers are capable of answering my questions with regards to my problems and there also times where when I am wrong with my assumptions on the problems encountered.  No one is perfect but yes there is always room for improvement and both of us from Support Engineers are learning from the problems we encounter everyday. 


                                    As for me, I still have cases which are unresolved for almost months now, I think maybe a year since I first created the case. Tellabs issue to be exact. It all started from unknown interfaces down to the very last which is unable to monitor its sub-interfaces. 

                                    our company is selling services for solarwinds including installations and support. and i myself is a solarwinds support of our company, and it is really hard for me to defend that the product is good when there are problems that not yet resolved. But another thing that is hard is that, being a support where I would anwer all of the problems encountered by our team with regards to solarwinds.  If in case i can't anymore answer their question I create a case to solarwinds technical support. And I guess this is the escalation process that we need. That if in case the engineer assigned to my case is not anymore capable of answering, it is ok to escalate it to a higher one. However, SW Support may say that this is already escalated but, users dont have any basis. I guess informing the users that their issues are already escalated is a good thing.

                                     

                                    I have always enjoyed solarwinds since I started it. It is really good. Have tried to take the certification but failed but still I'd like to try it one more time. I feel like its a challenge. But I hope we would still be encouraged to take this because we have to. I have nothing against Solarwinds Support but I only wish for its improvement. 

                                    Thanks,

                                      • Re: Solarwinds support quality ??


                                        I guess it would be better if the users know where their cases are already escalated and if possible to give updates on the current isolation being done by your team internally.


                                        That if in case the engineer assigned to my case is not anymore capable of answering, it is ok to escalate it to a higher one. However, SW Support may say that this is already escalated but, users dont have any basis. I guess informing the users that their issues are already escalated is a good thing.


                                         I have nothing against Solarwinds Support but I only wish for its improvement.


                                        Jedski you hit the nail on the head.

                                        It's all about communication and managing expectations.

                                      • Re: Solarwinds support quality ??
                                        jedski

                                        "it is just worth noting, that we are more likely to complain when things go wrong, than when things go right..."

                                         

                                        - I guess your right here....Thanks! I love this quote...lolz

                                          • Re: Solarwinds support quality ??

                                            Good feedback. Just want to point out that we're currently working to make support more transparent, as some of you mentioned. For example, we've added the ability to check the latest status of your support tickets in your customer portal.

                                            Support Ticket Status Now Visible in Your Customer Portal

                                            This is just phase one, and we have plans to continue to expand that functionality.

                                              • Re: Solarwinds support quality ??
                                                jeff.stewart

                                                I don't really know of any other company that supports its clients like SolarWinds!  I'm sure there are areas that need to be improved, but overall we've been very pleased with support.  Cheers.

                                                  • Re: Solarwinds support quality ??

                                                     

                                                    I don't really know of any other company that supports its clients like SolarWinds!  I'm sure there are areas that need to be improved, but overall we've been very pleased with support.  Cheers.

                                                    Hi Jeff and some others that responded on this topic,

                                                    I am happy to hear it is not a common issue I am having!!

                                                    By the way that does not mean that it does not happen.
                                                    The reason I started this topic is due to the fact that I experienced support as it does not need to be.

                                                    I wanted to share my experiences with you and Solarwinds (Thwack) so other users could share the thoughts and give Solarwinds the opportunity to react on the way I (and possibly others) am experiencing their support
                                                    (at this time).

                                                    My issue is not resolved yet, but now I was contacted by the next level of support and we got a go-to meeting for them to see what is happening (fingers crossed they will find the root cause).

                                                    Conclusion:
                                                    1) Some users do experience "bad" communication and have other expectations on delivery of solutions as Solarwinds has.

                                                    2) Fortunately it's not all users that are having this same feeling so support is not bad just need to improve.

                                                    3) My case got some attention and I am hoping someone at Solarwinds or the community can help me resolve the issue.



                                                  • Re: Solarwinds support quality ??
                                                    jedski

                                                    Yeah....I was really impressed with the new feature on the customer portal.

                                                    Great start!

                                                    Allison, would it be possible to have a chatroom here in the Solarwinds thwack?

                                                    • Re: Solarwinds support quality ??
                                                      reheindel

                                                      Allison, this is indeed a great first step. 

                                                      I won't speak for others, but if I can get status information about my open cases via a web portal, include case history, then that solves half of the issues I see expressed in this thread:

                                                      •  Where is my ticket (open, closed)
                                                      •  Who is working on it, is anyone working on it...
                                                      •  What was the last recommended fix
                                                      •  Is support waiting on the customer or is the customer waiting on support

                                                      Thanks,

                                                      Bob

                                                  • Re: Solarwinds support quality ??
                                                    brian_duvall

                                                    Hey Allison,

                                                    I didn't mean to sound like tickets don't get escalated. The issue is the time it takes as well as the reluctance of all tiers to communicate. If a case is escalated I should get an email notifying me the case was escalated and the new engineer assigned.  I should be able to contact and do GoTo meetings and work on the issue. I understand first tier doesn't have time necessarily to do GoTo meetings or deep troubleshooting but if the ticket is escalated that level should be taking steps like that to get to bottom of issue.

                                                    I will agree...102994 I am working with a high level person and this is the first time I have been emailing directly with one. But that said, the case was opened on 6/26 and the case didnt reach this level until months later.  This is a memory leak on the BusinessLayerHost and I couldn't get any feedback for a long time.  This is where the problem is. 

                                                    Here is what I am talking about..cases that sit forever that never get emailed about unless I follow up:

                                                    64389 - opened 10/21/2008 - never resolved
                                                    99257 - opened 6/8/2009 - never resolved
                                                    99722 - opened 6/10/2009 - no clue what status is..never got email feedback
                                                    ..and then the case i mentioned above.

                                                    All most of us are saying is that COMMUNICATION is the key and it isn't happening quick enough or to the level most paying customers expect from a support organization.  Most companies support teams have requirements of following up with the user every day while the issue is ongoing to find status or email with updates when they are available.  Half the time I hear absolutely nothing until weeks later and I get an email..."Your case was closed, upgrade to latest SP".  Then I schedule the upgrade and when complete, it is still broken.  It gets frustrating.

                                                      • Re: Solarwinds support quality ??
                                                        Congo

                                                        We use Orion to not only monitor our network, but to provide us with an invaluable tool for providing support to our customers. Having worked in this support field for quite a while, I have some unique perspective on this.

                                                        I agree with you brian_duvall, support was pretty bad in the range of tickets that you mention; response time, assertiveness, and understanding were all less than what I anticipated...however it appears they have undergone some immense changes recently, and I for one, am very pleased with support at the moment. Working in a tiered support structure myself,  I understand the need to go through Tier1 to start, as they sometimes have a one sentence resolution to my problem (whether this comes from them or they immediately had escalated and forward me an answer, I am unaware.)

                                                        I must have opened 10 tickets in the two days following my 9.5 upgrade. I was very pleased with the assertive response I was getting.

                                                         

                                                        I say keep up the good job, support team.