Wednesday Apr 01, 2009

Solaris 8 Vintage starts today!

With effect from today, April 1st 2009, Solaris 8 has entered phase two of its end of service life transition. This means that while you can continue to get telephone support and access to existing Solaris 8 patches, you will not get access to any new Solaris 8 patches produced from this date onwards unless you have signed up for a Vintage Patch plan.

For more details on this, please visit our Solaris 8 EOSL page.

You may also want to consider an upgrade to Solaris 10, which is something you can get our help with if you need it. There's a raft of new technology in Solaris 10 that may appeal. We've also done a lot of work maturing the patch and live upgrade infrastructure to make maintaining Solaris 10 even easier.

Tuesday May 13, 2008

Solaris 8 End of Service Life & Vintage Support

On April 1st, 2009, Solaris 8 completes its service life. This means that support for Solaris 8 effectively ceases with no further new patches being made available.

However, I'm pleased to report that we will be offering a Vintage Support Plan for Solaris 8, so that you can continue to get support (including the escalation path up to us in engineering) and patches for your Solaris 8 environment. The good news is that the pricing model for Solaris 8 Vintage Support should be substantially better value compared with the old Solaris 6 program!

If you want to take advantage of Solaris 10 and the latest hardware while preserving your Solaris 8 runtime environment, why not download our Solaris 8 containers?

I'll update my blog soon with more news soon. In the meantime, if you're interested in Solaris 8 Vintage Support, feel free to email me directly and I'll follow up with you.

Thursday May 08, 2008

OpenSolaris provokes!

OpenSolaris certainly seems to have stirred up a great deal of both interest and controversy in equal measure! There's been a lot of reasoned debate and a very encouraging level of interest and optimism too! Naturally there has been a whole load of the usual foaming at the mouth rhetoric but hey, so what? Religious "OS vs. OS" flamewars are nothing new...and by the looks of it, these wars are as intellectually impoverished as ever.

Personally I think it's all rather reassuring. If OpenSolaris was of little consequence or, as was asserted by a laughable bit of FUD, doomed to die, then we wouldn't be seeing such emotionally charged battle lines being drawn. Clearly we're doing something right to provoke such a defensive response!

That said, I don't assert that there aren't valid questions and concerns being expressed or that rational discussions aren't taking place. To be honest, I guess this is less about advocating OpenSolaris and more about my personal dismay at the flamewar phenomenon in general. It's just that the OpenSolaris versus Linux issue seems to be the "flamewar du jour" and it reminded me of my distaste for all the online pontification that goes on.

Curiously, I learnt recently that a possible explanation for this psychology is that people are far more unlikely to change their stance in group settings (whether that's a group of people in a meeting or in a public forum) due to a visceral need to "save face" - the fallacy being that you lose face by being persuaded to adjust your views. Frankly, I tend to have much more respect for people who don't fall for this delusion and retain their rationality. Anyway I digress...

This is still the start of the journey for OpenSolaris. We (Sun and the community) have a lot more work to do. It's certainly too soon to be wishfully doomsaying with any credibility. Interestingly, I'm already hearing of inquiries coming in about the OpenSolaris production support offering. It will be interesting to see how many folks sign up for this.

The production support includes 24x7 coverage with a 1 hour response commitment to top priority calls. Note also that if necessary, support calls under this plan can be escalated up to our team in engineering...just as they can under the regular support plans.

Okay, so you don't get the onsite hardware rapid response support like you would with a regular enterprise service plan - this is a software only. But for the price, this is a really cool offering!

Tuesday May 06, 2008

Insist on rational troubleshooting!

Sometimes, things break...it happens. This can be annoying but if you can log a support call and get the problem diagnosed and resolved in a timely manner, that can be such a positive experience that it actually more than offsets the inconvenience of the original problem. A customer can feel confident that they're in good hands and that their support contract was a worthwhile investment.

If the reported problem is in any way complex, then the only way to get this done effectively is with a rational troubleshooting process. Taking intuitive guesses at what the problem may be and/or making repeated requests for data in the hope of "getting lucky" are guaranteed, sure-fire ways to drive a customer up the wall with frustration.

What follows is a spiral of chaos - the customer starts beating up on the service and account teams. They, in turn, can panic and exacerbate the problem with even more earnest but futile wild stabs in the dark. The customer soon gets the sense that nobody has any idea what's going on. Conference calls ensue, fists bang on tables and the crazy scrabble for progress on the issue continues. Sigh!

It can all be easily avoided through rational troubleshooting!

The Sun Global Resolution (SGR) process is a rational troubleshooting program derived from Kepner-Tregoe. We use these techniques for gathering, organizing and analyzing problem-specific data. We then base our diagnostic and remedial action plans on this analysis.

The advantages of the process are compelling. Not only do we not make the problem worse by guessing, we quickly distill the data gathering into specific and relevant areas. By organizing related data together and analyzing the results, we can typically identify what is odd, unusual or distinctive about the problem scenario far quicker than relying on intuition alone.

Additionally, the customer can see from our action plans what we're doing, why we're doing it and where we're going. This inspires a whole lot more confidence and keeps everyone in sync.

So why am I blogging about all this? Well, this is a topic dear to my heart! When a problem cannot be diagnosed or resolved by the customer support organization, then it can be escalated to our engineering team. (Note that our cousins in Services do an excellent job - only a tiny percentage of issues ever get escalated to us). Cases where the troubleshooting is uncontrolled are very rare. However, in almost every one of those rare cases that I have been involved with, our rational troubleshooting process has not been applied!.

If you ever feel like a problem is not making good diagnostic progress, go ahead and demand that the SGR process is applied to your issue...and you can quote me on that!

About

Jimmo has been at Sun since 1994 and is currently a director within the software organization. This blog is infrequently updated with his thoughts, ramblings and observations. Enjoy!

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