Kevin Kempf's Blog

February 17, 2011

Resolved with Solution?

Filed under: Oracle, Support — kkempf @ 11:48 am

Show me the Money!

Lets talk about My Oracle Support

WARNING!  I’m about to complain about Oracle Support!  Don’t read further if you’re too close to the Kool-Aid bowl!  I don’t know about you, but we pay a fortune for Oracle support.  Enough to easily cover the cost of hiring an experienced second DBA.  It’s a very artificial and contrived reference point, I admit.  But often, I ask myself, if I had another DBA, would they provide more value than Oracle support?  I fear the answer, more often than not, is yes.  I know it’s not feasible to take yourself off support.  But it’s fun to think about…

Resolved with Solution?

Unless you’re very different than me, I challenge you to look at your recent SRs closed with “Resolved with Solution”.  How many of them were actually solved by Oracle?  I mean their statistics at Oracle must be through the roof, because they’re never wrong, or unable to resolve my problem.  And even when I fix it myself (whether I refuse to tell them the solution or not) they close it “Resolved with Solution”.  Is letting the customer figure it out a solution?  Must be.

  • 11i forms/web footprint grows unabated.  Resolved with solution: check some irrelevant kernel parameters (upon receiving this task I pretty much abandoned the SR)
  • Install 11.1 Agent on X86_64 without ssh.  Resolved with solution: in 11g due to someconstraintsthey have removed this method of installation.
  • ORA 3137 running generic EM11g.  No fault found: Despite the fact that I said this error occurs intermittently in RDBMS 11.2 running against EM 11g (their product), they need a reproducible test case.
  • How to use my own SSL certificate with EM 11g.  Resolved with solution: Unfortunately the current release only supports 3rd party certificates with SSO
  • Discoverer 11g login page unavailable.  Resolved with solution: Thank you for the great explanation Kevin. I am researching and “playing” in our test environment and will update the SR with the results. (No update received, I wrote my own startup scripts and asked the SR be closed)
  • java.lang.NullPointerException after clicking on description: Resolved with Solution: (Me) Thanks I just don’t have time to run a bunch of diagnostics and queries especially for known issues. You should just ask me what version of “X” I’m on. I found the solution myself

Surely a Survey would Fix this?

Why is it every time I get an invitation to do a survey after an SR, it’s one where I asked the world’s easiest or more salient question.   It’s never when I have a random ORA-0600 in my alert log.  It’s more like when I ask “how do I set a session timeout in Discoverer 11g?”.  I rarely respond to surveys, since I’ve largely decided the whole game is rigged.

Food for Thought

Take a second and consider, if you will, what the following DBA would be worth to your organization.  I’ll use he/she indiscriminately, as it doesn’t really matter:

When issues arise, he’s always asking irrelevant questions, and refuses to work problems until he’s satisfied with the answers.

She always insists on being on the latest version of every possible product, even if it came out a day ago.  She even pushes this to the applications the users see, not just the database, even though there is no business requirement to upgrade.

He refuses to work after hours unless you’re right there working the issue after hours with him.

She has random talent swings which vary from incompetent to well qualified, and no consistent expertise.

You get so frustrated with his slow or shoddy work, that you often decide to find a solution and do it yourself.  When you go to the status meeting about the project, he claims credit for having done the work.

If you ask her the same question twice, it’s likely you’ll get a different answer.  Communicating with her is a very difficult and trying process.

I challenge you to at least think about the value you’re getting from Oracle support, versus what you’re paying.  My curiosity was piqued when I came across a company called Rimini Street at OAUG last year.  They’re a 3rd party support provider for Oracle. Of course, they’re in all kinds of legal trouble with Oracle because Larry doesn’t let anyone steal from the table.

What if you could buy a reduced cost tier of Oracle support where you simply had access to the online documentation, and patches/updates, and pay sharply if you had to contact an analyst? I for one would definitely consider that.

Finally, I ran into a group called Oracle Advanced Customer Services at a regional conference a year ago.  For all I know they don’t exist anymore.  But as far as I could tell, they were like a “super support” structure.  The woman basically said “You know, for when support can’t give you the answer”.  What?  So if I don’t like the bad support I’m paying a fortune for, I can pay even more and get good support?  Or are they some flavor of Oracle Consulting?  I didn’t understand.  Maybe I’d seen one too many sales pitch.

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