Tuesday, October 31, 2006


The company I work at standardized on a server platform long before I signed on. That platform? The *ell 2850 multiprocessor PowerEdge server. I'll refer to the builder as *ell, since this Austin, Texas based computer supplier is not flattered by what has been going on in my life.
Anyway, the 2850 was a reliable old server. The build process included these steps:

1. Stick in the Windows 2003 Server CD and turn on the server
2. Hit F6
3. Load the disk array drivers from a floppy
4. Complete the OS install
5. Get on with life, content in a job well done

And then, *ell discontinued the 2850. It was replaced with the 2950. Upgraded hardware is awesome, right?
Ok, so I started building it, got to the floppy part (heheheh . . . floppy part) and -- There is no floppy drive on the 2950.
I tried USB drives, loading the drivers from a CD, and using default Microsoft drivers. Nothing worked.
In desperation, I tried the *ell supplied "Install Media". This disk contains all the drivers and sets up the computer for the installation. It also loads a bunch of unnecessary crap, but I was out of options.
The CD booted as expected, cached the install media, started the Linux build kernel and . . . "Input Out of Range". The display just died.
I downloaded new install media and tried again. "Input Out of Range"
I called *ell and explained the issue. They claimed immediately that my monitor was obviously low-quality and that I should get a better one. I asked which rack-mounted *ell-branded LCD was recommended and they rattled off a model number.
I told them that was the rack-mounted *ell-branded LCD monitor the server was attached to already. We have all *ell stuff.
They were at a loss.
As we were placing an order for 40 more *ell servers for Disaster Recovery, the sales rep (ever so helpful when you are buying 40 servers) offered to send out a tech to educate us on the 2950.

You know what? He couldn't get it working either. He gave us a hacked work-around.
He was helpful and seemed concerned, but in the end took the story back to *ell escalated support for resolution. They sent this to me today:

From: B*********************s@*ell.com
Sent: Monday, October 30, 2006 2:50 PM
To: ****,Garrick
Cc: R*******************t@*ell.com; D**************n@*ell.com; *******,Shane; W**********************y@*ell.com; D*************l@*ell.com
Subject: RE: RE: *ell Support Services: Incident # 1627770

Was informed by D******l that you should be made aware of the following info that I had requested to continue troubleshooting this issue and why:

This is the NOS analyst assigned to assist Brian ****** on this issue. I instructed Brian ****** to request the info needed in order to escalate this case due to the requirements that IPS has when performing an escalation. Upon reviewing two other PSE cases with the same issue:

You will see that IPS needs SPECIFIC info on type of monitor being used,refresh rates tried,firmware version, and basic troubleshooting (ie..changing of different equipment,monitors,DSA ISO cd versions). If we cannot perform these basic procedures and provide sufficient info, we CANNOT escalate to IPS and even if we did ignore proper escalation procedures and escalated, IPS would refuse to work the issue and reject it upon grounds of lack of info/insufficient data. Dan, in order for us to provide the best customer service and efficiently and quickly resolve issues, we need the customer to be willing to work with us on gathering data/troubleshooting this issue.

In addition to asking for this info; it is to be stated that IPS is well aware of this issue and have been working on a DSA beta that will address this issue. Planned scheduled rollout on this DSA Beta is MAR 2007.


Capitalization and tone were unedited by me.
I forwarded it to my manager with the subject line "WTF?" By then, I was too angry to not reply.
First, they again blamed our equipment while somehow also admitting that there is a known issue with the install media? Holy crap!


From: ****,Garrick
Sent: Monday, October 30, 2006 3:33 PM
To: *****, Dan
Cc: *******,Shane
Subject: FW: RE: *ell Support Services: Incident # 1627770

The build seems to be fine with the work-around you provided.
The part number on the dongle is OUF366 Rev. A00.

Is Mr. ****** aware that everything attached to this server is a *ell-branded product?

The fact that I haven't provided model numbers and refresh rates is the direct result of my never having been asked them and in any event has no bearing on the known issue currently being worked by IPS.
Does he really need the refresh rates from me? I can dig them up, but if this is a known issue with the DSA I can't understand how it would help.




I didn't curse. I blame the "Respectful Workplace". You know, I can understand wanting to close tickets and move on, but there is a global issue with no resolution until March of 2007! Holy crap again!

The response from the tech who visited us on site:

-----Original Message-----
From: D********@*ell.com
To: ****,Garrick
CC: **********,Shane
Sent: Mon Oct 30 15:37:43 2006
Subject: RE: RE: *ell Support Services: Incident # 1627770

Yes, I had give Brian ****** info on you using all *ELL branded components like *ELL branded 2160AS KVM switch, *ELL branded flat panel monitor, etc.) for *ELL rack. Since issue could be caused by resolution and refresh rate, they would need to know this information.

Thanks for the other information.

Systems Engineer
(832) 555-9231 (Work)
(832)555-5275 (Cell)
Email: d************@*ell.com

How am I doing? Please contact my manager J************************t at j****************************t@*ell.com with any feedback.

For the record, I did not contact anyone's manager.

Ok. Whew. I hate Dell. Ah, crap. Forgot the "*".


Shana said...

You can refer to them as JOBST.


UO Gold said...

We would be happy to supply you with enough 2850s to last till *ell resolves the issues with 2950s which will probably take them a 6 months or so.


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