Tech Support & Social Media
In the olden days 🙂 if you wanted to voice your opinion on a product or service, or if you had issues the process usually involved picking up a phone and calling the company and sitting on hold for a while. Those days have most certainly changed. With the introduction of social media outlets such as facebook and twitter people are posting their views, opinions, and experiences with products and services for the world to see. And when that world includes users, customers, prospective customers and partners the companies and corporations manufacturing these products and services cannot afford to not participate. And this stands true with VMware and its ecosystem partners as well. Day after day I see the presence of the virtualization community growing on Twitter. I just want to take you through a scenario that I’ve been through recently and outline how the participation of some companies and community members in social media outlets took an absolute horrible event and turned it into a successful and great learning experience for myself
I don’t want to go to into detail about everything so I will just start off by saying we had two of our production storage controllers fail. Not a big deal, unless of course you only have two production storage controllers 🙂 Needless to say I initiated a support call with our storage vendor to get the ball rolling. As we were waiting for the dispatched field tech to arrive I decided I would send a tweet out to see if anyone has been in this situation before and had a few recommendations on how to approach the errors we were getting. Within minutes I had a response from @hpstorageguy Calvin Zito. After a few tweets back and forth with Calvin I started to notice some emails coming into my inbox from him. Roughly 45 minutes after our storage went down, I had an inbox full of information from Calvin and some of his field techs outlining what had happened, why it happened and possible resolutions. Although I wasn’t going to try and tackle this issue myself it was nice to better understand what happened and have somewhat of an idea of what our field tech was saying when they arrived. I was lucky enough to meet Calvin at VMworld this year and thank him in person. If you don’t follow @hpstorageguy on twitter I would definitely recommend doing so. He’s and active blogger, runs a podcast, and constantly contributes to the community.
Since the storage failure, we noticed that quite a few of our vms’ disks had become corrupt. I repaired what I could but some disks just proved to be non-repairable. So I started the restore process on a handful of vms using our backup solution @veeam. I tweeted a few times about what I was doing, and again, immediately began receiving responses from @veeam and @rickvanover. Although I didn’t need any support from veeam (mainly due to the fact that their products are pretty intuitive and easy to use), they certainly offered up their help in the case that I needed it and that in itself was reassuring. Whether you are a Veeam customer or not I would most definitely recommend following @veeam and @rickvanover. Again, Rick blogs, produces quality podcasts, and is very active on twitter.
So, with our production environment once again running as it should, I continued on with the process of working on the project I was in the middle of before all this disaster hit, which ironically enough was an offsite backup and replica solution. I was in the middle of deploying an EMC VNXe that we had purchased earlier as the storage for this solution. I found the VNXe very easy to install and configure with the exception of some of the networking components. I had been following @henriwithani for a month or so now and had seen that he had been putting together a very informative blog series based on the VNXe. His post however had been based off the 3300 and we had the 3100 and there were a few differences that I had noticed. I decided to send him a quick tweet just to see if he knew what my issue was. The result, about 15 tweets later was a fully functional redundant EMC VNXe. Big thanks to @henriwithani for all his help and be sure to check out his blog here.
I felt like sharing this experience as I found it amazing to get the support that I did through social media. With the exception of the first support call regarding the storage controllers (which was pretty serious) all the issues were solved without picking up a telephone and at the comfort of my desk. I found out through the last few years that there is a plethora of information out there on twitter, you just need to learn how to follow it.
4 thoughts on “Tech Support & Social Media”
Thanks for the kind words, Mike. Hopefully all is good now; glad we could help.
(I work for Veeam)
All is well now Rick! Kind of boring actually 🙂 Thanks for the help and props to Veeam for making the investment in social media that they do!
Glad I could help – it’s not often that I’m in “the right place at the right time” but I did see your tweet shortly after you sent it. I’m not tech support but have a huge group of HP pre-sales architects that I can reach out to and they are the ones that helped me get answers to the issue you had. Again, glad to have helped!
Thanks Calvin, I know it wasn’t the first time I’ve asked for you advice, just wanted to give props to those who take the time to help.