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Creating and updating support cases in an effective manner is essential to timely problem resolution

Introduction

I spent quite a while working in an enterprise Tier 2/3 support role, and have had extensive experience interfacing with software systems support engineers both prior to and after that role in support. This guide is intended to provide an introduction to the most effective techniques for creating, managing, and closing a support case from both the supportee and supporter views. As a supportee opening a case, what are the salient things the individual who will respond to your case going to be looking for? And as a supporter trying to solve a problem, what would be the best thing(s) for your customer/reporter to provide to you?

While every application will have different specific needs, there are myriad overlaps between systems, and knowing how to interact effectively with the product's support team is crucial to the successful use of any environment.

If your vendor has a specific policy regarding ticket reporting and case creation, by all means follow their guidelines - if they vary from this guide, make sure you do what they ask, when they ask!

Identifying the problem

The first mandate of successfully navigating the support process is to properly identify the issue at hand. A solid knowledge of basic troubleshooting skills is helpful, but - especially the larger the tool - not only is domain expertise needed, individual components of a system may react in unexpected ways. For example, an error may manifest itself in a log file as a component getting an "OutOfMemory" message, when the real issue is that your JVM can't expand its memory usage from the system heap due to insufficient swap space (a specific example that haunted me for over a week on one project).

Be sure to familiarize yourself with the system's log file locations: in all probability not only will they provide initial clues to the issue, but the support engineer will ask for them to be added to the case you create during the process. On a Linux/Unix system, this is typically in /var/log/appname .

Helpful case titles and descriptions

The most useful aspect of any support case is a helpful, descriptive title, and a clear explanation of the issues witnessed. The least useful title I can recall having seen was "problem". Not what the problem was, but just "problem". Try instead for something like "Cannot start tomcat6 on Ubuntu 10.10 x64" - this describes the basics of what you are trying to do, and where you are trying to do it!

Adding an initial description to our case title above might look like the following:

After successfully running sudo apt-get install tomcat6 on my Ubuntu 10.10 x64 server, Tomcat will not start.
The following message is showing in /var/log/tomcat/stderr.out : ...
Debugging steps taken: ...
This shows the support engineer what you are seeing, and what you have already done - both of which you will be asked for!

Because you've shown at least some inclination towards being helpful, the support technician(s) are likely going to be more inclined to want to work with you to a resolution. In this specific example, you've identified some errors showing up in a specific log file - go ahead and add that log (or perhaps the whole log directory, if appropriate) to the case so that the engineer(s) you interact with can have a head start on their more advanced troubleshooting steps.

Questions & Answers

the cell wall is targeted
Rebel Reply
what is rispiration
Liaquat Reply
transpiration in organism
Liaquat
what is biology mean?
Nickey Reply
bio means life logy means study . study about life . physiology. morphology . anatomy and others organisms related topics is termed as biology
Darshan
Biology is the study life. that the study about living organism
SIRAJO
cell
Gachriku
what is oxidation?
Rose Reply
 the state or result of being oxidized
Emmanuel
hahahaha thanks, but my teachers requires a thorough meaning about that
Rose
Is the process of oxidizing ,the addition of oxygen to a compound with a loss of electrons, always accompanied by reduction
Korletey
loss of electron....
Anwar
thank you. 😊
Rose
thank you. 😊
Rose
thank you. 😊
Rose
what is oxidized
Oyebanji
the process or result of oxidizing or being oxidized.
Jersey
my pleasure
Anwar
Google itttt.....if need explanation
Anwar
to rose...
Anwar
oxidation is the removal of oxygen addition of hydrogen
SIRAJO
what is genetic
Chibawa Reply
genetic is the study of inheritance and variation
Elizon
Nice one genetic is the scientific study of heredity and variation in living organism
SIRAJO
Genetic : generally is the scientific study of heredity and variation in living thing .
Olorukooba
name the enzymes that i found in the saliva
Valuables Reply
salivary amylase
Isaac
draw a bacterium cell and label
Kadijah Reply
What are the osmoregulatory functions of the kidney?
bisi Reply
filter
Meenu
What is ecology
Hebert Reply
it is the study of interaction of living organisms with their environment.
Doris
what is cell
Etama Reply
cell is the basic unit of life
Asiatou
cell is the basic structural and functional unit of an living organism
Darshan
a cell is the smallest and most basic unit of a living thing
John
cell is the basic unit of life. we are made up of 60,000 billions of cells.Each cell carry out a specific function in the body.
Pallavi
A cell is the smallest basic functioning unit of life.
Ali
where is the pectoral gridle located?
Tiania Reply
What is hypotonic
Bright Reply
what is hypotonic
Dangaya
Hypotonic means weak solution
Ali
the difference between the two cells
Obeng Reply
explain the courses and the correction of lon term sightedness and short term sightedness
Isaac Reply
long sightedness is said to be like someone that can see far object clearly why short sightedness is someone that only can see near obect
SHEDRACK
why drinking excess alcohol causes thirst and dehydration
uwikuzo Reply
Can we chat about nutrition please?
Elia
yes
Uzair
sure
Uzair
Uhm why is it so important to follow the nutritional process?
Elia
BC it contribute to the source of life
SHEDRACK
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Source:  OpenStax, Debugging and supporting software systems. OpenStax CNX. Aug 29, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11350/1.2
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