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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

where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
learn
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
learn
Google
da
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Bhagvanji
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
revolt
da
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
Damian
yes that's correct
Professor
I think
Professor
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
Alexandre
nanocopper obvius
Alexandre
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
Rafiq
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
Damian
How we are making nano material?
LITNING Reply
what is a peer
LITNING Reply
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
LITNING Reply
What is STMs full form?
LITNING
scanning tunneling microscope
Sahil
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Santosh
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
Mahi
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
Rafiq
if virus is killing to make ARTIFICIAL DNA OF GRAPHENE FOR KILLED THE VIRUS .THIS IS OUR ASSUMPTION
Anam
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Anam
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
Hafiz
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
Bob
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
brayan
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Damian
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
Renato
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
?
Kyle
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
Adin
why?
Adin
what school?
Kyle
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
Joe
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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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