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


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

Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
what's the easiest and fastest way to the synthesize AgNP?
Damian Reply
types of nano material
abeetha Reply
I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
many many of nanotubes
what is the k.e before it land
what is the function of carbon nanotubes?
I'm interested in nanotube
what is nanomaterials​ and their applications of sensors.
Ramkumar Reply
what is nano technology
Sravani Reply
what is system testing?
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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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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