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Hanging on the telephone

May 13, 20043 mins
Enterprise Applications

* Novell support options

In checking on Novell’s support options for the last issue, I noticed what appeared to be a lot more options than I remembered. If it’s been a while since you explored the various programs available, this issue of the newsletter is for you.

Paid telephone support is the oldest of Novell’s support mechanism and has been available for over ten years. Before then, telephone support was free although you did pay the long distance charges to the phone company.

The paid support is charged on a “per incident” basis rather than per call. This means that you pay only once and Novell stays with you – through numerous calls, if necessary – until the problem is resolved.

In North America, there are two tiers of service: one offering 24-7 access and the other – a less expensive tier – is available 12 hours a day (6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mountain Standard/Daylight Time) Monday through Friday. You’d think that it would always be advantageous to choose the 12X5 plan, but that does limit when you can make follow-up calls, so there is an advantage to 24-7.

Paid telephone support is based on an ad-hoc, pay-as-you-go service. If you prefer a subscription based or a “one time fee for all of my problems” type of plan, Novell offers a ‘Premium Service.” This is also multi-tiered, with six levels of service offered in the U.S. See the link below for a chart comparing the features of the various plans.

None offers unlimited support, by the way, but you can choose from 10-, 25- or 50-incident packages. These packages also give you a guaranteed maximum response time, ranging from 15 minutes to 4 hours. Do note, though, that a “response” is not the same as a “resolution” (which ends the incident) and neither should be confused with a “solution.” Resolution of an incident may simply mean that all parties agree that you can’t accomplish what you’d like to do.

Anyone with a support agreement, by the way, can use online chat instead of a phone call to contact Novell support. Why would you want to use online chat? For starters, the queue waiting time is usually shorter. But in addition, the technician you contact has tools available that will work across the Internet to both diagnose and solve many problems that typically occur and which require opening an incident. While eChat is currently only available 12X5, an added advantage, it’s rumored, is that the engineer you “talk” to is most likely senior to the tech support person you’d get if you telephoned in.

There are other, specialized programs available for those who are Novell partners, developers, Certified Novell Engineers (CNEs), as well as for those using particular Novell technologies, such as the Ximian tools. See the “Paid Product Support” link below for all of the possibilities. Still, starting with the free support (see “Paid Support Forums” link below) could be your best move in all but the direst of emergencies.