Server vendor has special help desk for lying, incompetent sysadmins

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On-Call Welcome again to On-Call, our festive Friday frolic through readers’ recollections of jobs gone bad.

This week, something a little different from reader “DB” who says “I do server hardware warranty support for a known enterprise server vendor.”

DB’s been at it for 20 years and says he’s spent his career working on PCs, handhelds, networks and servers.

“I fix things,” says DB. “That’s what I do.”

Over 20 years DB has seen plenty. A particular low light came in the 1990s, when he had to deal with newly-minted Microsoft Certified Support Engineers “who hadn’t ever touched a piece of hardware, solved a real problem, or provided a real solution to any problem.”

DB labels those folks “Memorization geeks who’d passed tests, and gave the appearance of being experts when in fact, they didn’t know how to do anything.”

These days he thinks hell desk enemy number one is “useless System Administrators who create config problems when they make config mistakes and try to cover it by claiming hardware failure.”

“They resist sending logs but the diagnostic logs always reveal that no hardware has failed and that it is in fact, config.”

DB says the company he works for now has a whole department who handles calls like that. ¸ “A lot of useless sysadmins get transferred to the ‘How To’ team that I don’t work on,” he says, insisting he would need “a significant bump up in pay to add that to my current duties.”

He’s also reserving a place on an ice moon prison for callers who appear to work for third party support providers and just won’t do anything other than insist on a visit from a tech. He suspects that’s because those support providers don’t actually have feet on the street everywhere they promise to do so and aren’t capable of doing any meaningful support remotely.

DB’s tale makes for a rather different On-Call that we’re keen to explore. So if you work on a hell desk, or at a vendor in another capacity, or just have other tales of jobs gone pear-shaped, write to me and you could find yourself in a future edition of this crazy continuing column. ®

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