Our Small Business Server machine crashed two nights ago. That’s the
least fun I’ve had in several weeks.
There’s been so much activity after RSA, that losing the server just
about drove me to drink. So I wasn’t thinking clearly about the best
way to recover from the crash. Finally, I figured that I should just
call Dell, play sort of dumb, and ask them what to do.
Well, as painful as the overall experience of recovering a
mission-critical server tends to be, calling Dell was definitely the
right thing to do. First, I was connected to the tech support guy
within a minute of dialing, which I consider to be amazing these days.
Next, he quickly decoded the status lights on the front of the machine,
determined it to be a memory failure, and walked me through checking all
of the RAM. We identified one bad stick (for which Dell is sending me a
replacement overnight at no cost).
Total time spent on the phone, including testing all four RAM sticks:
less than 30 minutes, at which point the machine was back up and running
again, since the bad RAM had been removed.
My only minor complaint? Before I was routed to the real tech support,
some dispatcher guy came on to ask me about my service tag number. I
asked if that’s the same as the serial number, which was the only thing
I could find, and had written down. He didn’t know if that was
sufficient, and he went quiet for a bit. Anyway, that guy could
definitely be replaced with a touch-tone entry system, based on the
model number, for example, which is what I ended up giving him. The
call would have been even faster if I’d just gone straight to the real
One more comment: I’m 99% certain that this was not an offshore call
center (although the first guy might have been offshore). I’m merely
making an observation, but I was pleasantly surprised by it.