I wanted to find out…
During my time on the community and using Spiceworks I have sent a lot of people thought to the support guys at Spiceworks when they get an application error or a problem in which the community can’t fix.
I then suddenly thought, HANG ON, how good is the support? Are people actually being helped? How long does it take?
Not having heard any complaints about the support I thought I would give it ago and see where I ended up.
To make this a fair test I setup a new account, you may have seen him on the totally random thread. Fish Out Of Water. His name is Graham Drummond; he’s not a real person and has a @live.co.uk address. Fish out of water was just something random I thought off when making the email address. Seemed to work. He even managed to get ready for Christmas with a little red hat.
This way Spiceworks wouldn’t know it was me and would react as normal, thus making it a fair test
Now I had to make an error, bugger, how do I break an application in which I have never had any issues with? HMMM… After trying many different things I decided to change the DB… oh deary me, application error, what a surprise.
So I posted up in the community to see if anyone came along to help, boy that akp982 is quick. Ok yes I posted on my “own” topic, mainly to help try and throw Spiceworks. I mean who would reply to their own problem?
Then Leo came along and mentioned it worked fine for him on windows 7 64bit, I waited a while, checked out the community for anything else about application errors, a lot answered by me already just saying send your logs to Spiceworks.
So I did, this morning around 5am Spiceworks time…
I quickly put together an email using my original community post and attached the logs.
Very quickly I got a nice looking email back with my support ticket number. As well as a few other helpful bits like being able to get an answer right now on the community and some nice “other resources”
Very nice auto reply
My Ticket number is 30009… bugger they have dealt with a lot of issues. Wonder how quick they will reply.
So just under 9 hours later, taking into account it was 5 in the morning when I sent them the logs and Spiceworks is a product that is used globally meaning they will get problems emailed in at all times of the day.
So really it was 4 working hours! I had a reply from Robert Salge, still presented in the nice frame, but to make it easier to read I copied it out.
The technical reply
Did you add any custom attributes when changing settings?
I see this error:
<ActiveRecord::SubclassNotFound: The single-table inheritance mechanism failed to locate the subclass: ‘Compute’. This error is raised because the column ‘type’ is reserved for storing the class in case of inheritance. Please rename this column if you didn’t intend it to be used for storing the inheritance class or overwrite Device.inheritance_column to use another column for that information.)
This type of thing is normally caused by manual database entries or a failed migration. This just happened with a clean installation?
If you uninstall Spiceworks and do not back up the database does it act the same way?
So for software I can get for free they responded to my problem within 4 working hours wanting to find out some more information and help me overcome the issue.
Very quickly it shows that Spiceworks cares about its users and how well Spiceworks works. Robert spent the time to look though my logs and hit the problem on the nail.
They looked though the log files and very quickly found the problem, so now how can I extend this out to find out if they care and are willing to help me fix the problem?
I decided to throw in a “red herein” by saying that there seems to also be some DNS errors. Could this be the real reason?
Thanks for getting back to me.
I have not currently changed the database nor added or changed any custom attributes. It was a clean install this morning, only thing I did notice when just looking though the logs was that my machine name is set to "ANDY" in the logs but was picked up as "Graham" in the scan, I recently changed machine name when we hijacked another companies machines and moved them from domain to domain.
What table would that type be? Any suggestion for a database tool I could download to take a look?
Hopefully this will stall them for a while and maybe confuse them? Slightly… Maybe?
42 minutes later
WOW I was shocked, within 45mins I had my second reply.
You can take a look at the DB by using SQLite Manager.
Or send me over the database and I will take a look and try to fix for you.
I imagine that you are looking at some stale DNS records and that can cause many issues with Inventory and scanning.
So how do I reply to this, I’ve found out what I wanted that the support is great let’s close the case up, I don’t want to waste too much off their time for a problem that isn’t real…
Would be a bit unfair to everyone else who has an issue.
Closing the case
Thank you for getting back to me again.
I had a look in the DB and found under devices as you said the type was set to ‘Compute’ added a r on the end and it sort of started to work. I can get into the inventory but when I click the device it seems to get confused and takes a while to show me the details. I think like you said the DNS is probably causing the problems now, I’ll try putting it on one off our servers this machine is a bit queer but it was cheap. Time for a good old fashion rebuild.
All the best
Keep up the good work
Problems like this must be a pain for you so thanks a lot.
Can you spot the mention of akp982? Seeing how this is now the end of the case I decided to try and drop a little hint…
So the hint didn’t work…
If the hint had worked I would have expected a slightly different reply from this one:
It was no trouble at all. Would you like some help in trying to get DNS cleaned up? I will be happy to assist further if you would like. Otherwise just let me know and I will archive this ticket for you.
I was writing this post up and mucking about on the community again when aren’t I mucking about on the community come to think of that and the above reply popped up. Even I was surprised, Spiceworks don’t know about me yet and I had a reply about a problem that wasn’t related to their software.
The fact that my “DNS problems” the ones I faked aren’t even related to Spiceworks and the support team are willing to help out to ensure I can get the most out of the software.
Can you think of any paid for software in which would offer you this kind of support level?
I’m not going to “waste” there time nor mine trying to fake the issue even more…
I’ll leave it until this post goes live and reply saying…
Thanks for your help Robert,
You have really helped me and I was amazed with your responses.
You have heard of Spiceworks-News? Or akp982? Well… Hiya
You may want to have a looksy at unofficialspiceworks.com, you may be in for a shock.
Cheers for now, see ya around the community.
Keep an eye on Spiceworks-News for the moment they found out about this and who “Fish Out Of Water” really is and the reaction I got from Jen when I told her about it.
I can’t wait to find out what they think either.
So how good can support for FREE software be?
In the case off Spiceworks GREAT! They responded in more detail and better time scales than a lot of other software companies I have had issues with but have had to pay for their software.
The support was quick, professional and helpful. Trying to help me find and fix problems with their software and also with my servers and network, I remember trying to get help from Symantec on a trial of their software and ended up going around in circles and finally giving up.
If I had just installed and came across an error that I had to email the support about I would be extremely impressed and carry on using the software.
Being able to see that little bit of information about the support team makes you feel warmer when talking to them. People like the self taught computer nerd Robert or the Rock Climbing Ben even the song writing Marcelo. (Sorry if I missed you off, only did a quick search on the community.)
Can you think of other companies that provide you with this level of getting involved?
What the community has to say about the support
After hunting around the community for ages for comments on the support given to users by Spiceworks, I could not find a bad word about it. Everyone said they fixed the issue quickly and professionally.
Brent.Paschal recently had to send his logs to support team about old alerts showing up. His initial response to the support level was:
Loving the level of support for a free product.
If you hunt around the community you will find a fair few amount of people who have had to send off their logs but none of them have anything bad to say.
So as Spiceworks grows will the support level stay the same?
Could some of these problems end up moving into the community?
Maybe a “community” packager in which doesn’t give away names or IP’s etc?
In my opinion the support will grow from strength to strength with or without moving into the community. The team at Spiceworks work very hard to ensure the product is stable and works all the time.
Issues are often fixed extremely quickly; problems like Login bizarrity have been fixed within an hour of the problem being confirmed by the support team.
As mentioned before all of the developers are also on the community which means they are often floating around popping in and out helping people where they can. Well mainly when they see a really easy question to fix and leave the hard ones for the dedicated community members like Scott Alan Miller.
More vendor support in the future
Will the future bring more vendors into the community to support their users? With the rate the community has grown we have seen lots of vendors jump into the community to help their users and to try and discretely market products. Will this with it bring better vendor support though the community? Will we end up seeing a “support section” in which multiple vendors can use?
Support in the community and for Spiceworks itself is set to continue growing.
That a rap
That’s it I’ve run out of good things to say about the support I got for an issue that wasn’t really there.
The team do a great job and I want to personally thank all of them for making sure a great product which is used by so many people all over the world.
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Thanks for reading…
Was a bit of a long old post but hay, I could have made it one paragraph saying it’s great and left it at that?
Want to a write up about any other aspect of Spiceworks? Leave a comment or drop me an email using the contact form.