10 Apr 2007

On Feedback

Author: q | Filed under: Frustrations, SBS
In previous posts, I’ve lamented about the issues I’ve had with the PERC 5/i controller in Dell servers that I have rolled out to clients and put in my own office. Today, I had a conference call with Dell support and someone from the NOS group about the design of the card. The bottom line at the end of the call is that right now, Dell has no solution for being able to provide any automated notification for an array problem or failure, either through software or hardware. They have heard my feedback and are escalating the issue through the engineering group, but they have no answer for me at this time.

I don’t have a problem with this. In the three weeks I’ve been working with Dell on this problem, they’ve been very responsive and proactive about communicating with me when they have updates on the issue. Personally, I think that the argument I’ve presented is solid enough, and while everyone I have spoken with agrees with me, I’m just not sure that it’s a case of one person really making a difference.

So, at the recommendation of the Dell folks, I have posted the issue to their feedback site,Ideastorm. This is a site Dell has set up to accept direct feedback from their customers,and the engineering group, among others, takes the feedback given on the site seriously.

Well, as seriously as they can. Honestly, after looking through a few posts, there are some garbage posts up there, just like you’d expect from any unmoderated public-facing site that asks for thoughts and opinions. Still, they asked, and I complied.

This is where I want to get assistance from the community, and this request is two-fold. I have spoken with several VARs in the small business space who were totally unaware that there was not audible alarm on the PERC 5/i controller, and most were really quite surprised. So, first, if you interact with other VARs who you know sell or support Dell equipment, please let them know that the PERC 5/i has no audible alarm on it. They may not care, but they should at least know. Second, if you want to see this design changed back to having an audible alarm, or at the very least some automated notification tools running on the server directly (no, IT Assistant will not run on an SBS server, nor will it run on a 64-bit OS), check out my post at Ideastorm and comment or vote on it. If engineering sees a large number of VARs are not happy with the state of the hardware, there will likely be more impetus to take action quickly. The squeaky wheel getting the grease and all that. You will have to register on the site to make a comment and vote, but if you are concerned about this situation, please take the time to do so. Alternately, contact your Dell support or account rep and discuss the situation with them.

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