What would you do?

On August 30, 2007, in Rants, by

Susan,   What would you do?   I get a new client last week with a 4 week old install of SBS premium on a new ML310.  As I dig into this system here is what I find:   Office, including Outlook is installed on the server.  Firefox is installed.  IE reports “Need to run CEICW”.  Companyweb is a single page custom website published to the outside world.  Sharepoint admin page loads but all the links on it go 404.  User my docs are redirected to a user share but all users have access to all files.  System monitoring reports “need to run SBS setup”.  Trying to add a user in System Monitor reports “need to run SBS setup”.  Users can be added directly into AD.  All users/ computers there are in the wrong containers.  OS is at SP2.  ISA not installed.  Single NIC configuration.  There are 13 users on 5 CALS but somehow the system doesn’t die because … there is a scheduled job set to run every 10 minutes to kill the licenseServer service.   …  There is more but my fingers are getting tired.    This installation was by a local support vendor with a Microsoft Partner logo on their website.    Sorry to go on so long, here are my questions.  Would you try to clean this up or would you flatten it and start over?  Does MS do any policing of what goes on under their logo?      My gut feel is to flatten this box and reload it, but I am really uncomfortable telling any client that the first thing I need to do is start over and build their box my way especially after they just paid someone else to do that for them.

It’s hard to come in behind someone isn’t it?  But there are so many things wrong with this setup it’s not funny.  About the only two things I’m not freaking out over is the fact that it has Windows 2003 sp2 and only one nic.  But that “job to kill the license server service”…that’s just so wrong in so many ways it’s not funny.

This firm that set this up should be ashamed of themselves.  There’s no excuse in this day and age not to set up a SBS box right.  There’s a community out here willing to help.  There’s documentation up the wazoo.  There are books. 

And if a consultant STILL cannot set up a SBS box as it is intended to be set up, then they don’t deserve to be in the IT business.

Yes that’s a harsh comment.  But this customer deserves better than this. 

Microsoft is in a tough spot.  Come down hard on partners that are screwing up like this and someone somewhere will complain about anti-competitive practices and “favoring Gold partners” or something…. but customers deserve better than this.  That’s for sure.

Oh yeah..what would I do?

Flatten it and reinstall.  There’s just too many unknowns and possible more screw ups.


6 Responses to What would you do?

  1. Dan says:

    Run into it every day with a particular partner here in my neck of the woods. We have made a decision that it is better for us, and cheaper in the long run for the client to go ahead and start from scratch. PITA, yes…. But for future sanity and spending sometimes twice as long on a problem… Is it worth it??

    Susan you are exactly right! They do not deserve to be in the IT business…. How hard is it to RTFM…

  2. Patrick OConnor says:

    I would flatten it. Nothing wrong with letting the customer they did not get what they paid for….just keep problems specific and impersonal….maybe a rport of the current installation status???

  3. paleo says:

    I simply cant understand why MS doesnt do anything against those guys. They are destroying the whole market reputation. When we get into that business we start from less something, never from ground zero as they dont trust anyone anymore after being so misguided in the past.

    IMHO, the problem starts on the way a business get certified as a partner. Its a lot more important to pay the fee than to show skills. The online tests are for sales persons, not technical ones, but them they show the logo and state it assures their knowledge. Which knowledge, on sales?? On yes, you must pass 70-282 to become a Small Business Specialist. Who thinks its difficult? 70-282 is way too easy, unless they have updated it after i took it.

    I believe there should be two classes of partners. Sales partners which could be the way it is now and technical partners which should show a lot more skills to get in. Why not an online test for technical partners developped by MVPs and which could be taken only 2 times a year. If you fail, try again next year. This would value up a lot the logo.

    Anyway I would start from scratch too.

  4. sandi says:

    A 4 week old install that has never worked properly? Flatten it.

    I do wonder though if the trickery with the licenseServer was at the owner’s instructions, or were they completely unaware of that they only had 5 licences?

    A server that I deal with that sees many similar issues has been in commission for more than a year. All users were originally domain admins. It was teetering on the edge of several critical failures of Exchange, and antivirus protection, with no backups for 4 months, when I first saw it. Those who set it up had no idea about how to build and work with SBS, or even a tape drive for that matter. I see weird and wonderful problems on a daily basis with this server but there’s really nothing I can do about it without major pain and expense, and pain and inconvenience for the client.

  5. I see one of these every month,

    Agreed; Flatten start over and Hopefully they haven’t paid the installer yet, so they can cancel the check..


  6. cyburai says:

    +1 to flatten it. (I like that term, going to have to start using it.) The headaches associated with an unknown / unstable platform will nickel and dime your time.