Fun with HP Support Europe

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Disclaimer: We are happy customers of HP Hardware.

The HP hardware is great, no complains here, but what about the quality of the HP Support Department?

It's a disaster.

Here's the story:

In November 2010 we had a strange outage of one HP DL385 G5P Server, it suddenly froze during operations. As we were running a DRBD device on it, this was really a bugger. The active machine tried to sync the data over the network to the passive machine (which froze). As the data wasn't acked by the passive node (hence DRBD Mode C), the performance of the active DRBD node was going from 100 to 0.

So we halted the faulty machine and transported it from our datacenter  to our office, for testing.

As written earlier, we hadn't had the time to test this machine until yesterday.

So, installing Ubuntu 10.04 on the machine and "apt-get install stress".
Running the "stress" tool was fun, because the machine reacted as we expected, but after one hour of doing nothing, the machine suddenly halted, triggered by the HP ILO Managment sensors.

So, we tried to power on the machine again, but no. No Power. Machine started and stopped directly.
As we are really trained to guess hardware faults, we were sure, that it could only be the CPUs which could  have a hardware fault. So we called HP Support Desk (for what do we have 24/7/4 care pack?).
We described the problem and what we think the problem actually is, and the guys from the HP Europe Hardware Support desk send us a technician with a new systemboard, because they were thinking: "It's the systemboard, not the CPUs".

Here we go, as we are happy customers, we were believing that.

This morning, the technician came with a new systemboard and replaced it. What happened?
Nothing, the machine doesn't start, it gets power, and drops the power.
The technician was surprised, and checked again all parts and cabling. He also guessed, that the power supplies could be the problem, so we got some spare power supplies from our hardware pool and replaced them. No change. The machine starts and stops immediately.

Mr. HP Technician then "oracled" that the CPUs are at fault, because the first thing the machine does, after powerup, is to check the CPUs. When CPUs are failing, the machine powers down.

Now, the HP Technician then called the HP Hardware Support desk again, and tried to order a new systemboard (again), new CPUs and new Power Supplies, because he didn't know for sure, that the CPUs were broken.

During the phone call with his colleague, the guy on the other end of the line told him: It's not the CPU it's the SPS Backplane (that's the board which sits between the power supplies and the systemboard).

He was saying something about "I don't understand them, why don't they send what I want??" and went out of the office to another customer.

So, this afternoon the SPS Backplane arrived and the very same technician from this morning came back one our later then the Backplane.
He replaced the backplane, and what? Right, the machine doesn't power up properly.

So, back to the beginning. He called again, and now we are waiting for the CPUs (which are coming from Munich and Frankfurt as it seems).

Honestly, we are really experienced with HP hardware and we know, most of the times, what is the cause for a failure. Why can't HP Europe Support Desk just listen to their customers, especially when they work with their hardware. I mean, it's not the first time this happens, but during the last months the HP Europe Support became much more worse then ever.

I already talked about that matter with some people from HP Germany and with our distributor, but it seems nobody is interested.

I wonder how other customers from HP Europe / Germany are handled by the HP Europe Support. It can't be that when you have a 24/7/4 support contract et all that your machine will be  up and running in more then 24 hours.

I'm happy to receive some comments when you do have experience with HP Europe Support (good or bad), too.