Oracle Support Rocks (Sometimes)

I wrote in the past about my frustration with Oracle support. I also hear from customers and colleagues about their frustration with Oracle support, from different reasons. People like to complain when something doesn’t work well, however, I’m writing this post to tell about excellent experience I had with the support lately.

One of the projects I’m part of is implementation of OIM, Oracle Identity Management solution. If you have experience with IDM projects, you probably know how complex they are. If you are not familiar with such projects, believe me, they are complex! The IDM is responsible for creating and managing identities for the entire organization including user accounts, access to applications, permissions and much more, and everything from a single software (that connects to all the others). The details of how IDM works and the project don’t really matter, but during the project I had a few problems that I couldn’t solve and needed Oracle support.

Case 1

The first case I’d like to share was a few months ago. I had errors in one of the schedule tasks and couldn’t understand where they came from. I opened an SR that was assigned to an engineer named Chand. It always takes a long time until actual work is happening on the SR. Usually it takes a few round trips to understand the problem, send all the logs and do some preliminary troubleshooting. In this case it was amazingly quick. He got the problem, got all the logs, responded quickly and within less than a week we had a webex so he could see what’s going on. He also managed to get one of the experts related to this task on board, and he joined the webex as well. It was difficult to diagnose and took some time, so my customer requested changing the SR to severity 1. I changed it and then everything went downhill. The SR traveled around the world and was assigned to different engineers all the time. The new engineers asked for more logs, and more info (that I’ve already provided) and wasted time. At the end we managed to solve the problem by ourselves (everything happened because of leading or trailing spaces in values in the database).

After I closed the SR, I got a phone call from Oracle. Guess who? Chand! He saw that I closed the SR, asked me about the solution, explained that he opened a bug about that and was really annoyed by how the SR was handled by the other engineers.

Case 2

The other case was quite recently. I customized one of the processes in the OIM but something didn’t work right and things got stuck in an unknown status, so I opened an SR. This time I got assigned to an engineer called Amy. Amy asked for some logs and I provided them. After about a week she asked to turn on some debugging, reproduce the problem and send her some more logs. After another week, she asked for some more info, so I was sure that this would be one of these cases, where the engineer keeps asking for logs forever without any progress. I was surprised to get a phone call from her one morning. She investigated the logs very carefully and explained that she couldn’t find any errors, but something with the timing was wrong. She explained very clearly that she suspects the problem is with synchronization between two processes and that she believes a simple “sleep” in the code will solve the problem. She asked me to try to add the “sleep” and see what happens. I did as she instructed, and the “sleep” solved my problem!

Summary

There is a lot of bad feedback about Oracle support, and trust me, I know why. However, sometimes we are lucky and our SR is assigned to engineers such as Chand or Amy.

This is how support should look like. I wanted to thank both of them and wish Oracle would hire more employees like these two.

By the way, I usually don’t fill the survey Oracle send after the SR is closed (expect in extreme cases). In both of these cases I filled the survey, gave the engineers high scores and wrote (in the free text box) why I was so pleased with the service and how well they handled my cases.

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