How to Access and Use SUSE Technical Support

SUSE Technical Support Handbook

Guidelines for how to use and get the most from the technical support you receive with your SUSE Subscription, Premium Service, Academic program, PartnerNet or Technology Partner Support.

Leveraging Self Help Resources

Search the Knowledgebase

The support knowledgebase is a valuable troubleshooting and how-to resource, providing access to a rich database of technical articles, Technical Information Documents (TIDs), white papers, read-me documents and more. Through the comprehensive search capability, you can find the most recent patches for products, look for product documentation, search for TIDs, find tips and tricks, access technical articles and download free tools. Use the range of support information and tools available to you to troubleshoot issues before escalating to SUSE.

Participate in Support Forums

SUSE Support Forums are available at no cost and allow you to interact with SUSE and other industry experts, as well as your industry peers, to resolve technical issues, build individual expertise and enhance the collective store of information.

Subscribe to Patch Notifications

Through RSS feeds and customized email notifications, you can receive the information you need to keep your systems optimized and secure. Keep your products current with the latest patches, service packs and product version updates. Many known issues can be avoided by effectively managing patch releases and ensuring your products are kept up-to-date. Be familiar with SUSE's Product Support Lifecycle to be aware of how long SUSE will patch and maintain your product. If a defect is found in an older service pack or patch, you may be asked to update to the current release as part of the troubleshooting process. If you need a longer timeframe on a specific service pack, consider Long Term Service Pack Support.

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Using Customer Center to access Technical Support

If you have already searched the knowledgebase, read the product documentation, checked the forums and still have not found a resolution for your issue, you may open a Service Request with SUSE Technical Support. You have access to technical support if you are a customer with a Standard or Priority subscription, if you are a Gold or Platinum solution provider, if you are a Silver solution provider, school or academic institution that has purchased a package of Service Requests, or if you have purchased Premium Service or Technology Partner Support. If you do not meet these criteria and would like to access SUSE Technical Support, please contact SUSE or your local partner to find out how you can participate in one of our purchasing programs to qualify. You may also purchase SUSE products from SUSE Shop.

SUSE provides one convenient location for you to manage your subscriptions and access technical support: Customer Center. The following instructions will help you get started using this tool.

Create a Login and Activate Your Subscriptions

When you purchase SUSE products or support, the primary contact for your organization will receive a confirmation email containing a unique contact ID number, which you use to activate and manage your subscription account and benefits.

If you have an existing login account, all SUSE product licenses and support entitlements will be activated automatically, provided the email address used to place your order matches the address in your login account. To check or update your email address, log in at Customer Center and select from the navigation menu My Profile and then select Login Profile.

If you do not already have a login account, you can click the Installation link in the confirmation email. This will take you to a web page that steps you through the process of creating a login account. After you activate your subscription, you will receive an email confirming and explaining your support and training entitlements.

Add to or Update Authorized Contacts

Each contact in your organization needs their own unique contact ID number in order to access technical support, training and patches. To add or update authorized contacts, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to Customer Center at: www.suse.com/customercenter/
  2. Select My Products | Products from the left navigation menu.
  3. Select the product for which you would like to manage support contacts in the Product Family list, and then double-click the product's Subscription line to get to the Product Detail page.
  4. Click the User Access tab. Here you will see a list of current contacts that includes information about whether or not they are entitled to support or training.
  5. To add a new contact, click the + button below the list of contacts. Enter the contact's email address and select one or more of the following check boxes: Support, Training or Patch & Update.
  6. Click Add.

If you have any issues updating your contacts, please email us at: SupportSetup@suse.com

Ensure that authorized contact information is current and accurate, and that the individuals have the appropriate level of SUSE technical ability.

Manage Products and Services

Customer Center provides your complete order history—products, subscriptions and other services. You can easily evaluate and manage your current resources and effectively plan for the future. Through Customer Center, you can register and activate your SUSE products. You can also access the valuable support services provided through your subscription. These resources help you get the most from your SUSE solutions and products. All the information and resources you need are right at your fingertips. Customer Center can help you simplify and reduce costs associated with managing the resources that are so critical to your business.

Open a Service Request

A Service Request is defined as assistance with one issue, problem, or question relating to the use or installation of a SUSE product, regardless of the number of communications required.

  • Severities 2-4: Open a Service Request through the Customer Center

    First, login with your SUSE username and password, then select "Submit New SR" and follow the on-screen instructions. You will need to enter your contact ID the first time you setup your account. This number will then be stored for future logins.

    Select your preferred method of contact

    • CHAT | Features | How to use

      Get real-time access to SUSE support engineers and have the option to allow your support engineer to connect to your system for improved troubleshooting and easier walk-through directions. You can even grant full control of your desktop or server so that your support engineer can work directly on your problem with you. Chat support is available in English, German, French, Italian and Spanish.

    • Email

      We will contact you according to the response times and hours of access defined in your program or subscription level. Please provide as much detail as possible using the guidelines provided in the section Information to include in your Service Request.

    • Callback

      We will contact you according to the response times and hours of access defined in your program or subscription level. Please provide as much detail as possible using the guidelines provided in the section Information to include in your Service Request.

  • Severity 1: Open a Service Request by telephone.

    A severity 1 issue is defined as a severe issue with an operation that is in production and is mission critical to the business. The product is inoperable and the situation is resulting in a total disruption of work. There is no workaround available. In this situation, you must log the service request by phone.

    Americas

    In the USA and Canada, contact the North America Support Center at 1-800-858-4000 within the United States or 1-801-861-4000 outside the United States. The North America Support Center is located in Provo, Utah and operates 24x7. (TTY / TDD 800-711-3484)

    In all countries in Spanish speaking Latin America, contact the Latin America Support Center at +5411-5272-1091. The Latin America Support Center is located in Buenos Aires, Argentina and operates 24x7.

    In Brazil, contact the Brazilian Support Center at +55 11 3345-3950. The Brazilian Support Center is located in Sao Paulo, Brazil and operates 12x5 for electronic service requests and 24x7 for severity 1 exclusively by phone.

    Asia Pacific

    Please call the number for your country listed below to submit a service request by phone:

    For any country not listed call (USA) +1-801-861-4000

    Europe, Middle East and Africa

    Please call the number for your language listed below to submit a service request by phone:

After Hours

If you experience a Severity 1 (Critical) issue outside business hours, and have access to 24-hour coverage, it is recommended that you telephone for support (rather than logging a service request through Customer Center).

NOTE: Scheduled Standby is a chargeable service that can be pre-arranged in blocks of four hours during and outside business hours. This service gives you direct access to a SUSE engineer on a standby basis. When you have a scheduled product upgrade or network maintenance task for which you'd like some added insurance, you can have an experienced support engineer standing by. We require a minimum of three business days of notice to arrange for this service.

Information to include in your Service Request

WHAT is the problem?

  • Which version of the SUSE product (or products) is having the problem?
  • Which service pack level is loaded?
  • What error messages (if any) are returned?
  • What troubleshooting steps have already been performed?

WHERE does the problem occur?

  • What is the environment?
  • On which sites, servers, directories or clients does the problem occur?
  • Where does the problem not occur?

WHEN does the problem occur?

  • When did the problem first occur?
  • Were changes made prior to the problem occurring? If so, what (installation of products, service packs, network changes, and so forth, for example)?

WHAT is the extent of the problem?

  • Is a workaround available?
  • What is the business impact of the problem?

SupportConfig Tool

Background information such as log files and configuration of your SUSE Linux system can be provided easily by running the supportconfig tool which is installed by default on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. Run the command 'supportconfig' without options to create a local archive to review and eventually upload to us. If you have already opened a service request and received a number, you may run the command as 'supportconfig -ur <SR-number>' to create and automatically upload the information. The archive will appear in your Service Request after a few minutes. This process also enables us to do some automatic examination, so you will find an HTML report attached to the SR which will give you some indication of already known issues (including security vulnerabilities) and links to the SUSE knowledgebase.

More information on supportconfig can be found in the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server SP3 Manual as well as online. Learn More about required data.

Checking the Status of Open or Resolved Service Requests

You can access the most current information on your service requests from the Customer Center at www.suse.com/mysupport. After you log in, a list of your service requests and the current status of each is made available. Select one to view its details (which can include current status and detailed descriptions of the actions taken by the support engineer).To display all service requests created under your account(s) (by yourself or other authorized contacts), click the All SRs tab.

Closing a Service Request

SUSE has a policy of closing service requests only upon mutual agreement with you. Unless otherwise agreed upon, service requests are closed as soon as you confirm the issue is resolved to your satisfaction. Service requests with no customer response for two weeks may also be closed.

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How to Escalate a Service Request

If you have logged a service request, but are not satisfied with the support or advice provided, you may request escalation assistance by contacting:

Critical Situation Handling Procedure

In exceptional circumstances, where a mission critical component is down, causing a major business impact, we can declare a critical situation. We define a critical situation as "…one or more support Service Requests whose timely resolution will minimize or prevent a major financial loss to one of SUSE's customers (or SUSE)." A critical situation is the highest level of escalation, raising the service request visibility to the executive levels within SUSE.

When you have an issue involving SUSE products that is creating a major, adverse impact to your business, we want to ensure that the proper resources are quickly involved so we can resolve the issue in a timely manner. We have internal escalation procedures that involve specialized and focused levels of technical and management personnel working together to speed resolution.

There are several things you can do during a critical situation that will enable SUSE to help you more effectively. Please follow these guidelines when reporting a critical situation:

  • Please contact us as early as possible.
  • Have an authorized contact open the service request by phone. Do not use email or the Customer Center to open a critical service request.
  • At the beginning of your initial call, indicate the critical nature of the situation. If the issue did not start out as critical, but has since become such, notify SUSE with a phone call. Information on the level of impact the particular critical situation is having on your business operations is extremely helpful. Be ready to provide SUSE with all relevant information: contact ID, product versions, patch levels, configuration, troubleshooting steps performed, and so forth. (It may be helpful for you to call from the site where the critical situation is occurring.)
  • If you have a SAM, notify him or her as soon as possible regarding the critical situation. This is a vital step in ensuring that the appropriate resources are ready to help you.

Should a service request become critical, authorized contacts should notify their support engineer; ASE, PSE, or DSE; and/or SAM to make them aware of the business impact. The support engineer will be able to coordinate all of the relevant technical resources needed to progress a problem to resolution. Where additional escalation assistance is required, the SAM can help facilitate this process. Following this communication process will ensure that relevant resources from SUSE are engaged and that you are updated regularly on the resolution progress.

After they are approved, critical situations are reviewed on a daily basis by the SUSE Technical Support team, which will initiate regular action plan updates from the assigned support engineer (or SAM) to all appropriate management contacts within your organization until the critical situation is resolved.

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Resolving Multi-Vendor Issues

We are a founding sponsor and remain an active member of the Technical Support Alliance Network (TSANet)—a global, vendor-neutral, not-for-profit industry support alliance. This organization creates an industry infrastructure, allowing members to collaborate and work on multi-vendor customer issues without "finger pointing." TSANet follows industry-standard support policies and obligates members to collaborate on issues to isolation or resolution (or both).This process gives the customer a seamless interface in solving complex multi-vendor problems among two or more vendors.

TSANet allows the assigned engineer to work directly with an engineer from another vendor to solve support issues. Think of it as a behind-the-scenes mechanism that expedites resolution, often without the customer even being aware it is being engaged. TSANet is a direct vendor-to-vendor contact; however, customers should have appropriate support entitlement with both vendors prior to the interaction. TSANet allows its members to work on your behalf and not waste time duplicating support incidents with multiple vendors. More information on TSANet, including a list of participating members, is available at: www.tsanet.org

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How to Report a Bug, Software Vulnerability, or Request an Enhancement

Report a Bug

You may report a software defect either through our free bug tool, or by opening a Service Request.

When you report a software defect using our free bug tool, you will not receive a call back from a SUSE support engineer, as this tool is not an avenue for technical support. Any fixes made from these reports will be added to one of the future releases of the affected package and announced through the regular maintenance notification.

If you choose to report the bug by opening a service request, you will be able to talk to a SUSE support engineer, and if the issue is corrected, you could receive a program temporary fix (PTF). Although most customers are entitled to unlimited support, if you are a partner or academic institution with limited service requests, a service request will be decremented from your count if your support agreement has a limit on service requests. You may request us to credit the service request if the problem is determined to be a SUSE software defect for which information was not previously published as a Technical Information Document (TID) in the SUSE Support knowledgebase, or documented in our release notes or maintenance notifications.

For the purposes of this document, a software defect is either:

  • During the General Support phase of the product support lifecycle, an error in a product's functionality that results in the software's failure to perform substantially in accordance with its specifications and for which our company is responsible; or
  • A critical security defect in a product that is in the Extended Support phase.

Report a Software Vulnerability

SUSE's presence in the software security field is continuously contributing to the high degree of trust and confidence that users value in Open Source Software. Do your part to contribute to the unprecedented reputation of our product by reporting any observed vulnerabilities.

Request an Enhancement

SUSE is committed to creating highly functional, user-friendly software. Listening to our customers is an integral part of that commitment. Please help us improve our products by submitting your feedback and requests. If you have already opened a service request to report an issue that is a feature change, we will open an Enhancement Request in your behalf.

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Support Delivery Information

Product Support Lifecycle

SUSE provides technical support on products for the time period specified in the Product Sup port Lifecycle. The Product Support Lifecycle defines the duration and levels of support customers can expect to receive as products mature. If you need to extend your support and engineering coverage, consider Long Term Service Pack Support.

Hours of Coverage and Target Response Times*

When registering service requests, SUSE has defined targets for the maximum response time to respond when a service request is logged. A response is defined as the time between creation of the service request and the initial communication between the assigned engineer and your company. Response times vary according to the subscription level, Premium Service program or Partner program you have:

Subscription or Program Level Hours of Coverage Severity Level Target Response Time***
Standard 12x5** 1
2
3
4
2 hours
4 hours
Next Bus Day
Next Bus Day
Priority
Technology Partner Support 100
24x7 1
2
3
4
1 hour
2 hours
4 hours
Next Bus Day
Platinum Solution Provider 24x7 All 1 hour
Academic Service Request Packs
Gold Solution Provider
24x7 All 2 hours

* If you have purchased a Premium Service Engineer, refer to the response times in the Premium Service programs table.

** Local 12x5 Support Center hours are as follows: Americas 6am to 6pm MT, APAC 7am – 7pm from your local country, EMEA 8am – 8pm CET, LATAM 8am – 5pm UTC-3 (Argentina time zone)

*** The target response time applies to the period when support is available. For example, a Standard subscription Severity 1 service request logged at 6 p.m. will have a target response time of before 10 a.m. the following business day.

Hours of Coverage and Response Time Targets for Premium Service Engineers

If you have a Premium Service Engineer (ASE, PSE, or DSE) or Advantage Service Requests, you may contact the engineer by telephone for any level of severity, not just Severity 1 issues. You may also use Customer Center to open a service request with your engineer via chat or email for any severity except Severity 1.

Premium Service Program 1 Hours of Coverage Target Response Time 2
Advantage Service Request Packs
Assigned Support Engineer (ASE)
Technology Partner Support 250
12x53 1 hour
1 hour (to the ASE)
Primary Support Engineer (PSE)
Technology Partner Support 500
Same as subscription or partner program 4 30 min (to the PSE)
Dedicated Support Engineer (DSE)
Technology Partner Support 1000
Same as subscription or partner program 4 15 min (to the DSE)

1 Standard or Priority subscription or Partner program required before purchasing these services

2 The target response time applies to the period when support is available. For example, a Standard subscription Severity 1 service request logged at 6 p.m. will have a target response time of before 10 a.m. the following business day.

3 Although the Advantage team and Assigned Support Engineers (ASEs) are only available 12x5, customers with Priority subscriptions (24x7 coverage) may open service requests after hours, and partners without a Priority subscription my use one of the Advantage or ASE Service Requests after hours. In both cases, the service request will be assigned to a Technical Support Engineer in the Support Center, but upon request may be transitioned to the ASE or Advantage team during normal business hours.

4 Customers with Standard subscriptions receive 12x5 hours of coverage for their PSE or DSE. Customers with Priority subscriptions receive 24x7 hours of coverage for their PSE or DSE. Partners receive 24x7 hours of coverage. You may contact your PSE or DSE after hours for Severity 1 issues or occasional special projects that are scheduled in advance. You may contact your PSE or DSE after hours for Severity 1 issues or occasional special projects that are scheduled in advance.

Severity Level Definitions

The severity of a service request is defined when created, and can be set electronically by the customer creating the service request, or by a customer service representative over the telephone. SUSE has defined four severity levels:

Severity Level Description
Severity 1 (Critical) The operation is in production and is mission critical to the business. The product is inoperable and the situation is resulting in a total disruption of work. There is no workaround available.
Severity 2 (High) Operations are severely restricted. Important features are unavailable, although work can continue in a limited fashion. A workaround is available.
Severity 3 (Medium) The product does not work as designed resulting in a minor loss of usage.
Severity 4 (Low) There is no loss of service. This may be a request for documentation, general information, product enhancement request, etc.

Number of Authorized Support Contacts

Support Program Number of Authorized Contacts
Academic Service Request Packs,
Advantage Service Request Packs
3
Standard subscription 3
Priority subscription,
MLA Advanced 1
5
Technology Partners 10
MLA Advanced 2, Enterprise 1, Enterprise 2, ASE, PSE, DSE No limit

Support Level Definitions

Level of Support Description
Level 1 Problem determination, including provision of compatibility information, installation assistance, usage support, on-going maintenance and basic troubleshooting.
Level 2 Problem isolation, including efforts to duplicate customer problems, isolate a problem area and provide resolution for problems not resolved by Level 1 Support. Resolution may include reasonable work-arounds.
Level 3 Problem resolution, which means to resolve complex problems identified by Level 2 Support. Resolution means closure of the issue giving rise to the service request, and may include configuration changes, implementation of a workaround, or creation of a software modification that when installed cures an Error. Resolution is not possible in all circumstances.

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Customer Data

Customers and partners acknowledge that SUSE may need access to certain software, hardware, data, third party software or other information or material to adequately troubleshoot and test issues. Lack of access to reproduce a customer’s environment may prevent SUSE from reproducing and isolating an issue.

Customers and partners will take responsibility for all data provided to SUSE. SUSE assumes to have consent and permission to troubleshoot with data provided. Customers and partners will not provide data that is alleged to be confidential or proprietary.

Customers and partners acknowledge that data provided may be altered or damaged in the course of testing and troubleshooting, and will take all appropriate measures to back-up the applicable data prior to providing it to SUSE.

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Customer Satisfaction Surveys

At the closure of each service request, you will receive an invitation to complete a survey regarding your experience (unless your service requests are serviced by an ASE, PSE or DSE, in which case surveys may be conducted less frequently).The survey measures your satisfaction with the overall service request process, as well as in specific areas such as resolution effectiveness, SUSE product quality and support engineer performance. Surveys are delivered in one of eight languages, as specified during the service agreement setup. We encourage your participation in completing this survey to detail your experience on each opened service request. Rest assured, we take customer satisfaction and feedback seriously, and we use this information to determine where improvements can be made.

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Additional Support Options Available

Premium Service

When your IT environment is truly business-critical, you need to be sure you can get help, quickly, from people who understand your environment and business needs. You can get that extra assurance with Premium Service, available to help you get the most from your IT investment:

Premium Service Engineers Assigned, Primary or Dedicated Support Engineers (ASE, PSE, DSE) give you access to a named engineer with faster response times and increased levels of dedicated support; includes Service Account Management
Service Account Management Business account management to assist with coordinating and advocating your SUSE software services needs as well as providing escalation assistance
Advantage Service Request Packs Access to a team of senior in-region support engineers for business-hours access to technical support (note: may not be available in all countries)
On-site Support Services to assist with technical issues at your site
Scheduled Stand-by Remote assistance with scheduled work such as upgrades and migrations; sold in four-hour blocks and includes one planning call
Health Checks A proactive, in-depth analysis of your environment by a senior engineer to provide you with feedback on how to optimize your system and ensure a stable, well-managed environment.

Long Term Service Pack Support

If you need to maintain your current SUSE operating system version beyond general product support timeframes, preserving the stability and security of your data center, you may want to consider the benefits of the Long Term Service Pack Support program.

Hours of coverage and response times are determined by your subscription level.

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server with Expanded Support (includes Red Hat support)

If you are running more than one type of Linux in your environment, choose the #1-rated Linux support for your mixed Linux deployment. We will support both your SUSE and Red Hat environment with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server with Expanded Support.

Hours of coverage and response times are determined by your subscription level.

Support is provided for versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux currently in Red Hat Production Phase at the time the customer signs up for Expanded Support until product end of life per official policies posted by Red Hat.

Patches and updates are binary compatible to those published via Red Hat Network.

Training for migration to SUSE Linux Enterprise from other Linux platforms is available.

More detailed questions are answered in Frequently Asked Questions.

Technical Subscriptions

Technical subscriptions are the ultimate resource for IT professionals. A comprehensive collection of the technical resources you need to keep your systems updated, get training on your products, and troubleshoot even the toughest technical issues. Technical Subscriptions are delivered monthly on CDs and DVDs, providing you to access anytime, anywhere. You can also access the same resources anytime through the Subscriber portal. Compare available subscriptions, activate your subscription, manage usage, and access the subscriber portal to make the most of this valuable resource.

Consulting

By engaging SUSE consulting and our partners, you can leverage your investment, meet budgetary constraints and stay ahead of the competition. The SUSE consulting team builds systems using cutting-edge technology to deploy key business applications running on the Linux platform. When SUSE and its partners help you setup your environment following best practices and cutting edge knowledge, you have fewer support issues.

Training

Get the most from your product investment by training your staff to leverage features that will help you stay ahead of the competition, and by ensuring your environment is optimized and stable when managed by knowledgeable staff.

For More Information

If you have a question, view Frequently Asked Questions to see if we have an answer. For more information about SUSE technical support, training and certification, or consulting, contact your local SUSE sales representative or partner, or visit: www.suse.com/services

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