SUSE Technical Support Handbook
- Leveraging Self-Help Resources
- Using Customer Center to Access Technical Support
- How to Escalate an Incident
- Resolving Multi-Vendor Issues
- How to Report a Software Defect, Request a Product Enhancement or Report a Security Vulnerability
- Support Delivery Information
- Customer Satisfaction Surveys
- Additional Support Options Available
- For More Information
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
The 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 through the SUSE Customer Center. Here you can get 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.
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 an Incident with SUSE Technical Support. You have access to technical support if you are a customer with a Standard or Priority subscription, if you are an Accredited or Solution Partner, a Registered Partner, a school or academic institution that has purchased a package of Incidents, or if you have purchased Premium Support Services. 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: SUSE 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 provided from your organization will receive a confirmation email containing your unique registration code(s), which you use to activate and manage your subscription and benefits.
If you have an existing account, and all your codes are registered, all SUSE product licenses and support entitlements will be added automatically.
If you do not already have an account, please go to https://scc.suse.com and click on “Create an account” and follow the instructions provided. Then activate your newly created profile at https://scc.suse.com/login using the credentials you have just chosen.
Add to or Update Authorized Contacts
Each contact in your organization needs their own user account in order to access technical support, training and patches. To add or update users, follow these steps:
- Log in to SUSE Customer Center.
- On the Dashboard, you'll find a list of management tools. Click on “Organization.”
- On this page you have 3 tabs:
- “Users in this Organization” displays all current users and admins. As an admin, you can grant or remove admin rights by using the checkbox at the end of each line. You can delete users from the organization using the trash can icon.
- “Organization Credentials” shows the mirroring credentials of your organization for usage with SMT/SUSE Manager.
- “Invite New Users” allows you to invite new users by providing their email address and clicking on “Invite New User.”
If you have any issues updating your contacts, please visit the SUSE Customer Center User Guide.
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
The SUSE 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 the 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 Support Case
A Support Case is defined as break-fix assistance with one issue, problem, or question relating to the use or installation of a SUSE product or product component, regardless of the number of communications required. A single Support Case is a problem that cannot be broken down into subordinate problems. If a problem consists of subordinate problems however, each problem is considered a separate Support Case.
Priority and Standard Support are based on a break-fix model. They do not include installation and/or configuration assistance, system maintenance or administration, consulting, training, on-site, or scheduled standby support. These services are offered as additional options outside the scope of technical support.
Severities 2-4 Issues: Open an Incident through the Customer Center
First, log in with your SUSE username and password, then select Support, “Open a new ticket” and follow the on-screen instructions.
Select your preferred method of contact:
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 grant full viewing access of your desktop. Chat support is available in English, German, French, Italian and Spanish.
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, “How to Effectively Work with SUSE Technical Support.”
Severity 1 Issues: Open an Incident through the Customer Center as a Severity 2, then call your local support center to escalate to a Severity 1.
A Severity 1 issue is defined as a severe issue with an operational server 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 incident by phone.
Please call the number for your country listed below to submit an Critical incident by phone:
North America Support Centre (within the United States): +1 800 971 3100
North America Support Centre (outside the United States): +1 832 502 2101
Brazil: +55 11 4040 9270 (8am-5pm local business hours)
Latin America (Spanish speaking): +54 11-5272-1091
Asia Pacific – Local language support (9am-5pm local business hours)
China: +86 800 810 6500
China: +86 400 810 6500
China: +86 106 533 9240
Japan: +81 5055 333 750
All other Asia Pacific Countries: +65 31 580 888
All other Asia Pacific Countries (English speaking): +1 832 502 2101
Europe, Middle East and Africa – Local language support (9am-5pm CET)
German: +49 911-950-365-000
Portuguese: + 351-211-232-020
Polish: +48 22 537 50 96
SUSE technical support is available 24x7 for those with Priority Subscriptions. No matter the severity, SUSE will send you a technical acknowledgement of the case within the specified target response time for that severity.
However, if you experience a Severity 1 (Critical) issue outside business hours and have access to 24-hour coverage, you must contact Technical Support via phone so that we can resolve the issue for you.
How to Effectively Work with SUSE Technical Support
For the fastest resolution times, it is important that you be able to provide some basic information when contacting SUSE Technical Support. Being able to provide answers to the list of questions below will get you started in the right direction.
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?
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 an incident and received a number, you may run the command as 'supportconfig -ur
Root Cause Analysis
Root cause analysis (RCA) is a method of problem solving used for identifying the root causes of faults or problems for a specific undesirable event that occurred the past. If an issue or problem is ongoing, the engineer will troubleshoot the situation (or environment) to identify the current problem or issue. Solving the ongoing issue may also be the root cause.
In general, SUSE Technical Support considers a request for RCA to be reactive for a problem that occurred in the past, and this will therefor receive a medium priority by default, and will be worked on accordingly
When contacting SUSE Technical Support for assistance with a Root Cause Analysis, the assigned engineer will determine the severity of the issue by requesting answers to the following questions:
- When did the issue first occur? Specific dates and times are needed.
- How often is the issue manifesting itself?
- What is the patch level of the server?*
- Critically of the server?
- Were any parallel activities being performed on the server or in the infra-structure? Think for example storage reconfiguration or networking activities took place in parallel
To help speed up the process of troubleshooting the engineer will need a supportconfig and or a Kernel Core Dump from the server and relevant logs from the time of the problematic event in order to research the issue. Going through these logs can take some time so it will be important that the engineer be given time to review this information. https://www.suse.com/c/free_tools/supportconfig-linux / https://www.suse.com/support/kb/doc/?id=3374462
For incidental and/or single occurrence events for which SUSE Customer support is requested to provide an RCA, it needs to be understood that depending on the current system patch levels, and /or the absence of any technical evidence, providing a RCA may not always be possible. Instead suggestions to (re-)configure the system may be provided in an attempt to capture a possible future occurrence of the problem.
An RCA will depend on the customer's ability to provide a proper and concise description of the problem and factors that surrounded the event, as well as the ability to provide the relevant log files required for thorough analysis. Should any of these details be unavailable for SUSE Customer Support to analyze, the RCA may be delayed or interrupted.
*If the server is outdated in regard to patches or out of a supported release level, updating to a new package version will be requested in order to be fully supported for these issues.
Checking the Status of Open or Resolved Incidents
You can access the most current information on your incidents from the Customer Center on the Support tab. After you log in, a list of your incidents 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 incidents created under your account(s) (by yourself or other authorized contacts), click the All Tickets tab.
Closing an Incident
Unless otherwise agreed upon, incidents are closed as soon as you confirm the issue is resolved. Incidents with no customer response for two weeks may also be closed.
If further assistance is needed, on a different issue, additional Incidents can be opened.
How to Escalate an Incident
If you have logged an incident, but are not satisfied with the support or advice provided, you may request escalation assistance by contacting:
- Contacting your local support center via the support center telephone numbers.
- Your Service Delivery Manager (SDM), if your Premium Support Services agreement provides access to one.
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 Incidents whose timely resolution will minimize or prevent a major financial loss to one of SUSE's customers. A critical situation is the highest level of escalation, raising the incident visibility to the executive levels within SUSE.
When you have an issue involving SUSE solutions 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:
- 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 SDM, 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.
If you have augmented your support by investing in Premium Support Services, the authorized contacts should notify their Premium engineer and/or SDM to make them aware of the business impact. The premium 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 SDM can help facilitate this process.
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 engineer (or SDM) to all appropriate management contacts within your organization until the critical situation is resolved.
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
How to Report a Software Defect, Request a Product Enhancement or Report a Security Vulnerability
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.
If you are a partner or academic institution with limited incidents, an incident will initially be decremented from your count if your support agreement has a limit on incidents. You may request us to credit the incident 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.
Program Temporary Fixes and Test Packages
A software defect may be resolved by delivering a software modification called a Program Temporary Fix (PTF). PTFs are prepared by the L3 Team for a specific customer and made available through a channel which is separate from regular maintenance updates. A PTF is fully supported by SUSE and intended for use in production environments. However, a PTF is not maintained. This means that once a PTF is delivered to a customer, it is never pro-actively updated by SUSE.
Defects fixed by a PTF are generally fixed by a subsequent regular update, which is not necessarily the next update. A PTF becomes obsolete when all fixes contained therein are released in a regular update. An obsolete PTF is no longer supported.
There may be rare occasions where a PTF is not suitable for inclusion in a maintenance update. In that case, the customer may be offered a one-off PTF which will not be added to future maintenance updates. On explicit request by the customer, the L3 Team will rebase such a one-off PTF onto the latest regular update.
The L3 Team may also ask a customer to install a TEST package that serves as a diagnostic tool. The software modification provided in a TEST package is intended to get additional data required for defect resolution. A TEST package is not a PTF. It should not be used in production environments, unless instructed by the support personnel, and is generally not intended to resolve a defect.
Product Enhancement Requests
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 by opening an Incident.
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. Learn more about SUSE Security.
Support Delivery Information
Product Support Lifecycle
SUSE provides technical support on products for the time period specified in the Product Support 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 incidents, SUSE has defined targets for the maximum response time to respond when an incident is logged. A response is defined as the time between creation of the incident and the initial communication between the assigned engineer and your company. Response times vary according to the type of support you have.
Response times for Standard Subscriptions are:
|Severity||Hours of Coverage||Target Response Time**|
|4||12x5**||Next Business Day|
|3||12x5||Next Business Day|
Response times for Priority Subscriptions are:
|Severity||Hours of Coverage||Target Response Time**|
|4||24x7||Next Business Day|
Response times for Premium Support Services are:
|Premium Support Services *||Hours of Coverage||Target Response Time|
|Silver||12x5***||1 hour (to the premium engineer)|
|Gold||24x7 (by the premium team)||30 min (to the premium engineer)|
|Platinum||24x7 (by the premium team)||15 min (to the premium engineer)|
*Standard or Priority subscription or Partner program required before purchasing Premium Support Services.
**The target response time applies to the period when support is available. For example, a Standard subscription Severity 1 incident logged at 6 p.m. will have a target response time of before 10 a.m. the following business day. Target response time is based on Severity 1 Service Requests.
***Although customers that have the Silver tier of Premium Support Services have access to their premium engineer 12x5 only, if they also have a Priority subscriptions, they may open incidents 24x7 via the SCC.
Hours of Coverage and Response Time Targets for Premium Support Services Engineers
If you have purchased Premium Support Services, you may contact your dedicated engineer by telephone for any level of severity, not just Severity 1 issues. You may also use the Customer Center to open an incident with your engineer via chat or email for any severity except Severity 1.
Additional policies when working with SUSE Technical Support
- The authorized contact should remain involved throughout the life of the Incident.
- SUSE Support is a break-fix model that excludes full installation/upgrade service or consulting.
- When contacting SUSE Customer Support for assistance it may be requested to update a system to the latest Service Pack, patches and/or Kernel.
- Ideally, SUSE recommends regularly patching/updating systems to make sure they are running with the latest security and bug fixes. In general the following needs to be noted:
- SUSE recommends to always endeavor to run systems with the latest available patch level for a system to be fully supported*.
- If any issues are encountered with a package or kernel version for which a newer version is available, updating to the new package version may be requested in order to be fully supported for these issues.
*In general, however, SUSE will still provide best-effort support in certain scenarios. For example, in a system-down scenario, we will still attempt to at least get the system back into a running state. Even then, however, depending on the root cause of the problem, it may be expected or required that a system has to be patched/updated.
Severity Level Definitions
The severity of an incident is defined when created and can be set by the customer when creating the incident in the SUSE Customer Center, or by a 1st Line representative over the telephone. SUSE has defined four severity levels:
|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.|
Support Level Definitions
|Level of Support||Description|
|Level 1||Problem determination by diagnosing configuration. Installation assistance, usage support, ongoing maintenance and troubleshooting. Customer needs to be current on Maintenance in order to be entitled for support.|
|Level 2||Problem isolation and problem duplication, isolate a problem area and provide resolution for problems not resolved by Level 1 Support. Resolution may include reasonable workarounds.|
|*Level 3||Problem resolution at a code level. Resolution means closure of the issue defined in the incident and may include configuration changes, implementation of a workaround, or providing a software patch. Resolution is not possible in all circumstances.|
*Level 3 Support (L3) is part of SUSE Research and Development (R&D) which drives software defect resolution. Software defects can only be escalated to the L3 team by the L2 support engineer assigned to the support incident.
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 this information may delay or 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.
Customer Satisfaction Surveys
At the closure of an incident, you may receive an invitation to complete a survey regarding your experience. The survey measures your satisfaction with the overall incident process, as well as in specific areas such as resolution effectiveness, SUSE product quality, support engineer performance and your overall experience. 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 incident. Rest assured, we take customer satisfaction and feedback seriously, and we use this information to determine where improvements can be made.
Additional Support Options Available
Premium Support Services
Premium Support Services extends and augments your SUSE subscription by providing you access to a dedicated team of experts who know you and your specific environment. Premium Support Services enables you to keep up with the pace of business and demands of your business - while still taking care of every day tasks. Available in three tiers, Premium Support Services provides the flexibility for you to get the Support Services your business requires.