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Why was support withdrawn for NOWS SBE in a Xen VM?

Shortly after NOWS SBE 2 was released, Novell published a TID stating that it would ONLY be supported under Xen in a Fully-virtual machine and NOT in a Para-virtual machine. Many of us took this document at face value and deployed SBE 2 in a Fully-virtual Xen VM.

Sometime in late December, Novell quietly withdrew support for NOWS SBE 2 running under XEN - and pulled the TID - leaving many of us with an unsupported configuration.

Why was support withdrawn after public documents stated that support would be provided?

What are the issues that make this configuration unsupportable?

Do you not think customers should be given a heads-up about these issues so they can avoid a potentially disastrous situation?

I only found out that support had been pulled when I opened an SR. Do you not think customers should be told that support has been withdrawn?

Sorry for the tough questions but this is NOT the way I expect Novell to behave. By drawing attention to these issues not only do I want to make Novell accountable for their actions but I hope that discussion will prevent a similar situation in the future.

Kevin
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Kevin Boyle - Knowledge Partner - Calgary, Alberta, Canada
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11 Replies
tabney Absent Member.
Absent Member.

Re: Why was support withdrawn for NOWS SBE in a Xen VM?

hmm, let me do some research and see what happened on this. More to follow...

-Todd
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Knowledge Partner
Knowledge Partner

Re: Why was support withdrawn for NOWS SBE in a Xen VM?

tabney;1734176 wrote:
hmm, let me do some research and see what happened on this. More to follow...

-Todd


Hi Todd,

You're the third person who's offered to look into this. So far, either no one has learned anything or everyone's reluctant to share their findings...

Did you learn anything you can share with the rest of us?

Kevin
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Kevin Boyle - Knowledge Partner - Calgary, Alberta, Canada
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tabney Absent Member.
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Re: Why was support withdrawn for NOWS SBE in a Xen VM?

Hi Kevin,

Apologies for the delay. It has been pretty complex to figure out. I'm confirming these details so I post the correct info on it. Still will be a couple days I think.

-Todd
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tabney Absent Member.
Absent Member.

Re: Why was support withdrawn for NOWS SBE in a Xen VM?

Kevin,

You win the prize for most complex question! Sorry it's taken so long to address. We had a change in Product Mgr ownership of NOWS SBE so there was some delay in confirming details and directions on my end.

The product team is currently looking at what level of Virtualization NOWS SBE will support so more details are expected in the near future.

Some details on why support was withdrawn. We had an oversite with the release and thought NOWS SBE worked with Xen. After the release, we found this is not the case due to a number of reasons. So we updated the Docs and withdrew reference to supporting Xen.

Some specific areas of concern are around disk and/or network performance
issues, kernel panics or cores, etc. We expected these areas would be ok since they are tested and supported with SLES and OES, but realized after the NOWS SBE release that there are some issues specific to NOWS SBE that meant we couldn't state Xen was fully supported.

There are customers who are running it and don't exhibit any problems, so it seems it can be done by some. But since we know there are some potential problems, we prefer to state that it's not currently supported.

-Todd
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Knowledge Partner
Knowledge Partner

Re: Why was support withdrawn for NOWS SBE in a Xen VM?

tabney;1748304 wrote:
Kevin,

You win the prize for most complex question! Sorry it's taken so long to address. We had a change in Product Mgr ownership of NOWS SBE so there was some delay in confirming details and directions on my end.

The product team is currently looking at what level of Virtualization NOWS SBE will support so more details are expected in the near future.

Some details on why support was withdrawn. We had an oversite with the release and thought NOWS SBE worked with Xen. After the release, we found this is not the case due to a number of reasons. So we updated the Docs and withdrew reference to supporting Xen.

Some specific areas of concern are around disk and/or network performance
issues, kernel panics or cores, etc. We expected these areas would be ok since they are tested and supported with SLES and OES, but realized after the NOWS SBE release that there are some issues specific to NOWS SBE that meant we couldn't state Xen was fully supported.

There are customers who are running it and don't exhibit any problems, so it seems it can be done by some. But since we know there are some potential problems, we prefer to state that it's not currently supported.

-Todd


Thank you Todd for this information.

Based on my lack of response to previous inquiries I assumed there were complications likely involving Novell internal issues that need not be made public. In my opinion, though still rather vague, your response strikes a reasonable balance between providing some answers while respecting any internal restrictions that may exist.

I have a couple of followup questions which I hope are far less complicated.

Has the new PM been officially announced and where might we obtain the details? According to another post, email "Bounce back reports MFeeney is unknown at novell.com."

NOWS SBE is a product with great potential and far too many outstanding issues. Hopefully the next release, which we were told to expect tentatively in the Brainshare time frame, will resolve many of the current issues. The new PM will undoubtedly face many challenges in the days and weeks ahead. We all look forward to hearing from him/her.

With respect to support... I fully understand the need for a product to meet certain standards before it can be properly supported and the reasons for withdrawing support if it is later learned that it does not, in some respects, continue to meet those standards. But what about your Customers?

The issues you allude to are indeed serious and should cause anyone to think twice before undertaking a XEN deployment. But some of us have already deployed NOWS SBE in a XEN environment based on information previously available in public documents stating that it would be supported. Are there any support policies in place to deal with existing deployments or will each new SR be dealt with on a case-by-case basis?

No one wants to see a customer in a server down situation with no way out. If there are indeed some configurations that are more likely to result in such a situation they should be avoided at all costs - whether or not supported is available. Would it be possible to document all known XEN / NOWS SBE issues in a TID to dissuade customers from making new XEN deployments and helping those of us who already have them from encountering a potentially disastrous situation?

Awaiting your thoughts...

Kevin
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Kevin Boyle - Knowledge Partner - Calgary, Alberta, Canada
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tabney Absent Member.
Absent Member.

Re: Why was support withdrawn for NOWS SBE in a Xen VM?

Hi Kevin,

The new Product Mgr for NOWS is Rick Fowler. rfowler@novell.com.

We'll still support you if you run into issues, we certainly don't want to leave you hanging. We wouldn't charge for the SR on it.

I've asked the team to document the details in a TID so they're available. I'll post a link here when it's out.

-Todd
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Knowledge Partner
Knowledge Partner

Re: Why was support withdrawn for NOWS SBE in a Xen VM?

tabney;1749529 wrote:
I've asked the team to document the details in a TID so they're available. I'll post a link here when it's out.


Do you have any Idea when that TID might be available?
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Kevin Boyle - Knowledge Partner - Calgary, Alberta, Canada
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tabney Absent Member.
Absent Member.

Re: Why was support withdrawn for NOWS SBE in a Xen VM?

Hi, I have a mtg on Monday with the team and will review the latest. Thx.

-Todd

Todd Abney
Technical Support Director
Novell
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tabney Absent Member.
Absent Member.

Re: Why was support withdrawn for NOWS SBE in a Xen VM?

We met together and I now realize creating such a detailed TID would be a larger task than I was thinking. Since NOWS SBE was never tested with XEN, we don't know details of the specific issues that could be caused. We do have our theories on potential issues, which I mention above, but until we test each of those and the whole products with XEN, we're not solid on knowing. Thus the reason we pulled out support of XEN all together. The best we can say is that there are potential issues that you may run into, but we're not certain the details around those issues.

Sorry it's not the details I'd hoped to get.

-Todd

Todd Abney
Technical Support Director
Novell
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sveld1 Absent Member.
Absent Member.

Re: Why was support withdrawn for NOWS SBE in a Xen VM?

There's imho a really simple solution to these 'never ending' SB product problems; just drop it and replace it with NOWS, just at the SB pricing up to a 150 users. Results:
-No migration issues
-Lage user and test base (closed and public beta)
-No seperate product to maintain
-No lagging behind the NOWS/OES etc product.

Everyone I know does try to avoid the SB product.
Sorry to say.

Best regards, Sebastiaan Veld If you find this post helpful and are logged into the web interface, show your appreciation and click on the star below...
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IEdwards Absent Member.
Absent Member.

Re: Why was support withdrawn for NOWS SBE in a Xen VM?

I agree. NOWS SBE is a great idea but actually succeeds in complicating rather than simplifying the installation of NOWS. I can't see a situation where the administration of SBE is ever going to be within the grasp of a small business - which surely must be one of the objectives - without technical expertise because once installed you are into the realms of imanager / console one. These are perfectly good tools but you need to know what you are doing to use them - so if you know what you are doing just get on and install the real thing. The problem then is commercial rather than technical.

Ian

estm - Business IT Consultant
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