Thursday, July 03, 2008

The Last Leg for SBS?

Microsoft annoucement: Two days ago Microsoft announced an earth-shattering change to their SBS support.

Please read the quick notes from Mark Crall and Susan Bradley.

Here's the Microsoft announcement: Free Server Down Tech Support is Over.

Oh, wait. That's not the announcement.

Here's the Microsoft announcement: Don't Call Us, We'll Call You Back. Eventually..

I'm sorry. The real announcement is:
Please schedule all emergencies during business hours. After all, the after 6PM support is $515 for a callback.

First, here are the official Microsoft links:

The annoucement:

Click on Small Business Server.

You have three options.

1) Email support costs $99.
    (Note: Advanced support is not covered under this charge.) Major credit cards accepted.
    You may also use this option if you have one of the following:
    -Software Assurance Agreement
    -Professional Contract
    -TechNet Subscription
    -MSDN Subscription
    -Expression Subscription
    -Microsoft Partner Program (MSPP)

2) Wait for the phone to ring. $259 during daylight hours. Else $515.
    You may also use this option if you have one of the following:
    -Software Assurance Agreement
    -Professional Contract
    -TechNet Subscription
    -MSDN Subscription
    -Expression Subscription
    -MSPP (Microsoft Partner Program)

    Response Time:Will vary based on severity.

3) Submit a support request by phone. Phone wait times will vary between hours and death.
    Unable to submit your support request online?
    Speak with an agent to submit your incident. You will be routed to a support professional or receive a callback from one.
    Have the following information ready when you call:
    Details about your issue
    Your preferred contact method

    Availability: 24 hours
    Cost: $259 during daylight hours. Else $515.

    Response Time: Will vary based on severity. (except if it is business-critical*)

    *Business-critical issues are situations where production or profitability are severely affected because of a problem with the system, network, server, or program that you are calling about.

    A 5-pack Phone Support Contract is available for $1289.00 US. For more information call (800) 936-3500.

    Support Phone Number: (800) 936-4900
    TDD/TTY (800) 892-5234

    You may also use this option if you have one of the following:
    -Software Assurance Agreement
    -Professional Contract
    -TechNet Subscription
    -MSDN Subscription
    -Expression Subscription
    -Microsoft Partner Program (MSPP)

Here's the Microsoft After-Hours Support Policy.

I humbly request that you read some words I wrote more than a year ago regarding The Death of SBS.

This issue is complicated and takes a little thought to straighten out.

At some level, this is bad news for amateur consultants who should be flipping burgers instead of working on computers.

At a different level, this is a complete admission by Microsoft tech support that their first-tier Indian support system is the worst failure since Windows ME.

Small Business Server 2008 hasn't even been released. And it seems clear that it will be the last version you will see.

Please go read those posts.

Then I'll post a few thoughts.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous7:10 PM

    Aware of Microsoft’s SBS support announcement “changes” I read with interest Karl's post, Susan's incisive thoughts and Vlad's lavishly worded follow up.

    I must say with all due respect that once again I disagree with Karl and whole-heartedly agree with Vlad and Susan - but for differing reasons.

    My take - the proliferation of TOO MANY Action Packs, too many MPAN and other “resources” have hit CRITICAL MASS.

    There is no more FREE LUNCH.

    The amateur’s house of cards is tumbling and along with $ 5.00 per gallon gas (here in Southern California) its panic time.

    To the amateur, ANY and ALL situations that require technical prowess to rectify are a potential SERVER DOWN – it’s like crying WOLF.

    So Microsoft said NO more. They too have to run a business – and now WITHOUT Bill Gates.

    The perception that this profession is SO easy that anyone can do it sprinkled with over-dose marketing that anyone can MANAGE it (as in services) thereby being profitable at it WITHOUT having the technical prowess and expertise is – like $ 5.00 gas - NOT SUSTAINABLE.

    To put it a different way - too many SALESMAN and too few EXPERTS.

    Allow me to reiterate an observation I made back in May 2007 titled The Symphony of SBS –

    “Too often in the field I encounter previous deployments of SBS from people who had NO business even attempting to install it let alone deploy it – bad hardware, enterprise MCSE’s mindset, NO wizards, poor business judgment, just in it for the money, geeky friend-of-a-friend, apprentice-in-training, or SMB charlatans that simply do not take the time to learn and MASTER their trade and do not rise up to their own lack of knowledge.

    It’s the $ 399 servers – it’s the lets-not-install-all-the-features syndrome because they won’t use it yet so I-can-make-more-money-later – it’s the hardware/software/networking corners they cut at every juncture to maximize the almighty profit – it’s the ATTITUDE that they are in business JUST to make money and the client be damned – it’s the lack of imagination when confronting a tech support problem that almost ALWAYS has been confronted by someone before and SOLVED, and if not at minimum, addressed already in abundant detail in blogs all over the Internet.”

    I view this Microsoft announcement as a good thing – a good thing for the SALESMAN that is part of a technically proficient organization that is attuned to their client best interests – a good thing for the EXPERT to redouble his/her efforts in following Best Practices and building robust scalable solutions for their clientele – all involving SBS that will continue to serve the SMB space well – as long as it PROPERLY implemented by COMPETENT consultants.

    In short - GOOD NEWS for the professional and technically proficient consultancy.


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