The EMC Oracle Joint Escalation Center

Oracle & EMCEMC and Oracle have supported each others products since 1995 and both spent millions of dollars in making them work together. EMC actually became famous in the late nineties because of our “Guilty until proven innocent” support mentality. We are known for the first company to give meaning to the concept of “Remote Support / Phone Home”, and the success stories still go around that EMC field engineers sometimes surprised customers with a visit in order to repair components (mostly disk drives), often before they were broken, and if they were actually broken the customers would not even notice (needless to say that replacements were done online).

Additionally, EMC spent billions of dollars in the EMC E-lab where EMC systems are tested together with other hard- and software components. We don’t just test to see if something works, we test to see when things break. In relation to Oracle, you will see complete stacks of storage, networking, server hardware, operating systems, volume managers, file systems, cluster-ware, and database software tested and the E-lab navigator will tell you if you need to apply any specific patches, or change configuration settings or other things to make the deployment rock solid. This goes way beyond interoperability testing of other vendors of storage systems, servers or even integrated database appliances. You can get a detailed support statement for a specific HW/SW stack by using the E-lab Navigator.

To go a step further, in 2001 EMC and Oracle together formed the Joint Escalation Center (JEC) also known as Joint Service Center or Joint Support Center  (JSC). This is a virtual team of Oracle and EMC field support engineers who work together to resolve customer issues. You don’t need a special support contract for that, it’s included in standard EMC and Oracle support agreement. This team avoids finger-pointing between Oracle and EMC and both are obliged to work together to resolve issues. It is referenced here for example.

As you might know, I work as a Subject Matter Expert (SME) at EMC, for Oracle technology since 2007 (and in other roles since 2000). I am part of EMC’s presales organization and as such, I’d like to share some experiences with you (warning: reality is not always as perfect as marketing).

After taking on my Oracle oriented role in 2007, and starting to have customer visits all across Europe, I immediately started advocating the JEC to every customer that I visited. So it didn’t take long before my phone was ringing (that’s why you hand out these business cards) and one of the customers I had visited before now asked me for help. They remembered my story on Oracle/EMC JEC and they had some issues and wanted to resolve them – and Oracle support was finger-pointing to EMC and vice versa so they didn’t make much progress. So I took it personal and started to figure out how to engage this JEC “thing” to help them out.

It took me about two weeks (!) to figure out where to start, who the right people in EMC are, what you need to do to get them engaged… So although the team exists, not many people in EMC (or Oracle for that matter) are aware of its existence – let alone know how to use them. I searched hard for a well-written procedure or statement that could be sent to this customer so they could get their problems resolved. Although many EMC white papers, press releases and other documents reference it, I haven’t found the formal documentation, although I stumbled upon some internal memos and guidelines. Ever since, I’ve been asking around in EMC alliances, customer support, engineering, partner management and more to get this on the agenda because I want to have this “loud and clear” and public on EMC.com (and – even better – also on Oracle.com) – because I believe it is a great value-add for customers that run Oracle on EMC infrastructure. But it has not happened yet for whatever reason, so I am posting the procedure here myself (without formal permission, but here it is anyway).

Disclaimer: this is my description of the process based on internal inquiry and feedback, and and I cannot be held responsible for it to be correct (I’m a field Technical Consultant, not part of corporate marketing or management). If you are an Oracle/EMC customer, I recommend you ask your Customer Service rep for a formal description of this (the more customers asking, the sooner it will be provided). I will update the procedure in this post it if I get better information on this.

Prerequisites

  • Customer has valid support contract with both Oracle and EMC
  • No additional (paid) support contract is required with either company to use it

Procedure

  • A problem arises with an Oracle database running on EMC infrastructure
  • If it’s a clear Oracle problem, contact Oracle customer support and have them resolve it
  • If it’s a clear EMC problem, contact EMC customer support and have them resolve it
  • If it’s not clear (i.e. I/O errors, I/O related performance issues, data corruption, etc etc) then engage JEC:
  1. place a support call with Oracle (or EMC first) and ask for the incident case number
  2. place a support call with EMC (or Oracle first) and ask for the incident case number
  3. Call back to EMC and provide Oracle’s support number, and ask / demand they engage the JEC
  4. Call back to Oracle and provide EMC’s support number, and ask / demand they engage the JEC

Now both Oracle and EMC level-1 support personnel might not be aware of what you mean as not many customers use it (I hope this will change), so be persistent, and if needed, escalate to customer service management!
EMC Customer Support people can now access the Oracle incident tracking system and interact with Oracle folks (via email, phone, Incident Management tracking systems and the like) and vice versa. Both teams (should) have the correct expertise to understand each others technology and they must work together in finding the root cause. They are not allowed to point fingers to each others (at least not visible for you as a customer).
If you upload trace or log files, or provide status updates to either EMC or Oracle tracking systems then both sides can get access. If all goes well, the issue will be resolved.

Hope this helps. I have heard from some of my colleagues that they have used it too and were very pleased with the results. If you have first-hand experience (good or bad), please let me know!

Bottom line: the JEC really exists (it’s not just marketing), it works to get issues resolved quicker, but IMHO the formal (public) procedure for customers is missing and not everyone is aware of the existence, which results in customers not being able to use this value-added service. Hence this blog-post.

References

EMC and Oracle alliance

Original (2001) articles & press releases:

Computer Weekly – Oracle and EMC open service centre
SearchStorage – EMC & Oracle team up for service

Later articles:

Oracle Magazine 2007 – EMC, Other Partners Boost Oracle Unbreakable Linux Support
PR Newswire – EMC and Oracle Join Forces Under the Oracle Unbreakable Linux Support Program
PR Newswire – EMC and Oracle Work to Speed Oracle(R) Database 11g Deployments

Papers:

EMC – Top Ten Reasons to Choose EMC for Oracle Environments item #9 (BTW I have a personal top-25 reasons list which I will put on my blog some time ;-)

One Response to The EMC Oracle Joint Escalation Center

  1. Pingback: Debunking Oracle certification myths | Dirty Cache

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