Last few months I’m spending quite some time on the Data Protection Manager forums. There are a few reasons why I like to spend some time over there.
- I like to assist people who have issues with their DPM environments. Why? I have no idea but I just like it. Maybe it is because I also get a lot of help from these forums for other products but it is just something I like. That, and probably the point system that brings out the competitor in me :-)
- Learning. I like to read posts made by others and the possible resolutions that are posted. When I have no clue about what can be the problem but the answer is still resolved, it can help me in the future when I should encounter the same problem. It will also allow me to help others when they encounter that problem now that I have a solution
- Approaches. Many users are posting questions about possible configurations they would like in their environment. Although many can be seen as “Why would you want to do that”, there are many others where I say “Hey, that’s a great idea”. And even those where I doubt, it still reminds me that every environment is unique and that business requirements sometimes can be hard to meet.
Now what about the support you get there. No, it is not always the best support you can imagine. Don’t forget that on these forums the helping people are volunteers and some Microsoft people. Also don’t forget that it is pretty hard to troubleshoot issues when you don’t have the entire information, network architecture, log files and so on with you. I remember a post that took on for days of troubleshooting while the actual issue was so stupid, that another pair of eyes on that server would have solved the issue within minutes. But still, the answer came after a while. If you however expect a resolution, and you need it fast, then you better contact your partner or place a Microsoft support call.
Who is who on these forums? And who is giving the responses.
Well, that could be about everybody who has a live-id (and who doesn’t). Firstly, you have a few MSFT people who moderate the forums and who help. People such as Praveen D [MSFT] and Mike J are really helpful over there and are doing a great job. I assume that this is something additional they do in their work and that it is not their main work so considering that, nice job.
Secondly, you have the “other” people. People like myself who are not Microsoft employees and who like to help others. For DPM, I’m thinking about Robert Hedblom, Alex Smits and Taylorbox. But I’m sure I’m forgetting a few others and the list of helping people has grown a lot lately, something I really like. (My apologies for those who I have forgotten)
Besides the Microsoft moderated forums, there are also others who like to share a forum themselves with the community. One of these guys is David Allen who hosts a forum on SCDPMOnline.org and does a great job over there in answering people’s issues. (And don’t forget the fact that he has one of the best DPM blogs)
So if you are having problems, make sure to stop by the DPM forums (http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en/category/dpm) or by SCDPMOnline.org
From time to time, I will be using the information found in the forums to write a post, such as the next one. Why? Basically because it is good information and I can find it myself again :-) and it might be easier for others to find a solution on blogs then on forums.
One final remark.
Users who ask a question on the forum, should always give feedback when they got a response. Now many questions remain “open” because they have never received feedback from the person with the problem. This helps others that have this issue. When they find the forum post, and see that it resolved the issue with the user that had it, they will be more certain to try the resolution in their environments.
It doesn’t take much time to answer, and you can always be notified when somebody responds.