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DSNlink vs. ITRC

Aaron Sakovich
Super Advisor

DSNlink vs. ITRC

I just received my April Fools letter regarding the demise of DSNlink on the 26th of this month. I dutifully went to the ITRC to research my latest problem for one of my developers: programming mailboxes in COBOL.

My first attempt was to search the ITRC for $CREMBX. Surprisingly, I got zero hits. I then searched for "mailbox". Lots of UNIX and Exchange solutions. I tried to apply a filter to the search, but OpenVMS was *not* listed as an available filter option! As a work-around, I changed the search to "OpenVMS mailbox". This came up with 50 solutions, but most appeared to be patches, not exactly what I was looking for. I modified the search again to "OpenVMS mailbox programming example", and voila, 9 hits! Unfortunately, none were programming examples, all were patches. I added "Manuals" to the list, but got the same results -- I soon discovered that OpenVMS manuals were not included in the manuals provided at docs.hp.com!!!

I went to DSNlink ITS, opened the OpenVMS database, typed in "mailbox programming example" and got 93 pertinent results, including real sample code for programming mailboxes.

Needless to say, I am very distressed at the prospect of losing this great resource, and getting a not-quite-ready replacement. If this is the best replacement that HP can provide, I will immediately have our purchasing department cancel the order that I recently requested for additional layered product services to support our COBOL programming staff, and will instead rely on C.O.V. and Google for support.

I hope someone here can point me in the correct direction for either finding the proper website for REAL OpenVMS support, or will help me in elevating this to the officials that need to know that the ITRC tools that are to replace DSNlink simply are not adequate and are not worth the money we spend for support services.

Sincerest regards,
Aaron
18 REPLIES
labadie_1
Honored Contributor

Re: DSNlink vs. ITRC

hello

I think you shoud go to

ask.compaq.com

then in
high performance system
you click
symtom and solution article

you search for
cobol mailbox

this leads you to
http://j1hp.jeevessolutions.com/hp/match.asp?query=cobol+mailbox&source=0&origin=0&chkHighPerfThree=on

which seems to have valid examples.

Regards

Gerard
Willem Grooters
Honored Contributor

Re: DSNlink vs. ITRC

Aaron,

I wasn't aware of this site, nor of it's demise, but I absolutely agree with your concern. I (and no doubt, most on the forum) cannot agree more on your last statements.

However:

ITRC is a source of information and an exchange of knowledge, not a database of examples like DSNLink.

No matter whether DSNLink is HP-owned or not, HP should take complaints of it's VMS customer-base serious. But I'm afraid the level takiong decisions do't know (of don't want to know) about anything else than Unix (in whatever flavour) and Windows.

Sad, Sad, Sad.

It will be even worse for thos that Hhave to rely on these types of information.

Willem

Willem Grooters
OpenVMS Developer & System Manager
labadie_1
Honored Contributor

Re: DSNlink vs. ITRC

sorry, there was a typo

askq.compaq.com
Aaron Sakovich
Super Advisor

Re: DSNlink vs. ITRC

I should have mentioned that also -- I did try askq.compaq.com, but was quickly discouraged when I got over 10,000 results for the "OpenVMS mailbox programming example" query.

I don't think it's an efficient use of my time to search through 10,000+ articles, manuals, notes, and other items -- that is, after all, why I tried using a search engine in the first place, to pare DOWN the amount of info available to me to something a human can manage. The computer is my tool, I am not its slave.

As a reference, Google's web search returned 2,840 results on that same query. Google Groups returned 148. Quantity does not equal quality, but fewer is easier for a human to digest; I could handle 148, or 93 -- 10,000 is out of the question.

As an Enterprise-class customer, I've come to expect a certain level of service. Based on my experience described above, I currently do not think that the facilities listed as replacements for DSNlink provide that same level of quality.

Hoping that someone can show me the error in my ways,
Aaron
Ian Miller.
Honored Contributor

Re: DSNlink vs. ITRC

I'm told the askq site does have all the articles that are on DSNlink and if I haved been told an exact article title I can get it. However I agree it is much harder to find stuff than on DSNlink.
____________________
Purely Personal Opinion
Martin P.J. Zinser
Honored Contributor

Re: DSNlink vs. ITRC

Hello Aaron,

as you found out ITRC is mainly about two things:

1.) Patches
2.) The forums

hp researched answers are in the "Ask the wizard" area at http://h71000.www7.hp.com/wizard/index.html

Documentation is at http://h71000.www7.hp.com/doc/

If you use ITRC for what it is made it is quite ok.

HTH,

Martin
Aaron Sakovich
Super Advisor

Re: DSNlink vs. ITRC

Hi Martin,

I appreciate your input, but I'm a paying customer with a support contract. It used to be that all the facilities of DSNlink plus telephone support were the value that I bought with my service dollars. Are you saying that I must now resort to "Asking the wizard" or "Ask Q" when I have a critical situation that needs priority resolution?

I tried the web-based support case manager, but it doesn't list any of my contracted items -- not even OpenVMS.

I've been away from my desk, but have had a chance to further examine the AskQ tool -- it does look like it can find the stuff I'm looking for as long as the query is formed and boxes checked as labadie described. I'm not now sure how I managed to get it to return 10,000+ results, but 1625 is better! Is there any way to do a "subsearch" (a la DSNlink ITS) on the results returned from such a search?

Hopeful,
Aaron
Martin P.J. Zinser
Honored Contributor

Re: DSNlink vs. ITRC

Hello Aaron,

we do have a service contract in the company I work for and I am not aware that ITRC is meant to be a replacement for opening service calls. If anybody told you so I would think they have been misguided and I would follow up on this with hp if I were you. OTOH the forums can be very useful if you want to get unfiltered input from peers about issues (or if you do not have a service contract).

Greetings, Martin
Ian Miller.
Honored Contributor

Re: DSNlink vs. ITRC

for logging VMS calls I use ESR
https://ww4.ccc.emea.compaq.com/HomePage.asp
____________________
Purely Personal Opinion
Willem Grooters
Honored Contributor

Re: DSNlink vs. ITRC

Why does everyone seems to think that all VMS users have a support contract?! I don't, a lot of small-company-users dont't since it's far too expensive. It seems these VMS users are therefore excluded of _general_ information, like these examples. I won't speak for all - but I do not seek support (look for it myself) but at least, it must be available AND accessable.

I agree with Aaron that 10k hits is NO support. IMHO, 1.5K is as bad. I haven't accessed the sites like mentioned but have some experience with 'open source' (read: *x) forums: Completely inadequate by the sheer number of replies.

Just one thought: Isn't that something for Encompassus/Decus/Interex/or whatever HP-relates user organization to pick up?
Willem Grooters
OpenVMS Developer & System Manager
Ian Miller.
Honored Contributor

Re: DSNlink vs. ITRC

Willem - I know lots of small and not so small companies do not have support contracts be cause they cost a lot. The examples are now available via askq.compaq.com if you format the question exactly the right way (previously only available via DSNlink for paying customers).

Aarons original point was that, as he is paying lots of money for a support contract, he should have good and easy access to example code and other support articles - otherwise this reduces the value of the expensive hp support contract.

In the UK for me DSNlink went away quite a while ago. I have yet to find a good replacement.

Parhaps if people post a question to the hp advocacy web site and it gets 5 me too votes then hp will have to responsd.
____________________
Purely Personal Opinion
Cass Witkowski
Trusted Contributor

Re: DSNlink vs. ITRC

In January of this year I sent an email to Mark Gorham, who is the VP for OpenVMS systems, to let him know my concerns about the future of DSNlink.

Mark had me talk to two people at HP Paul Lacombe, paul.lacombe@hp.com and George Pagliarulo, george.pagliarulo@hp.com

I suggest all those who are concerned about DSNlink going away and having to deal with ITRC in it's present state should send these two gentlemen email. I have been told that the capabilities of DSNlink will be in ITRC but I haven't seen it yet.



Aaron Sakovich
Super Advisor

Re: DSNlink vs. ITRC

The letter I received from HP said that the DSNlink functionality should be replaced by various new ITRC functions, for the most part. For example:

- Replace DSNlink "Service Request" with "ITRC Maintenance and Support (Compaq Products) Support Case Manager". (I can not find this exact title on the ITRC site, but it might be the "Web based case management" I referred to in a prior post.)

- Replace DSNlink "Interactive Text Search" with "ITRC Maintenance and Support (Compaq Products) Natural Language Search (http://askq.compaq.com/)".

- Replace DSNlink "File Copy" with "Available through any HP Customer Support support (sic) agent".

- Replace DSNlink "Patch Retrieval" with "ITRC Maintenance and Support (Compaq Products) Software and Drivers".

There are 4 more items listed, too, but I think you can get the jist of the direction HP is pushing. I'm especially curious about the "File Copy" replacement -- are we to email files to HP? I'll be really interested in seeing how well a keyed indexed fixed length record data file will come out of an SMTP email system (or, worse, Outlook) without a whole lot more effort on the end-user's part.

I can understand the desire to get rid of a legacy app IF it's broken. I can understand the desire to offer new services to customers for free. I can appreciate how HP is overloaded with multiple service tools after the purchase of Compaq/Digital. But the customer should not be the one to lose service and functionality, nor should I be forced to pay for a service others receive for free, in this change.

I get the impression that the ITRC is not quite ready to take the place of DSNlink, and that HP is rushing this to the detriment of their paying customers. If the ITRC truly is the support vehicle of the future for Digital products, then I see no need for the high priced support contracts that we are paying for, and will recommend to my management that we discontinue their purchase wherever possible. I am hoping that someone can show me some benefit for our outlay of cash that I feel I must be missing. On the other hand, if this is HP's intent, please let me know, because I feel it is not entirely clearly stated in the letter I received.

Speaking for myself and not necessarily my company,
Aaron
Mobeen_1
Esteemed Contributor

Re: DSNlink vs. ITRC

I think the guys for the sake of the VMS users should make DSNLink available untill we are completely ready with the ITRC. Till such time DSNLink should be made available to the users

regards
Mobeen
Jan van den Ende
Honored Contributor

Re: DSNlink vs. ITRC

Hi,

I cannot say it any better than Mobeen did.

So, make that two entries to the same statement.

Jan
Don't rust yours pelled jacker to fine doll missed aches.
Aaron Sakovich
Super Advisor

Re: DSNlink vs. ITRC

There is an open issue at hpuseradvocacy.com regarding ITRC and the loss of DSNlink. So far, only 3 people have voted on it -- add me, and that's 4. If the other folks here who have similar concerns are interested, you may add your vote at:

http://hpuseradvocacy.com/advocacy/metoo/metooissue.cfm?IssueID=1521

entitled: "OpenVMS Support Website". You will most likely need to register with the site to be able to vote on the issue.

Be sure to add your comments.

Aaron
Dave Gudewicz
Valued Contributor

Re: DSNlink vs. ITRC

Add another vote and comment to the tally.
Ian Miller.
Honored Contributor

Re: DSNlink vs. ITRC

me too!
____________________
Purely Personal Opinion