Engaging with SUSE Support: Severity Levels, Response Times, and After Hours

SUSE Delivers Exceptional Customer Support

When you purchase a SUSE solution, you know that solution is backed by SUSE Support.  A significant part of the “backed by SUSE Support” statement means that your solution has a defined lifecycle, is hardened and secured for your business critical systems, and maintenance is provided in the way of patches and security updates.  The other part of “backed by SUSE Support” also means is that your solutions are backed by an experienced team who treats you like family.

But just like a family has rules of engagement, SUSE Support has service level agreements (SLA).  In this blog post, I’ll talk about some of them including how to determine your severity level, what our response times are (and what a response means), and after-hours support.

Severity Levels

Every system problem feels like the most important system problem.  But did you know that SUSE Support has specific definitions for Severity 1 issues versus Severity 4 issue?  Use the table below to categorize your issues.

Operations are severely restricted. Important features are unavailable, although work can continue in a limited fashion. A workaround is available.

Severity Level Description
Severity 1 (Critical) The operation is in production and is mission critical to the business. The product is inoperable and the situation is resulting in a total disruption of work. There is no workaround available.
Severity 2 (High)
Severity 3 (Medium) The product does not work as designed resulting in a minor loss of usage.
Severity 4 (Low) There is no loss of service. This may be a request for documentation, general information, product enhancement request, etc.

Response Times

Now that we know the severity level of our concern, let’s take a look at the SLA we have as far as response time.  The SLA is dependent on the type of subscription you purchased – Standard or Priority.  As a reminder, a standard subsciption provides 12×5 coverage; while a priority subscription gives you 24×7 coverage. SUSE defines a response time as the time between creation of the incident and the initial communication between the assigned engineer and your company.

Response times for Standard Subscriptions are:

Severity Hours of Coverage Target Response Time  
4 12×5* Next Business Day
3 12×5 Next Business Day
2 12×5 4 Hour
1 12×5 2 Hour

Response times for Priority Subscriptions are:

Severity Hours of Coverage Target Response Time  
4 24×7 Next Business Day
3 24×7 4 Hour
2 24×7 2 Hour
1 24×7 1 Hour

*The target response time applies to the period when support is available. For example, a Standard subscription Severity 1 incident logged at 6 p.m. will have a target response time of before 10 a.m. the following business day.

Note:  For Severity 1 Issues: open an Incident through the Customer Center as a Severity 2, then call your local support center to escalate to a Severity 1.

For even faster response times and direct access to a named engineer, we invite you to learn about Premium Support Services.

After Hours Support

This is all fine when an issue happens during the day, right?  But what happens when the problem occurs outside of business hours?

If you have a Priority Subscription, you are covered! SUSE technical support is available 24×7 no matter the severity level.  You can rest assured that SUSE will send you a technical acknowledgement of the case within the specified target response time for that severity.

However, if you are experiencing a Severity 1 (Critical) issue outside business hours and have access to 24-hour coverage, please contact Technical Support via phone so that we can resolve the issue for you.

As a side note, if you have a Premium Support Services offering, you might also be entitled to Scheduled Standby.  Prearrange Scheduled Standby when you know you will need support outside business hours. This service gives you direct access to a SUSE engineer on a standby basis. When you have a scheduled product upgrade or network maintenance task for which you’d like some added insurance, you can have an experienced support engineer standing by. If you have the Gold or Platinum levels of Premium Support Services, you may schedule Scheduled Standby directly with your Service Delivery Manager. Make sure you schedule Scheduled Standby a minimum of two weeks out from the time you need it.

All this and more is covered in detail in the SUSE Technical Support Handbook and in the Support FAQs.  I also published a post earlier this month on my favorite tech support resources.

As part of your family, we want to make sure we are giving you the very best support we can; the support that you depend on. We encourage you to reach out if you have suggestions or concerns.

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