As an Icinga-partner providing support we thought for quite some time time that we would have no use for a sophisticated troubleshooting guide for internal use. The tickets that came in were too diverse and most cases had to be dealt with by hardened and seasoned support engineers who drove into the problem at hand like Conan the Barbarian into the ranks of his foes by the pure power of their experience and knowledge.
With more and more young folks joining the ranks of our Support-team, sometimes just for a short period of time, we saw the need for a guide arising. Of course our younglings were never left alone so we had in fact two people working on an issue that didn’t take much more than asking for specific data in the first place. And sometimes, I gotta admit it, even the experienced ones had to be reminded that they forgot to ask about something specific - most of us are human and we all make mistakes.
So we came up with the idea to build a guide which contains some standard cases and how to deal with them. With a focus on what data to gather if one needs to escalate the issue to the next level.
Since it’s no good to have several guides covering overlapping topics and to utilize the power of the community we came up with the idea, to build this guide part by part together. “Together” meaning community members, Icinga team members and employees at partners (sometimes all together in one person).
We all (should) know, there’s a great part about troubleshooting and another about debugging in the Icinga docs, but this is not exactly what we need.
So what is this all about. I don’t want to start right away with writing some new guide but find a way how we can build something that can satisfy all our needs. Or a collection of information that serves the different purposes. To be honest, I have a rough idea, but to find the final form is something, I’m hoping to achieve through this thread.
The idea is to have something we (meaning everyone) can use for at least these three purposes:
- Find information to help ourselves when we are in trouble. If you’re experienced enough you should be able to find solutions to common problems so you can fix them yourself
- Give a guide on how to provide information here in our great community if you need help. (e.g. There are times someone has a question giving sparse information where rude people could reply with an icon of a crystal ball. Instead we could send the thread started to a specific part within the guide and ask them to follow the steps to provide the information needed)
- Give a guide for support engineers (no matter if they are junior, senior or lead) at partners on what to ask for from their customers. If a solution can be found within the guide - great. But the focus of the partner part would be more about which information to ask for to make sure the customer didn’t hit a bug. Or if they did, what information the next level needs to deal with the bug. Or what information is needed to replicate a certain situation.
- Give ideas for further development for tools like Icinga Diagnostics about which information to collect automatically
This is not an easy task even if all the questions and answers were already collected. The different groups of people have very different needs when it comes to guidelines. Some need more thorough information, others need a very quick overview because they know exactly what they’re looking for.
So what I’m hoping for is ideas for the details on how to achieve a collection of information that can cater to all these needs. Maybe even ideas for more usecases. And I want to find the right tool to do this. A markdown file in a git repository? A thread/wiki within this community board? A new or reworked section within docs.icinga.com ? A new tool (please, not).