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Using the Cloud to Troubleshoot the Cloud

With the Cloud, many developers and companies can now afford to have a true test and development configuration to ensure that their code deployments will work properly in the production environment.  Setting up these types of environments is valuable because not only can the development team determine if their code works, they also can discover the associated downtime with deploying it.  But did you know that you can use the Cloud in a similar manner to help diagnose a problem that your configuration might be facing?

I am one of those people who sit on the other side of the phone when customers call for help. I’ll get customers who call in with problems with their server and some of the issues that I see are pretty complex problems.

In the past, our only option for troubleshooting was to log into the live production server to diagnose the issue. What’s cool is that today we can create a cloned production environment in the Cloud to troubleshoot the more complex problems. This is similar to a test/dev environment a company could set up within the Cloud where businesses can play around with a website in a behind-the-scenes, safe place without having to interrupt the live production site.

By cloning out the problem configuration, error and all, our Rackers can work out the problem without fear of damaging the live environment. If they do something incorrectly or restart the wrong service, the mistakes aren’t happening on the production box. This ability to clone the server gives tech support a lot more freedom to correct the problem.

Once tech support is able to troubleshoot the problem in the cloned server, they can go back to the customers and let them know the process involved in fixing the actual server and – most importantly – let the customers know how much downtime will be involved. Armed with so much detailed information, customers can then determine when to have the problem fixed so it fits in their schedule.

The efficiencies of using the Cloud from the support staff perspective are priceless. Our support staff has the freedom to take a complicated problem and duplicate it. If we need to use multiple people, we can create multiple copies of the server. In addition to helping our customers have a scalable, cost effective hosting solution, the Cloud also creates opportunities from the support side to provide a better customer experience when troubles arise.

Check out Joseph’s previous video where he discussed how to experiment and test in the cloud. You can also watch the next video where he talks about scaling your configuration in the cloud. Learn more about how the Managed Cloud offering can support your business.

About the Author

This is a post written and contributed by Joseph Palumbo.

As a founding member of Rackspace's Managed Cloud Support Team, Joseph spends half of his time teaching customers about the Cloud and the other half learning about the Cloud from them. When he's not in meetings, he can be found presiding over cultural happenings around the Rackspace office, discussing support innovation with other 'Fanatics' and wishing paper documents had a built-in search function.


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