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Is Tolis Group is still in business?

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Gustavo Bermudas
Is Tolis Group is still in business?
on Apr 28, 2017 at 7:30:27 pm
Last Edited By Gustavo Bermudas on Apr 28, 2017 at 7:56:12 pm

Website and phone are dead...


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Tim Jones
Re: Is Tolis Group is still in business?
on Apr 28, 2017 at 11:13:47 pm

Yes - the rumors of our demise are quite premature.

We moved to a new office on Wednesday and the infrastructure completely collapsed when we plugged in after 2 weeks of preparatory work. Our ISP and telco group are sorting things and we're getting closer to getting out of ICU every few minutes.

The website is starting to resolve again, but the internal internet and the phones are still non-responsive (I'm tethered to my iPhone right now).

Apologies to all, but we will be back as soon as the new fibre loop is connected.

Tim
--
Tim Jones
CTO - TOLIS Group, Inc.
http://www.tolisgroup.com
BRU ... because it's the RESTORE that matters!


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Tim Jones
Re: Is Tolis Group is still in business?
on May 1, 2017 at 10:06:47 pm

Hi folks,

While you can most likely get to our web site, we're still playing ISP games and the latest fun is that our supposedly static IP environment is pulling a dynamic address that appears to be updating every 4 hours. This means that the IP addresses in the DNS realm are never correct. Cox is working to determine why the MODEM configuration is not sticking.

We can't even provide a temporary email address because the mail server is not resolving.

I'll keep updating this post as things progress.

Tim
--
Tim Jones
CTO - TOLIS Group, Inc.
http://www.tolisgroup.com
BRU ... because it's the RESTORE that matters!


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Tim Jones
Re: Is Tolis Group is still in business?
on May 3, 2017 at 5:32:59 pm

Update for May 3rd -

The phones and website are live and functioning, corporate mail is working, but our support subnet is still mired in DNS Hell.

If you are in need of support, we have set up a temporary email account that we can access and respond to:

bruspprttmp@gmail.com

When contacting us, be sure to identify your BRU product, Serial Number, Operating system, and OS version (kernel version if Linux).

Tim
--
Tim Jones
CTO - TOLIS Group, Inc.
http://www.tolisgroup.com
BRU ... because it's the RESTORE that matters!


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Dan Olsen
Re: Is Tolis Group is still in business?
on May 17, 2017 at 10:28:50 pm

Hoping you guys stay in business for a long time!

What's the status? Been quite a while w/o the ticket system functioning, not getting any response from the temp email..


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Tim Jones
Re: Is Tolis Group is still in business?
on May 17, 2017 at 11:05:41 pm

Hi Dan,

Just checked with Kayleigh. She doesn't see anything from you in the email queue. Can you try again.

Tim
--
Tim Jones
CTO - TOLIS Group, Inc.
http://www.tolisgroup.com
BRU ... because it's the RESTORE that matters!


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Mike Niedzwiecki
Re: Is Tolis Group is still in business?
on Aug 11, 2017 at 5:54:30 pm

Tim,

I apologize for getting involved in someone else's thread but I did want to add my experience.

Just like Gustavo, I too believed you guys had gone under. And I decided to call the sales team to simply ask after noticing your site's issues. But to me that wasn't the first sign of trouble.

Getting in touch with your support team has become difficult and inconsistent.

I've had a support ticket that's been open for two months now without a resolution, mostly because we can go 3 to 4 days without any acknowledgement from them.

I too work in break/fix environments and realize these things can take a good amount of back and forth to determine a resolution but at every step it's been as though they barely have time to acknowledge my issue. While simple steps in creating an organized and clear process have been ignored.

I've repeatedly asked to simply be kept in the loop about expected delays, or in the instance of the first request, an auto-reply acknowledging that my initial message was received since it took four days to get my very first response, which only came after I made an additional request to have my item acknowledged.

At the very beginning of the thread, after going 3 days without acknowledgement or responses, I was told to "be patient" when requesting acknowledgment of receipt.

Over the span of two months, your team has averaged about one reply per week.

You used to have auto-responses in place and a clear ticketing system, as well as phone support. These benefits seem to have very recently been taken away.

All of this to me points to a company that is unwilling to maintain a usable support system.

If it were my business, I'd want to be kept in the loop about your customer experience.


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Tim Jones
Re: Is Tolis Group is still in business?
on Aug 11, 2017 at 9:16:18 pm
Last Edited By Tim Jones on Aug 11, 2017 at 9:20:41 pm

Mike,

Since you've now shared this with the world, I can only respond by sharing the full sequence here.

You've been using BRU successfully for a long time. Your original email that started the support thread indicated that you switched your system from Open Directory - where things had been working properly for a long time - to Active Directory. That you were witnessing permissions issues when a non-admin user was trying to restore data from BRU tapes to an encrypted hard drive with specially applied ACLs and user requirements.

Even though this is NOT something that we can control within BRU (specialized permissions and AD user control) and not actually a BRU problem, the team tried to offer help. In troubleshooting this, we recommended that you run tests by creating a non-AD user (local only) for a restore test and it took days for you to accomplish what we were asking.

We were back and forth with you on this through July 21st. We then reconnected on the 31st because we had been waiting for your upload of a log file and did not receive notice that it was available until then. We replied that same day after reviewing the file and gave you some very specific steps to try on your end. We didn't hear back and Eric tried connecting again on the 1st only to receive your auto-response that you were out of the office until the 8th. We then received a phone call into the sales group asking for escalation, but you had still not responded to the email from the 31st. Our EVP actually called to follow up and left you a message on the phone.

Finally, on August 7th you responded to the email thread with a series of screenshots that showed that you used a creative mechanism to test what we sent that didn't provide what we had asked for. We responded to that email 15 minutes after receipt explaining why we needed you to perform the steps exactly as we sent. You next replied 20 minutes later that doing it the way that we specified resulted in the expected error that showed that your system had become unsynced from the Active Directory forest (the groups file read failure). We replied with instructions on how to get that system to resync with the AD forest and potentially resolve the permissions issue.

As of this morning (Aug 11), we have not heard anything further from you on this. Did resyncing the AD environment sort the groups file issue (which should solve the write failures to the encrypted drive)?

Tim
--
Tim Jones
CTO - TOLIS Group, Inc.
http://www.tolisgroup.com
BRU ... because it's the RESTORE that matters!


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Mike Niedzwiecki
Re: Is Tolis Group is still in business?
on Aug 11, 2017 at 10:44:22 pm

Tim,

I’m afraid what you’re representing here is just not accurate.

Again, I apologize for using this as a means of communication but we’ve really not been left any other options since we've even received poor results from contacting your only other public point of contact, your sales department.

Although I was attempting to keep the specifics of my support issue out of this thread and discuss instead the issues that outwardly appear to be going on with the customer-facing portion of your business, I’m afraid I will have to discuss a few to illustrate my point.

Firstly, this issue began before moving from Open Directory to Active Directory because we were finding issues between multiple UUIDs restoring the archives of others. Knowing that moving from an Open Directory to an Active Directory would definitely create new UUIDs, we attempted to preemptively try to resolve this issue but with your support teams lack of response we were forced to move forward on it while waiting for responses. But it certainly was not caused by the shift.

Further, I DID take the steps to test our issues without any AD accounts and the problem continues with local users and groups, so this quite simply is not an Active Directory issue. I’ve pointed this out in the thread as well but it has obviously been forgotten this far out.

As you can probably understand, this production workstation is heavily used and requires scheduling time to enable these changes.

As for your timeline, you are correct that on August 7, for the first time in two months, your technicians responded in 15 minutes time. And ultimately, because this is a heavily used workstation, I was not able to schedule a reboot during business hours until two days later.

However, my response email which was sent on Aug 9 appears to have not been received by your team.

The phone call I left in sales asking for escalation was left on Thursday 7/27 12:13p PST, a full day before I left town.

The uploads that claim were not notified of until Jul 31 were sent to your Dropbox account on Jul 21, which was the service your team recommended I use. I have an autogenerated response from Dropbox that my files were uploaded at 7/21 at 5:11p PST.

If you would like to see any of this, I'd be happy to present it to you off of this thread.

All of this seems to point to the fact that your customer service approach needs a great deal of work. And that potentially we’re looking at a top down issue.

Ultimately, I’m looking for help via a support system that we’ve paid for to get the expected use out of your product. Can you help me get this?

You should have our contact information if your preference is to contact us directly.


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Tim Jones
Re: Is Tolis Group is still in business?
on Aug 11, 2017 at 11:03:28 pm

I've now re-read the entire thread and if you have done all of the things mentioned in this message, you've not related this to the team.

Regardless, I will summarize what Eric just sent in the support system.

If disconnecting the system and user from your AD forest has not resolved this, then there is something else in the environment that is causing the issue. Nothing changed in BRU and BRU was working previously. Since we do not control the other elements in your environment and BRU is otherwise working as it should, I'm not sure what more we can offer.

Based on these items -

- Your previous configuration was working as expected
- Using BRU in a non-AD/non-encrypted environment works with non-admin users
- Using BRU with an admin-level user works
- The changes involved a new network and user permissions implementation
- You created and tested with a non-AD user while not connected to the forest
- You did the disconnect/reconnect to the forest to re-sync the cached info as directed

If the problem still exists, it's outside of what we can provide assistance with. TOLIS Group is not a network engineering or system administration company, we are a company which supports our products. We try to assist where we can, but this has gone beyond the environment that is under our control.

I will also add one more bit of input - why are you running this task on a system that is otherwise in use so heavily? With the backup and restore processes being so integral to your operations, and the encrypted integrity of your clients' volumes being so sensitive and restrictive, why isn't there a system dedicated to this task that is not on your network and therefore, not connected to your AD forest in any manner? I would think that such extreme security requirements would dictate a rather isolated work environment for that system.

Tim
--
Tim Jones
CTO - TOLIS Group, Inc.
http://www.tolisgroup.com
BRU ... because it's the RESTORE that matters!


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Mike Niedzwiecki
Re: Is Tolis Group is still in business?
on Aug 12, 2017 at 1:42:19 am

Tim,

Again what you're stating is only marginally accurate.

Using your list of items as a guideline:

Based on these items -

- Your previous configuration was working as expected

That was true but was only tested during early versions of your product probably about a year prior to the ticket. No other changes were made when this issue was initially submitted to your team besides the version of BRU PE installed.

The initial version of BRU PE that we installed allowed us to restore the archives of a user (User 1) by any other user to the same destination, the same external encrypted storage drive. That is our expected results of your product and part of why we chose it.

Then for at least a year's time, only one user has been creating and restoring all archives.

Just before beginning this ticket with you, a new user (User 2) began using the workstation, User 2 could not restore archives created by User 1. But User 1 could restore User 1's archives and User 2 could restore User 2's archives.

All of this is before changing anything about the Domain, OS or any other environmental element with the exception of changing the versions of BRU PE.

- Using BRU in a non-AD/non-encrypted environment works with non-admin users


This is just not true. You can find this information in the thread in the information I submitted. We can not get non-AD, non-administrative users to restore archives that they did not create, even on unencrypted external drives with the setting in place "Ignore ownership on this volume."

- Using BRU with an admin-level user works


This is true. We've been forced to grant full administrative access to these users on this workstation in order to achieve the expected workflow of your product.

This puts us out of compliance and is the single issue I'd most like to resolve.

- The changes involved a new network and user permissions implementation


They did. But as you'll see in the thread, I think we've accounted for that being the cause.

- You created and tested with a non-AD user while not connected to the forest


We did. Again, no new results.

- You did the disconnect/reconnect to the forest to re-sync the cached info as directed


I did. That information was attached to the email your support team is suspiciously missing. But I would be happy to include it, if your team is interested in trying to resolve this issue.


And finally to your last point, this environment is not actually that complex. It is heavily used for BRU PE exclusively, we are constantly creating finished archives of projects which need to be removed to create space for newer upcoming projects on our production storage.

But we are doing so with users with non-compliant, administrative access to accomplish this.

Removing this station from the AD does not result in a fix, and frankly, I'm not sure where you got this notion.

At no point have I asked for your or your support team's input in anything outside of the scope of your product's behavior in as basic of a test environment as I can create as we are limited to a single LTO library.

At no point have I refused to attempt creating a test environment to determine the results of their suggestions.

While I will agree that not allowing these users to be full administrative users working with non-encrypted external storage does create a more complex environment than a station with one user and SAN access.

But I do expect that your team have a handle on the expected responses of your application with these relatively simple, common and safe practices.


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