How to get HELP!
date: January 12, 2013
For a mission critical product like DSE, keeping customers and prospects happy is top priority. So while we all would love to have a world in which software has no issues, there will always be something. So I figure I share how to make getting that help from DataStax (and others in the community) possible, easier and more likely to be successful.
Looking For Information
As always Google ™ is your friend. Search for the error string, the option name, the snippet of information you need. Start specific, and broaden it if you can not find anything.
Next, Stack Overflow is a great place to look (if you did Google first, you probably already had some of that content in the results). However, here you can use tags (may I suggest Cassandra), so questions and answers are already geared towards Apache Cassandra™, Apache Hadoop®, Datastax Enterprise etc.
Planet Cassandra contains a lot of useful information and help for Apache Cassandra™ specifically. Meet experts from the community, and get information on events and other useful help.
The Datastax web site has documentation, reference cards tutorials to get information. The support forums are a great free way to find information and ask questions. DataStax employees are monitoring these channels, and if we can, we will answer.
Meetups and conferences are a great way to meet like-minded people and domain experts. The community around Apache Cassandra™ and Datastax Enterprise is friendly and helpful, so don't hesitate to connect and ask questions.
Using the irc://irc.freenode.net/#cassandra (for general Apache Cassandra™ related discussions) and irc://irc.freenode.net/#cassandra-dev (for Apache Cassandra™ development related discussions) IRC channels can be very useful.
Plug alert (the only one, I promise!)! There are of course also paid services by DataStax (DataStax support and DataStax consulting). We do have an excellent team of support engineers as well as consultants that can help with technical issues. Use our 24/7 service to ensure you get answers to mission critical issues as fast as possible.
Asking For Help
So after you looked for help and couldn't find any, you are now are going to ask for help, right? Most of the channels listed above will allow you to post questions (Stack Overflow, support forums, DataStax support). So how do you ensure your question is quickly answered? Pardon me if this all seems too trivial, but I find that for some it is not. Obviously there is variation/flexibility in the information required (if the issue is not generating a stack trace... don't share one), but basically this kind of information will help us (or others) help you better:
- What is the problem? Be as specific as possible, give an example and/or instructions on how to reproduce.
- What version of DSE are you running?
- What operating system are you running on?
- What kind of hardware (memory size, number of cpu's, disk size, free disk space) are you using?
- Is there an associated stack trace? Please share.
- Did anything change recently (new/removed/down nodes, changed config, changes in keyspaces of cf's?
- Are all nodes affected, only some, only one?
- Is this reproducible (randomly, frequently, every time)?
- The files in /var/log/cassandra (if that's to big, send the last a few thousand lines) may be useful depending on the issue.
- The schema.xml, cassandra.yaml, dse.yaml and solrconfig.xml files may be useful (from the affected machines).
- Provide output from `nodetool ring` and `nodetool info`.
Also check out http://www.catb.org/esr/faqs/smart-questions.html, which is a much more complete general overview on asking smart questions.
We are here to help, if you need us, let us know and we will do what we can to ensure your success.