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  Calling All HWA'er (urgent) 
 
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Rory Witham Aug 09, 2006, 08:23pm EDT Report Abuse
OK where to start,
I have a issue with a company who isn't paying their bill, I have supported them for a few months which is one of the reasons that I haven't been around as much as I used to be.

I need to prove a point and require a sensible and honest replies to this posting. You need to have some networking background or server installs, or knowledge of server and their definitions. There is two sets of questions to answer and only about 6.
Thanks in advance.

(EDIT) I have moved the question to a post about 3 down, if you dont want to read you should be able to answer a few questions. (/EDIT)

Back ground: Company had had a IT guy for a few years, the desktops are the low end Dell systems and the server specs were:
2 Gig PC133
P4 1.7Ghz
3 x 40 Gig HDD
Abit motherboard.
Windows 2000 Small business Server.

Computers/work stations
Dell
256Mb DDR
2.4 Ghz Intel's
40 Gig HDD's
XP Pro

The workstations were not up to date, didn't even have SP1 on them and they also had a lot of other software from the Dell factory and office install - this was odd as they all had a mix of office 2000 and office 2003.

When I was called in the server was not running correctly as in RFC compliant so it was a spam re-layer and had a s**t load of spam coming in (around 140 per day for one user!)
After being there for some time I could see that the server was not correctly configured or set up, I had advised on the security issues. shortly after someone was fired for a security breach.

Not long after this The server was becoming critical, I had advised the clients on this. The server was so badly configured it would have been impossible to come up with a solution other than a format and complete reinstall. As the server was old and didn't offer some server nor had the space for services, A new server was offered.

NEW server
Asus dual CPU server board,
4 Gig RAM
3X 250 + 1x 400 Gig HDD's
2X 3.0 Ghz CPU's
XP pro OS
Apache web server
Mercury Mail server
CRM system

I had told them about the costs of the windows 2003 server and they wanted a cheaper alternative, hence windows XP pro which is server 2003 derived.
One of the main concerns was a reduction in spam and Mercury is one of the best solutions that can do this.

They had blackberry on the old server and they wanted 1 an alternative 2 for it to work. On the invoice and spec sheet, it dose say that it will not run the black berry server on this server, How ever, I was going to format and redo the old server just for this task.

Questions to answer,
Would you class this new system as a server specification in its hardware.

As the server runs a server service would you class this as a server.

Would you find that this server would be fit for 12 users who are sharing only a database and some documents. (provided by a work group shared drive)

Would the XP Pro operating system supersede the fact that it has 4 servers running (web, mail, Internal web server, external web server) there is also two SQL servers, but I'll go into that now..


The company share a few databases which were build in access. I had planned to move the these to a SQL database so they would run correctly. They had not reported access faults with the server file shares and the databases were not built by me.

When the installation started I moved the users from the domain to a work group, as this allows for easy shares, they were protected via a gateway.
We did not remove the domain users accounts from the computers/workstations.

As the systems were out of date, there were errors with the MS updates and software that was on the users computers due to them being some 3 years out of date!

Questions to answer:
Is software failure on the workstations due to the lack of updates, my fault.
Is this also anything to do with the server installation.

As the client were made aware of the fact that we stated, blackberry would not work on their new server, would I be wrong in saying that I can charge for the support call that were made by the client. (the client already has support from blackberry and issues were with black berry desktop software + systems being out of date)



Custom Computers: http://www.gtwcmt.co.uk/GT%20PERFORMANCE%20COMPUTERS/index.html
Computer maintenance: http://www.gtwcmt.co.uk/Computer_maintenance/index.html
Computer repairs: http://www.gtwcmt.co.uk/Computer-repairs/index.html
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Rory Witham Aug 09, 2006, 08:35pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Calling All HWA'er (urgent)
server def:
http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/0,,sid9_gci212964,00.html
(general application of the word)

Web server def:
http://searchwebservices.techtarget.com/sDefinition/0,,sid26_g...06,00.html
( apache was installed)

Client server def:
http://searchnetworking.techtarget.com/sDefinition/0,,sid7_gci...96,00.html
(where they shared data bases across the users and files)

As you can see, This was met, is there such a thing as claiming a server is not fit for perpose as it supercede the clients requirement?

BTW the client is still useing the server, can I have the comments on this also.


Oh Before I forget.
Contactual arrangements. You do not need to go read them but this is a general statement.
If My site and invoices state,
By using this site and services you agree to these terms and conditions, would using the site and services mean you agree?

If the invoices state: the terms and conditions of your services can be found on the website. Would this mean that terms and condition apply and you agree and it is your fault if you do not read them?

If you are sent a email saying that terms and conditions apply to your business with mine, please read them on the following link ( with link provided) mean that I have clearly given you notice of the terms and conditions and that you are aware.

Finally!
If you did or did read the terms and conditions and continued to use the services, would you consider that these still apply.


Thanks again guys N' Girls.


Custom Computers: http://www.gtwcmt.co.uk/GT%20PERFORMANCE%20COMPUTERS/index.html
Computer maintenance: http://www.gtwcmt.co.uk/Computer_maintenance/index.html
Computer repairs: http://www.gtwcmt.co.uk/Computer-repairs/index.html
Adam Kolak Aug 09, 2006, 09:47pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Calling All HWA'er (urgent)
That's a good entry level server for what they need it for, I think it has plenty of power.

I would say that it is thier fault if they didn't read the terms of service, but I think they are agreeing to it officially, when they sign the papers. Remember most people don't ever both reading the terms of service, including myself. I never read that stuff, but just because I don't read it doesn't mean that it doesn't apply. Its like those EULAs, no-one reads them, but If you pirate, modify, or damage the software, and you think its legal because you didn't read the EULA, its your fault.

Adam Kolak
Moderator, Hardware Analysis
adam@hardwareanalysis.com
DFI LP P35-T2RS | Xeon Quad @ 3.2Ghz | 4GB DDR2-1000 | 8800GT 512MB | See Profile
Rory Witham Aug 10, 2006, 05:25am EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Calling All HWA'er (urgent)
Thanks for the reply.

They didnt /wouldnt sign a maintenance contract with me but we did have a tort agreement of "You do the work and we'll pay you."

It would help a great deal if you could answer the questions as they really apply, I will set them out here as it saves all the reading.

Questions to answer,
Would you class this new system as a server specification in its hardware?

As the server runs a server service would you class this as a server?

Would you find that this server would be fit for 12 users who are sharing only a database and some documents. (provided by a work group shared drive)?

Would the XP Pro operating system supersede the fact that it has 4 servers running (web, mail, Internal web server, external web server) there is also two SQL servers, but I'll go into that now?

Is software failure on the workstations due to the lack of updates, my fault?
Is this also anything to do with the server installation?

As the client were made aware of the fact that we stated, blackberry would not work on their new server, would I be wrong in saying that I can charge for the support call that were made by the client. (the client already has support from blackberry and issues were with black berry desktop software + systems being out of date)?



Custom Computers: http://www.gtwcmt.co.uk/GT%20PERFORMANCE%20COMPUTERS/index.html
Computer maintenance: http://www.gtwcmt.co.uk/Computer_maintenance/index.html
Computer repairs: http://www.gtwcmt.co.uk/Computer-repairs/index.html
Adam Kolak Aug 10, 2006, 07:46am EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Calling All HWA'er (urgent)
Would you class this new system as a server specification in its hardware?

Basically if it uses an Opteron or a Xeon, and especially dual CPU, it can be classified as server material.

As the server runs a server service would you class this as a server?

Yes

Would you find that this server would be fit for 12 users who are sharing only a database and some documents. (provided by a work group shared drive)?

For 12 users sharing some low KB files, yeah thats probally overkill for what thier use is.

Would the XP Pro operating system supersede the fact that it has 4 servers running (web, mail, Internal web server, external web server) there is also two SQL servers, but I'll go into that now?

Only problem might be, im not sure that XP Pro supports 12 users, it may only support 10, and XP Home only supports 5.

Is software failure on the workstations due to the lack of updates, my fault?
Is this also anything to do with the server installation?

If you said in the deal, you would update it regulary for them, then yes. If that wasn't part of the deal you did for them, then no. The software should have been updated at time of installation, but updates after that they should have dealt with if it wasn't part of your agreement.

As the client were made aware of the fact that we stated, blackberry would not work on their new server, would I be wrong in saying that I can charge for the support call that were made by the client. (the client already has support from blackberry and issues were with black berry desktop software + systems being out of date)?

Do you usually charge for support calls?

Adam Kolak
Moderator, Hardware Analysis
adam@hardwareanalysis.com
DFI LP P35-T2RS | Xeon Quad @ 3.2Ghz | 4GB DDR2-1000 | 8800GT 512MB | See Profile
Rory Witham Aug 10, 2006, 08:01am EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Calling All HWA'er (urgent)
a excellent reply. I hope that others will contribute as well..:)

I have just added the direct information from the invoice that they were given:

"Full installation
Matching up email, domain and web services to server, Transfer of data to server and clients, Configuration of Client systems to server services. Client account setup, Internet connection and firewall configuration, External services to internal services configuration (email and web) Installation of server, Backup of server and its replacement server. Workgroup setup and network sharing, Plus printer share configuration is included.
Full installation into existing networks can take some time. Estimated times are approximate duration, external configurations and the moving of domains and services associated with the Internet can take around 36 hours for an installation to be completed."


Custom Computers: http://www.gtwcmt.co.uk/GT%20PERFORMANCE%20COMPUTERS/index.html
Computer maintenance: http://www.gtwcmt.co.uk/Computer_maintenance/index.html
Computer repairs: http://www.gtwcmt.co.uk/Computer-repairs/index.html
Rory Witham Aug 10, 2006, 08:20am EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Calling All HWA'er (urgent)
I guess I should say what that all means:

Full installation is apossed to just plugging it in.

Matching up email -- setting up their email account with their exsisting user names,
Domain and web services to server-- Setting up MX and A records should they be ready to handle their own email and website server.

Transfer of data to server and clients--- Move off the databases to the new server and the users shared data files which were held on the server,
Configuration of Client systems to server services--- move clients from the old domain to the new work group and resetting email system for the new pop accounts.
Client account setup-- this is the FTP and email accounts and the CRM accounts,
Internet connection and firewall configuration -- set up a gateway so that they can use the internet,
External services to internal services configuration (email and web)--- MX records setting up gateway for port forwarding Pop collection and review status.
Installation of server-- the basic pluggin in of the server and its hardware,
Backup of server and its replacement server--- back uo the configuration changes and the data places on the new server, carry out the standard backup policy which was inplace of their orginal server .
Workgroup setup and network sharing--- Set up who is sharing printers and shared group files and folders both onthe workstations and on the server,
Plus printer share configuration is included.--- just allowing access to shared printers from workstation and network share via the server to the entire network.

Full installation into existing networks can take some time. Estimated times are approximate duration, external configurations and the moving of domains and services associated with the Internet can take around 36 hours for an installation to be completed.--- When they wish to move to full time management of their email and website where by switching the host and IP to the server.

All this was carried out, as they didnt pay, the domains were not moved to the new server as this was plannned for future visits.


Custom Computers: http://www.gtwcmt.co.uk/GT%20PERFORMANCE%20COMPUTERS/index.html
Computer maintenance: http://www.gtwcmt.co.uk/Computer_maintenance/index.html
Computer repairs: http://www.gtwcmt.co.uk/Computer-repairs/index.html
Dublin_Gunner Aug 10, 2006, 08:41am EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Calling All HWA'er (urgent)
Questions to answer,
Would you class this new system as a server specification in its hardware?
Yes servers dont have to have any specific specs, its the function it performs that classes it as a server

As the server runs a server service would you class this as a server? read above

Would you find that this server would be fit for 12 users who are sharing only a database and some documents. (provided by a work group shared drive)? reply as per Water Drop, but AFAIK it should. BTW Win XP pro is not based on Server 2003, XP Pro x64 is, however. AFAIK

Would the XP Pro operating system supersede the fact that it has 4 servers running (web, mail, Internal web server, external web server) there is also two SQL servers, but I'll go into that now?not quite sure what you mean here, but if you're asking if its adequate for that prupose, then yes it is

Is software failure on the workstations due to the lack of updates, my fault?no, no contract, no obligation
Is this also anything to do with the server installation?no. you installed the server, therefore the contract entered into ( the proposed work for x fee) was complete



As the client were made aware of the fact that we stated, blackberry would not work on their new server, would I be wrong in saying that I can charge for the support call that were made by the client. (the client already has support from blackberry and issues were with black berry desktop software + systems being out of date)? once again, they have no maintenece contract with you, so treat them as anyone else calling for support. So yes, charge them for the call.

You should immediately employ a solicitor to issue an initial letter outining your intent to sue for breach of contractt.(failing to pay when the agreed work has been carried out)

Lancool PC K62
Phenom II x3 @ 3.5Ghz
4GB DDR2-800
ASUS GTX570 DirectCU II
Rory Witham Aug 10, 2006, 10:39am EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Calling All HWA'er (urgent)


Custom Computers: http://www.gtwcmt.co.uk/GT%20PERFORMANCE%20COMPUTERS/index.html
Computer maintenance: http://www.gtwcmt.co.uk/Computer_maintenance/index.html
Computer repairs: http://www.gtwcmt.co.uk/Computer-repairs/index.html
Dublin_Gunner Aug 10, 2006, 11:27am EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Calling All HWA'er (urgent)
yes, its clearly listed in the services in XP pro.

I personally cant see any reason why XP Pro cannot / should not be used as a server.

In my office here (quite a large multi national Insurance company) I have 2 servers based on Win 2k, on which XP Pro is based. 1 server is a simple file server, the other runs our DHCP server & Lotus Domino server.

So I think you have your answer right there. Yes, the server is more than fit for the purpose for which it was sold / built.

As I stated earlier, its software / application that distinguishes a server, not hardware.

If they failed to keep a system up to date (as there was no obligation on you to do so without the necessary maintenence contract in place), and let the machine fall into the state that it is now in, its no-ones fault but their own.

I cannot believe they're even attempting a Sale of Goods & Supply of Services Act claim to defend their own actions (or lack thereof)




Lancool PC K62
Phenom II x3 @ 3.5Ghz
4GB DDR2-800
ASUS GTX570 DirectCU II
Ian Yeoh Aug 10, 2006, 02:37pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Calling All HWA'er (urgent)
I am 100% with what Dublin Gunner has so eloquently stated.

A machine is defined as a server through its functional usage. I have machines powerful enough to be a server, but they are not servers because they are not used for that functionality. At the same time, any business machine that is adequately speced may be used as a server. Certainly the machine that you listed is more than adequate for the job specified.

Win XP Pro is not a Server OS and may be missing some critical functional elements, so I would recommend the use of either WinXP 64 bit or Windows Server 2003.

Rory Witham Aug 10, 2006, 02:55pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Calling All HWA'er (urgent)
(EDIT TO ANSWER ABOVE)
Yes I agree, I have added the server side software, SQL, WEB and MAIL servers, I could not have given active directories as this is only available on server software. For the limited use they required, it was not nessasary for server software, Esp when I told them how much it would cost. I did however offer to run a virtual server if they required it.
(END EDIT)



To be honest, I use the same setup to run my servers, I had had no issues whats so ever.

Its funny that they say its not fit yet they still are using it.

One thing that they say they wont pay for is this:
User complains that the server will not send his mail.
Rings me and I log in to see if there is a issue.
Issue was and reported back to the user : NO SUBJECT in the subject box.

When I told them this was a RFC compliant server, and maybe some training was required. I got this reply ( not exact words)
I can use my ISP's mail at home and I don't get problems like this, how dare I tell them they need training.

See what I have had to put up with! I even offered training but they didn't take it.

I ma waiting for a reply from their Lawyer, I sent him a email but he has issues with replying to them and has to write a letter to me so the turn around is quite long winded.

I told him to request the invoice details from them - and refereed to the above quote.
I also attached there list of issues that was the only thing given by the company to me, NONE of which are sever installation related.

here is a list:
Problem with email, it appeared then disappeared - I suspect it was a virus.
Data base was not adding up correctly - They have reported these type of errors before and we found no such error.
only receiving 2 emails a week, no one replies to the emails which were sent.
Cannot find files ( hadn't looked for them) anti virus warning ( they didn't have any installed warned MD on this) Databases slow to open ( systems overloaded require RAM upgrades)
Computer wont turn off, AVS warning
Slow response form email server ( I had been running AVS) anti virus warning
AVS warning again, slow response for send and receive ( server will stop repeated requests/repeat clickers)
AVS again, computer not password protected, powerpoint not installed.
Password expires warning ( user logging into wrong account)
File may not be shared correctly( mean that they want to share them) Question to weather the backup software was working.
AVS Again, Back up software warning on shutdown. blackberry software wont work.
There is a note saying intermittent email.

The email issues were for users constantly pressing send and receive thinking that they get a email every five minutes or less, thus clogging up the network. The time out was changed when the anti virus software was on as this was slowing the connection, I put it on as I had found viruses in there emails.

Oddly enough, When I was on site, Non one could copy these issues in front of me. I check the systems and couldn't find a error and signed the lot off, I only had to add email account to two users.
AVS mean Anti Virus Software, I had removed there old stuff as it didn't work, they approved and I installed temporary Avast on there systems. I told them how much and where to get it. did they? NO.


Custom Computers: http://www.gtwcmt.co.uk/GT%20PERFORMANCE%20COMPUTERS/index.html
Computer maintenance: http://www.gtwcmt.co.uk/Computer_maintenance/index.html
Computer repairs: http://www.gtwcmt.co.uk/Computer-repairs/index.html
Dublin_Gunner Aug 10, 2006, 03:14pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Calling All HWA'er (urgent)
Rory, fact remains, these guys owe you the money for the technical services you have provided to them. It really seems that simple from what you've explained thus far.

The fact that they have an e-mail server that they have no idea how to administrate should not be of your concern, you even offered them training.

How about you give them the option of setting up company e-mail addresses via their ISP?? Strange e-mail problems should be abruptly ended, even if it does compromise security a little, which I think at thios stage wouldnt pose much of a problem!!

They neither have the knowhow nor the willingness to efficiently run a network, and have proved themselves increasingly ignorant and downright lazy, for this, I really do not see how you could be to blame.

I suspect the delay in their solicitor reverting to you may have something to do with trying to substantiate a case.


Lancool PC K62
Phenom II x3 @ 3.5Ghz
4GB DDR2-800
ASUS GTX570 DirectCU II
Rory Witham Aug 10, 2006, 03:35pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Calling All HWA'er (urgent)


Custom Computers: http://www.gtwcmt.co.uk/GT%20PERFORMANCE%20COMPUTERS/index.html
Computer maintenance: http://www.gtwcmt.co.uk/Computer_maintenance/index.html
Computer repairs: http://www.gtwcmt.co.uk/Computer-repairs/index.html
Chris McNally Aug 10, 2006, 06:00pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Calling All HWA'er (urgent)
Well, I think you've highlighted your own problem there mate. I'm in agreement with DG, Ian et all regarding the questions you have asked, but the question is, can you afford to pursue the costs through legal means? Sounds like either they're trying to screw you or they don't understand the issues-stating that the kit you have installed is not a server seems very naive to me, since (as has been stated previously) a server is designated a server due to it's function, rather than it's form.

In your shoes, I'd be inclined to request a meeting with them, at which you could state that either they pay monies owed immediately (or according to your T's & C's, as the case may be), or you will re-possess your equipment forthwith. Since this would presumably result in a greatly reduced operational ability for the business, they might be tempted to pay up rather than risk losing business through lack of IT capability.

Regards,

Chris McNally

Moderator - Hardware Analysis
E-mail: chris@hardwareanalysis.com
Rory Witham Aug 10, 2006, 06:49pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Calling All HWA'er (urgent)


Custom Computers: http://www.gtwcmt.co.uk/GT%20PERFORMANCE%20COMPUTERS/index.html
Computer maintenance: http://www.gtwcmt.co.uk/Computer_maintenance/index.html
Computer repairs: http://www.gtwcmt.co.uk/Computer-repairs/index.html
Dublin_Gunner Aug 10, 2006, 08:42pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Calling All HWA'er (urgent)

Lancool PC K62
Phenom II x3 @ 3.5Ghz
4GB DDR2-800
ASUS GTX570 DirectCU II
Rory Witham Aug 11, 2006, 01:13pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Calling All HWA'er (urgent)


Custom Computers: http://www.gtwcmt.co.uk/GT%20PERFORMANCE%20COMPUTERS/index.html
Computer maintenance: http://www.gtwcmt.co.uk/Computer_maintenance/index.html
Computer repairs: http://www.gtwcmt.co.uk/Computer-repairs/index.html
Rory Witham Oct 09, 2006, 09:56am EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Calling All HWA'er (urgent)


Custom Computers: http://www.gtwcmt.co.uk/GT%20PERFORMANCE%20COMPUTERS/index.html
Computer maintenance: http://www.gtwcmt.co.uk/Computer_maintenance/index.html
Computer repairs: http://www.gtwcmt.co.uk/Computer-repairs/index.html
Dublin_Gunner Oct 09, 2006, 10:26am EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Calling All HWA'er (urgent)
So have proceedings been issued?

If they're basing their case on un-disclosed information, your solicitor should now be applying for a Motion for Discovery or whatever similar proceedure you have in the UK for disclosing admisable documents in a court case.

Lancool PC K62
Phenom II x3 @ 3.5Ghz
4GB DDR2-800
ASUS GTX570 DirectCU II
Rory Witham Oct 09, 2006, 03:24pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Calling All HWA'er (urgent)


Custom Computers: http://www.gtwcmt.co.uk/GT%20PERFORMANCE%20COMPUTERS/index.html
Computer maintenance: http://www.gtwcmt.co.uk/Computer_maintenance/index.html
Computer repairs: http://www.gtwcmt.co.uk/Computer-repairs/index.html

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