By Craig Bartholomew, Vice President, Shared Hosting, Parallels
Thanks for the great feedback on Part 1 of Parallels Plesk Reality vs. Myths. Customers told us that they’ve seen similar comments in various forums, and are glad that we are correcting the record for everyone’s benefit. If you missed the first part, you can find it here. Please help us to spread the word.
Today, in Part 2, we look at more myths about Plesk Testing, Updating Plesk, Plesk 8.x and 9.x UI, Parallels Support, Reporting Bugs and Parallels Forums … and setting the record straight on those. So let’s get busy and bust some myths!
Myth #6: Parallels does not test its software, and Plesk 10 is an example of that.
Reality: Not true. The Plesk team runs 1000’s of automated tests on Plesk, and we release 4 or 5 weekly pre-release Testing versions to Partners leading up to our Release. Admittedly, we support many OS’s: CentOS, RHEL, Windows, Ubuntu, Debian, openSUSE, and CloudLinux, which makes our test matrix quite large (with multiple versions of those OS’s, it is a very, very large test matrix). Regardless of the challenges of so many OS’s, finding and fixing bugs that might put your environment at risk is a critical part of our software development process. To be more and more successful at this, we always benefit from your help to extend our automated testing to real-world environments. We have a pre-release program where Partners and Customers work with us to insure adequate testing in their own environments – with very little time is required from Partners and Customers to participate. To participate, please go to http://www.parallels.com/tap. This program is designed to frontload real world environment testing earlier and earlier in our product development cycles, and we hope you’ll consider participating.
Myth #7: Updates break Plesk, so it is better to stay on old Plesk 8.x and 9.x.
Reality: Even before you run an update, the new Pre-Upgrade Checker in our AutoInstaller runs to check your environment to insure that Plesk 10.4 will install cleanly. Because the AutoInstaller self-upgrades, you always have the latest. Then, we introduced a Bootstrapper to do the Database upgrade first, to insure that there are no integrity or corruption issues before continuing the upgrade. We take a Failsafe approach that is tolerant of misconfigured hostnames and, if an upgrade fails, you can launch “bootstrapper.sh repair“ to fix the problem and continue. So there is no RPM mess (RPM upgrade is not started until upgrade reconfiguration is complete), no ruined DB, and it is very easy to repair integration. Plesk 10.4 also manages 3rd party components better with updates of Apache, PHP, and MySQL for CentOS and support for 3rd Party repositories on Linux. So, the reality is different from the myth – though we will continue to work hard to be better and better here.
Myth #8: It was easier to do things in Plesk 8.x and 9.x.
Reality: Plesk 8.x and 9.x trained some users and providers to want a single Panel – not separate Admin and customer Control Panel views like other control panels. Plesk 10.4 has an optional “unified” Admin Panel that embeds the customer Control Panel. This will be the default now for any upgrades from 8.x and 9.x. It is also easily selectable in the View Selector in Plesk 10.4.
Myth #9: Plesk does not stay up to date – or it is hard to stay up to date on Plesk.
Reality: Every week, we ship MicroUpdates for Plesk 10 to keep our latest Plesk version current. They install easily with no service disruption as a preventive measure against any future instabilities or security risks. Also, for the first time in Plesk 10.4, the Provider can pre-set the Release Tiers that are offered to customers, and which one your customers can automatically upgrade to (Stable is the default, but it is a settable option). Manual upgrades (with a notification of upgrade availability) can also be configured for a selected tier (“Release” will be the default).
Myth #10: Parallels Support is not good.
Reality: Parallels Support has undergone a dramatic overhaul in the past 18-24 months, but we are constantly listening for input and striving to do better. So far, we have hired experienced Support leaders and invested in training, constant measurement of customer satisfaction metrics, and better diagnostics in our products. We have also put energy into improving our Knowledge Base, and are working on self-help tools that will match server signatures to known solutions in our Knowledge Base (KB) – so you can keep your mission critical servers up and running, and overcome problems quickly. The current release of this self-support Spider tool can be downloaded at http://kb.parallels.com/en/8665. Also, if you are a Plesk expert or want to be one, you can pass Certification training and file tickets with our second level directly. An overview is at http://www.parallels.com/trainingandcertification/certification/ and the Plesk certification can be found at http://www.parallels.com/trainingandcertification/onlinecatalog/pppsuite/admin/. Some other things to understand about Parallels Support are: (1) your Plesk license comes with free transfer, upgrade, and migration assistance and (2) Issues escalated by Support to the Development team are fixed rapidly – much, much faster than two years ago, and (3) tickets are constantly triaged by Development to have the most common issues addressed for everyone in Plesk’s weekly Micro-Updates. We can always do better, of course, but we are taking improvement here very, very seriously.
I was going to stop at 5 myths today, but since we’re talking about support, I’m on a roll! Here’s what else people should know about our support …
Myth #11: To even report a bug, I have to go through Support and maybe get charged.
Reality: You can report bugs to Parallels overall at email@example.com or directly to the following teams:
- PleskBug@parallels.com – to the Plesk team
- SiteBug@parallels.com – to the Web Presence Builder team
- CBMBug@parallels.com – to the Customers and Business Manger team (former Plesk Billing or ModernBill)
If you contact our Support Team and the issue you are having turns out to be a bug that is not already documented in our searchable Knowledge Base, just ask for a refund or credit on your Support ticket. Parallels does not automatically credit for this today because (a) the infrastructure isn’t built to do so automatically, and (b) many of these reported issues are already documented in our Knowledge Base (KB).
Myth #12: Parallels Forums for Plesk are useless. Nobody ever responds and your posting takes a long time to show up.
Reality: Yes, in the past, this was true. Plesk Forums had long delays in posting and they were not actively managed and monitored. Now, the Plesk family of Forums (Plesk, Web Presence Builder, and Customer and Business Manager) are monitored closely. Many issues reported on the Forum are fixed in weekly MicroUpdates. We will be updating our Forum tool soon to make forums more useful to you.
OK, that’s enough myth busting for today. There’s more where these came from, so check Parallels Service Provider Blog next week for more (or better yet, subscribe to it). And in the meantime, if you’re browsing technical forums and you see a Plesk myth, bust a Plesk myth. Check out our website at http://www.parallels.com/products/plesk/ and spread the word.
All the best,
VP, Shared Hosting, Panels