SUMMARY: Sun support through Grumman

From: Mike Demarco <>
Date: Wed Nov 06 2002 - 10:04:23 EST
Question posed was:
	We are looking at using Northrop Grumman for our Sun Hardware and
software support. Looking
for any feed back on good and bad experiences with them.

Received many answers about 50/50 good to bad. Seems that it all depends on
where you are and
who you get. (Familiar story!)

Thanks for your response to:
David Harrington
John Marinez
Angel Rivera
Grant Miller
Frank Smith
Matt Harris
Bill Voight
Martha Crocker
Prasad Dharmasena

The response follow:
I had used them in my old position. I was happy with their service and
I've been impressed with their aircraft since WW2.

We've been using them for over 4 years.

while it generally depends on who you get, we have been very happy with our

They do pretty well with replacing broken hardware, our guy has a small
of spare power supplies, disk, cpu, memory on-site.  We usually have a 1-day
turnaround on other spare parts which is okay for us, we can usually find a 
spare workstation to put in place temporarily until the broken one is fixed.
If we have a hardware related question (can we put a XYZ SCSI disk into this
old Sparc 20?), they can find out for you pretty quick.  I haven't really
used them too much for software support, so I can't speak to that.  If they
can't figure out the software question, they will contact Sun and ask them.
Hmm, bad experiences.  We used to have a guy on-site from Grumman that was
kinda flaky, didn't really follow instructions well.  We've had two other
guys here and they're both pretty good, technically and good at interacting
with the customer.
It's kinda the same story with their management too.  There's some good ones
and bad ones.
Overall, I've been happy with them.

We used them for Sun support on some of our servers for a year.   Even
we were supposed to have 2-hour on-site support, we were usually lucky just
get a call back in two hours.  They had no spares, so even a bad disk was
an overnight downtime waiting for parts.  The service people didn't have
to service manuals and often we had to use our SunSolve account to look
up for them, and most had little or no experience or training.
   The people were nice enough to deal with, and I expect things would be a
better in an area where they had more customers (and staff), but I think
they sold us something that they couldn't deliver.  We still use them for HW
support on our Sun clones, but those are all used for non-critical functions
where downtime can be tolerated.

I've had some bad experiences with these guys.  It seems they hire any
schmuck with a degree, which means they have a few good people who just
happen to have a lot of experience, and a lot of morons who have
little/no experience.  I'd definitly recommend getting Sun support for
your Sun stuff - they've always been top-notch for me on the support
side, and the companies they contract out to for on-site support have
never done me wrong either.  For complicated stuff, you'll deal with a
real Sun tech, and for hardware replacements and stuff, they use local
contractors.  I'd say Sun offers the best support I've ever used.  As
far as NG, I had them for my HPUX stuff for a long time (before I
finally got rid of all my HPUX stuff), and they kept switching tier-1
providers because all of them were awful.  And getting to tier-2 (who
1/15th of the time might have a clue about something) was always a pain
in the neck.  Some of their consulting guys are good, but their support
services just bite.  
Sun is also not that expensive anymore for support, especially when you
buy it with the hardware through a good reseller (it always ends up
coming down to who your reseller is and how much they like you as far as

A few years ago, I used Grumman for hardware support.  Had the same tech all
the time, they were very responsive and the tech was skilled.

We are using Northrup Grumman here in San Antonio, Texas for our Sun and 
HP hardware support.  If you're anywhere but here, I'd 
imagine your service will be better as we are not a technical hub of 
anything.  However, what I can tell you about the support we get
is that it is cheaper than Sun or HP and they cover the out of date 
hardware that Sun doesn't want to cover.  We have quite a few old
Sparc 10, 20 and 5 machines that are still in service and which Sun wants 
to EOSL and not cover under maintenance anymore.
As for technical service and expertise, well, I'd rather have Sun. Grumman 
is able to fix things, but many times it is trial and error
and the service is not all that fast.  Sometimes, they're right on the 
money, others it can take a week to get something fixed.  We 
used to carry more 24x7 support than we do now with 4 hour response. We've 
pared that down quite a bit now, but when we had
it, one of my gripes with it was that we had 4 hour response.  With 
companies like Auspex, that meant that someone or a part would
be at my door within 4 hours.  With Grumman, that seems to mean that 
someone will contact us within 4 hours.  Not quite the same.
They have been responsive when we've raised concerns and they do train 
their technicians, but the level of expertise is not the
same as getting support from the source - in my opinion. 
The guy who handles the contract with them would also tell you that you 
have to really watch pricing and billing to make sure that
they are quoting what you think they are and that their pricing is 
correct.  He discovered several discrepancies between coverage
and quotes for identical machines which made him delve into the contract 
further and find more discrepancies.  He now watches
that like a hawk.  It takes more of his time than he would prefer. 
I don't want to say don't use them.  I would imagine that in different 
markets - and more competitive markets, your experience
would be different.  Best might be to ask them for a list of references in 
your market area.  We're rather isolated here and
don't really have all that many choices of local companies to do business 
Hope that helps.  Please summarize as I would be interested to see if 
experiences with them are different in different 

I run a web site that specializes in Sun hardware support
and I also have experience with Northrop Grumman IT.
I recommend NGIT for hardware maintenance because they are
responsive, they have very competitive prices and the company
has over 11,000 employees.
You call an 800 number to place a service call and you get a
a log number.  A local technician calls you shortly after that.
They don't always have the parts in stock but they usually get 
them the next day.
Please visit this Sun hardware web site for additional information:
I do not have experience with software support from NGIT.
I would recomment getting the software support from Sun and 
the hardware support from NGIT.  Hardware is different, when 
you call Sunservice you get a third party field technician 
anyway, not a Sun engineer.

We are happy with their services.  Almost always we get parts replaced
 the next day.  The prices seems to be rather high though.
sunmanagers mailing list
Received on Wed Nov 6 10:06:58 2002

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