How a Technical Support Report (TSR) helps solve your UTM problems

Version 1

    When issues arise with the UTM product, it is often difficult and laborious to write down exactly what is happening.

    Without a lot of detail though its hard to reproduce and diagnose what is going on.

    What version is the firmware, how many network ports, tunnels, routes, firewall rules, subsystems-enabled, etc. etc.

     

    Its just too hard. So we have created a short-cut. The Technical Support Repor (TSR).

     

    A TSR contains most of your current system state. Which connections were active, which bits of the system were using what cpu/memory/comms-bandwidth, the entire config, logs and much more - all rolled into one convenient text file that you can mail to whoever you desire to give you a hand. There is of course security-sensitive data in a Technical Support Report. We scrub keys, passwords and secrets before generating a TSR, but you certainly will be communicating a lot about your network setup, any ip-addresses (internal/external) currently active and so forth. Which is why you typically would not publish a TSR of a production UTM Firewall on a forum such as the UTM Firewall Community - but sending it to McAfee techncail support is quite safe.

     

    "I have had a look at a TSR, that all looks like gibberish - how can anybody understand that?" - well, there are some engineers that can just read it. Its a bit like the Matrix - after a while those strange symbols just start to make sense... ahem...  However for mere mortals we have constructed a nifty in-house emulator that takes a TSR and turns it back into what looks and feels like a real UTM Firewall web-admin UI. In effect the SupportEmulator lets others look at your web-admin UI as it would have looked when you took the TSR. With graphs, status, logs - pretty much everything - exactly where you would normally find it. Clearly this is enourmously helpful when Support staff want to talk through your configuration with you and also for 2nd tier and 3rd tier to dig deeper. Engineering lives on TSR's, and in general won't talk to anybody who has not submitted one - it just gets so many simple questions out of the way in one fell swoop, its not worth thinking about a potential problem without a TSR.

     

    Generating a TSR is really easy. Go to the UTM Web-UI, click on Help&Support and follow the links to look at or download a TSR from the device to your PC.

     

    "Is one TSR enough" - yes, sometimes it is, but it often really helps to have before/during/after snapshots. Its pretty easy to generate one, and while plenty of people have been berated over not supplying any or enough TSRs, there has yet to be a case of having an over-abundance of them. So, 'just do it'.