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Old 19th June 2012, 9:17 PM   #1
oh_noes Thread Starter
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Default What's your on-call process and what do you like about it?

As a sysadmin/engineer, how does your current employer do on-call, and what do you like the most about the processes in place? Is there any part of your on-call process that you particular like the most especially in comparison to your past employers?

Is there something that is so flawed and you hate so much that you can't help but mention it here?

Additional to this, what on-call support tools do yo have at your arsenal? Who's still passing around a bulky laptop and a team blackberry? What's the 2012 version of this?

I think it would be really interesting to here some feedback on how others do it.
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Old 19th June 2012, 9:27 PM   #2
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I guess this thread hasn't been visited since 2010 I suppose!

We're a small business (10-15 staff) and the boss still has the phones almost all year around except for when he goes on holidays or other reasons when he doesn't want them!

This is a snippet from our internal policies:

* If you are on call between 5.30pm Sunday and 5.30pm Friday, you are paid $75 per night.
* If you are on call From 5.30pm on Friday to 5.30pm on Saturday and/or from 5.30pm on Saturday to 5.30pm Sunday, you are compensated $150 for the full day and night.

We CHARGE our customers higher rates if they proceed with going to our after hours service. This drastically reduces the amount of calls we receive.

It will obviously be a different scenario if you're the main sysadmin for a company...
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Old 19th June 2012, 9:32 PM   #3
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Great rostering and enough guys right through the line (from helpdesk right up the chain) to cover when the guy/guys need the sleep-in after a long night. Good sharing of knowledge before/after any planned changes so no one is left in the dark come cutover day.

My laptop + IM client + webex + home VPN connection is all I need.
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Old 19th June 2012, 9:48 PM   #4
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3 staff taking care of nearly 1k users, on-call 24/7 and they make sure to use it...

Don't get paid shit for it.... although i suppose the pay is reasonably good. We rotate the on-call phone once a week between the 3 of us, but generally it's only 2 of us that does any of the work as the other guy is useless and we can't rely on him for anything.

Get calls at 3am fairly often, when the power gets cut off and i have to come in to do a systems check on our equipment after the generator kicks in...

SO pissed off during those nights...
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Old 19th June 2012, 10:10 PM   #5
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This has just been raised in our organisation. There are only two full time IT staff but there is the potential for the expectation of "official" on-call arrangements to be put in place, rather than a if you call after hours someone may/may not be available.

We operate some of the non national public holidays so need to cover those; We do where possible but have issues of people expecting someone to be sitting by your phone from 8-6 which can make life a bit tedious.

Will be interesting to see what pans out as a on-call roster between two guys will be tough.
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Old 19th June 2012, 10:49 PM   #6
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I'm the sysadmin for a company with about 100 staff, I don't work weekends but the nature of our business means someone needs to remote in and check a few things every day including public holidays and weekends.

There's no on-call process. They just call me on my personal phone. If I happen to be 100km away with no laptop they crack the shits, even though I'm not on call.

I got woken up at 7am last christmas eve when I was a week into 3 weeks worth of leave over christmas. Had a word to the boss after this and still no process has been in place but I believe the offending staff member got asked politely not to call when I'm on leave.

Oh well, job interview on friday (with a different company), here's hoping
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Old 20th June 2012, 6:20 AM   #7
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We pass around a support iphone rotated weekly. There is a laptop, but it's so old and crap that no one bothers to take it, we need to be reasonably close to work or home where we can VPN or be onsite within 20-30 minutes of a call. We get paid a little extra for being on call, it's not heaps but it's enough considering it hardly ever rings. It works out to around $200 a week extra. So far we have 3 people in our team it rotates around, so I'm on call once every 3 weeks. Soon we will have a 4th and maybe a 5th guy to share the love with.

Last edited by Diode; 20th June 2012 at 6:22 AM.
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Old 20th June 2012, 10:49 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diode View Post
We pass around a support iphone rotated weekly. There is a laptop, but it's so old and crap that no one bothers to take it, we need to be reasonably close to work or home where we can VPN or be onsite within 20-30 minutes of a call. We get paid a little extra for being on call, it's not heaps but it's enough considering it hardly ever rings. It works out to around $200 a week extra. So far we have 3 people in our team it rotates around, so I'm on call once every 3 weeks. Soon we will have a 4th and maybe a 5th guy to share the love with.
That sounds like a pretty good system, minus the crap laptop. Most of the time people just call me whenever they feel
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Old 20th June 2012, 2:39 PM   #9
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Sysadmin for a large company. On Call in a rotating roster 1 week (between 7 people). We each have our own i7 laptops with SSD, VPN, plus iPhones with VPN etc. We get paid a flat rate for the week which is pretty good, then if we do get called its time and a half for time spent. We don't have any dramas with how it works, and we utilize SCOM, BMC and Director for monitoring.
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Old 20th June 2012, 7:37 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kenks View Post
Sysadmin for a large company. On Call in a rotating roster 1 week (between 7 people). We each have our own i7 laptops with SSD, VPN, plus iPhones with VPN etc. We get paid a flat rate for the week which is pretty good, then if we do get called its time and a half for time spent. We don't have any dramas with how it works, and we utilize SCOM, BMC and Director for monitoring.
Now this sounds like best so far.
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Old 20th June 2012, 10:06 PM   #11
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I work as a network engineer for a large national (with some international) retailer. There are a few hundred stores and 10000+ users. With an organisation this size there is a helpdesk who field all the calls.

We have a team of 4 with 3 of us passing the on call duties each week. Calls are filtered by the helpdesk before getting to us, and we only get calls (in theory) when something is broken.

Pay is 12 hours just for the pain of carrying the phone and laptop around. If you get a call its 2 hours as soon as you pick up. The pay is pretty good, but nobody really likes the pain of potentially interrupting your night/weekend.
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Old 20th June 2012, 10:32 PM   #12
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Previously, I spent the last 11 years on call. Pretty much 24x7 either directly, or indirectly as an "expert" in some system or another. It sucked, no matter what the configuration, number of backup engineers, or extra pay. Obviously solo is worse, but there was never a "good" setup.

As of two weeks ago I started an R&D role with no on call. Sleeping with your phone off is the best feeling ever.
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Old 20th June 2012, 10:35 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elvis View Post
As of two weeks ago I started an R&D role with no on call. Sleeping with your phone off is the best feeling ever.
I've had the last 6 months with no on call - it's awesome knowing you won't get a call in the night --- even with the phone still on!

That's about to change though, but my new on-call rotation is going to be pretty well organised so not really fussed about it.
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Old 20th June 2012, 10:39 PM   #14
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Ours is weekly rotation, wednesday to wednesday. Support is 24/7, but chargable to the customer outside of the normal 7:30am-5:30pm window. Pay is decent, but we are really lacking any kind of filtering between the customers and on-call engineers.

Out of the 10 or so phonecalls received every night, 9 of which become non-urgent after the customer is advised they will be charged for the time....

Until we have some kind of "Press 1 to indicate you agree to the charges" option before the mobile rings, it is a massive pain in the ass. Supporting of hotels means the majority of after hours calls come through between 1:30-3:30am.

We are still carrying around the team blackberry and bulky laptop....
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Old 21st June 2012, 9:17 PM   #15
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Hi all,

Do any of you have any self service support solution in place? Also, I've not noticed any comments about educating the end user to avoid the call in the first place. I would think that the remuneration and conditions and feeling around the worth of that reward would also be affected by the business focus on reducing the calls as well?
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