Typically, a problem with a license server shouldn't result in local product-registration information being lost, Spoor said in one post. But for some reason, the registration information was lost "for a number of units," she added. Spoor recommended a manual work-around for affected customers while SonicWall worked to fix the technical snafu.
The glitch sparked outrage among some SonicWall customers who vented their frustrations on the user forum, which can be accessed from the company's main support page but requires registration.
"I'll say it to whoever I need to say it to. This is unacceptable," wrote a customer using the handle rhouseholder. "We are a 100 million dollar 'technology' defense contractor with serious security considerations, and I can't just have SPAM and VIRUSES pouring into my network for half a day because your license server went down."
One forum poster, who works at an educational institution that has nearly 30,000 students and is hit by more than 2 million spam messages daily, fumed at the fact that the manual work-around recommended by SonicWall didn't work for the school.
That user also complained that e-mails and phone calls to SonicWall's tech support department had gone unreturned for hours. "There comes a time when you need to stop waiting for tech support to call you back and just call your own internal legal department," the user wrote.
Another customer said several schools that rely on SonicWall products for content filtering had decided to disconnect their Internet access until the license server problem was resolved.
"Say goodbye to one customer ? I will not be renewing," wrote another user who was identified as pcicanada on the forum. In that post, pcicanada added that although the problem eventually was resolved, the entire episode was completely inexcusable.
"What exactly is it," pcicanada wrote, "that I am paying for? My systems spent most of the day completely exposed because the wizards at Sonicwall have no mechanisms in place for dealing with something like this!"
Other users also lamented about the apparent lack of a backup plan at SonicWall for handling the crisis, and blasted the company for leaving them exposed to e-mail threats for a prolonged period of time because of a license server glitch. Some demanded a prompt and complete explanation of what had happened so they could tell their managers why their companies had been left completely open to e-mail security threats.
One user, who said his SonicWall system had been down for more than eight hours, called the situation "ridiculous" in a forum post. "I had no idea they were running real-time licensing, but since they were, they should have some redundancy," the user wrote. "This is BS. I'm livid."
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