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Solving Issues Quickly using VMware’s Trending Issue Articles

Being a System Administrator makes you very busy person. Multiple issues arise each day, and even several problems at the same time. Resolving each issue in a timely fashion, and then going about your day, is what being a successful System Administrator is about. Trust me we’ve all been there; having a pager strapped to your side, and being buzzed every time anything goes wrong. This can be especially frustrating if you are at home eating dinner with the family. Obviously, it is in your best interest and the company’s to get the issue resolved quickly.

We have thousands of articles in our Knowledge Base, but how do you find the problem you are encountering quickly? That’s the idea behind a concept the Knowledge Management team has come up with, Trending Issue articles. With these articles, we’ve already found the information you need now so you don’t have to waste time looking for it. We’ve created a batch of new articles for various products. Essentially, they’re one-stop shops for known problems with our most popular products and for issues that might be emerging. In addition, each article provides links to articles about the common problems most customers encounter, and basic troubleshooting steps for how to resolve them.

These articles are easily identified by the title. All these articles have Trending Issues at the beginning of the title, followed by a description of the general issue and product you may be having a problem with. These articles are easily searchable from the http://kb.vmware.com site, and are also available from our My VMware support pages. If you are running into an issue and not sure exactly what the problem is, or if you need help troubleshooting a common problem, be sure to look at these. It could save you minutes if not hours of time searching for a KB!

How do we do it?

The way we determine what is trending is by analyzing our incoming Support Requests. This is what we do to determine if a KB is worth including as a trending issue:

  1. Is the article linked often? How many times is it used?
  2. How recently has it been used?
  3. What is the success rate of the article? is actually resolving the issue?
  4. Is the feedback from our customers good?
  5. What is the feedback from our Technical Support Engineers?

We determine some of these things by running in-depth reports on our incoming volume. Typically, we analyze at least 60 days of data and see what issues customers are running into. What do the Technical Support Engineers have to do to fix the issue, and what KB articles are they using? Are the customers happy with the results, and are other customers running into the same issue? All this is calculated before an article ends up in a Trending Issue article.

Here are some examples of the trending issues for our line of products:

•    Trending Issues: Installation problems with ESX/ESXi (2045134)
•    Trending Issues: Fault/Crash problems with Fusion (2046942)
•    Trending Issues: Networking problems with ESXi/vCenter Server (2045582)

To see the rest of these articles, search for “trending issues” (with the quotes).

Hopefully this provides some insight for you, and will help you quickly resolve your next technical issue.  Our next blog will delve deeper into the science about how we determine what articles we pick for the My VMware Get Support portal.  It’s not as simple as randomly choosing an article.  Look forward to that next week!