Last week we talked about how My VMware had turned one (year old), and the changes that have come about since its inception. Today, we present a list of Knowledgebase articles that have been published to explain new features. Chances are good you’ve been looking for one or more of these features.
In the past, administrators wishing to determine whether their specific hosts, guest operating systems, storage arrays, or other hardware were on the official VMware Compatibility Guide / HCL had to continually return to our page to see if VMware had added support or added any updates.
The new and improved VMware Compatibility Guide makes it easier to get updates about specific hardware by providing RSS feed subscriptions. To subscribe to updates about an item:
Search for the item you’re interested in.
From the search results, click the model name.
In the Model Detail seciton of the page, at the bottom-right corner, click the rss feed link.
You’ll be prompted for a way to subscribe to the feed, based on your browser and configuration. Updates will be sent via RSS when the page for this model is updated.
Fresh out of development today VMware has a new tool to help everyone with the implementation of custom certificates. The vCenter Certificate Automation Tool 1.0, will help customers update certificates needed for running vCenter Server and supporting components. This is primarily of interest to customers who use custom certificates either generated internally from Corporate CAs, or from public CA’s like VeriSign.
To add a little background information various components within vSphere and the vCenter platform use certificates for identifying themselves as well as for secure communication with external software entities (browsers, API clients). These can broadly be classified into the following categories:
Secure token Service Certificate – Certificate used by vCenter Single Sign On (SSO) for encryption tokens
Solution User Certificates – Certificates used by each solution to identify themselves as users to SSO
SSL Certificates – certificates needed for SSL communication for the UI and API layer
Host Certificates – These certificates are deployed in each ESXi host and used for secure vCenter to ESXi communication.
Note: The new certificate tool automates the updating of certificates in the management layer only (a, b, c above). This tool does NOT handle replacement of certificates in ESXi hosts.
The vCenter Certificate Automation Tool aims to automate the process of uploading certificates and restarting the following components within the vCenter Platform:
Starting April 22, 2013, VMware Training is offering a VMware vSphere Troubleshooting 5-day workshop based on VMware ESXi™ 5.1 and VMware® vCenter Server™ 5.1 This class will be offered in Germany (22-26 April), the UK (29 April – 3 May) the UAE (5-9May) and the US. Registration for the classes in Germany, the UK, and the UAE closes 10 April.
The workshop is hands-on with a focus on the advanced knowledge, skills, and abilities to achieve competence in troubleshooting the VMware® vSphere® environment. This workshop can also help you increase your skill in using the command line to analyze problems.
The course covers troubleshooting areas related to trends we are seeing in support requests. Taking this class can help you avoid issues and respond quickly when they occur. The course includes the following topics:
Single sign-on issues.
vCenter Server issues.
ESXi host issues.
VMware vSphere® High Availability cluster issues.
VMware vSphere® vMotion® issues.
Virtual machine issues
For more details and registration information, go to the list of classes. Members of VMUG receive a 20% discount.
Earlier this month, we made some small changes to the Knowledge Base search interface, in an effort to make your searching experience better.
The Products drop down menu, accessible before you search, now shows only product names and not the versions. The list is much shorter now! Products are still in the same order as before / grouped by category. Even though the category names went away too, nothing has moved — Datacenter products are still in the top half of the list, Desktop products (including the Horizon products) are in the 3rd quarter, and Developer products are at the bottom.
After you search, and the results are shown, search facets appear on the side. With these, you can filter your results by product/version, by the article category, and by the article language. Watch the video below to see this in action.
We recently added a new category as well in order to help you refine your results. Stay tuned for more news about that!
Here is a video demonstrating these new changes and how you can use them to increase your searching experience and effectiveness.
Today, VMware is very pleased to announce that VMware vCenter Support Assistant 5.1 is now generally available to the public.
VMware vCenter Support Assistant 5.1 is a free, downloadable plug-in for VMware vCenter Server. It provides an easy-to-use, secure, one-stop shop both for creating and managing support requests and generating and uploading logs. It is deployed as a virtual appliance and integrates with VMware vCenter Server as a plug-in that can be accessed using either the VMware vSphere Client or the VMware vSphere Web Client.
Check out this short Demo!
OK you say? Where are the goods? Jump right in with these links, or read on for a more in-depth introduction.
Figure 1: VMware vCenter Support Assistant Conceptual View.
Easily open or view the status of any existing support request, add comments, reply to support engineer queries, and attach diagnostic information or other files such as screenshots. It also includes a VMware Knowledge Base search capability, which enables you to resolve common issues more rapidly. The vCenter Support Assistant plug-in helps you gather diagnostic information up front from your vSphere environment that VMware Technical Support finds most useful.
You can also use VMware vCenter Support Assistant to file support requests for any product that you already have support entitlement for whether that entitlement is by subscription, or paid for incident packs. With just a few clicks, VMware vCenter Support Assistant can directly generate log support bundles from the following products:
VMware vCenter Server
* Includes both VMware vCenter Server for Windows and the VMware vCenter Server Appliance.
VMware vSphere (ESX or ESXi)
NOTES: Access to public Internet is not required for the VMware vCenter Server, but is required for the VMware vCenter Support Assistant virtual appliance and the vSphere Client. Refer to the System Requirements.
All files are sent securely using SSL.
Since log files may contain sensitive, confidential, and/or personal information, the VMware vCenter Support Assistant provides the optional capability to scrub logs prior to submission.
The following guide is depicted using the VMware vSphere Client; however, VMware vCenter Support Assistant plugin-in also works with VMware vSphere Web Client introduced in VMware vSphere 5.1
Accessing VMware vCenter Support Assistant
Once deployed and registered, VMware vCenter Support Assistant will appear under the Solutions and Applications in the Home tab in the vSphere Client. The Support Assistant plug-in will also appear under “Classic Solutions” in the VMware Web Client.
Figure 2: VMware vCenter Support Assistant in Solutions and Applications.
Once VMware vCenter Support Assistant is selected, the solution will present a login screen. This login screen allows you the user to access My VMware directly from the solution, create a case, review or update a case, and attach diagnostics or other attachments.
Figure 3: Login to My VMware.
Once logged in, the user will have the option to View or Create a Technical Support Request through VMware vCenter Support Assistant.
Creating a New Technical Support Request
Let’s take moment to create a new Technical Support Request by selecting “Create a New SR.” Once you login, you will be checked against your entitlements and allowed to open a Service Request against all the eligible products. You can also review and update a Support Request and attach log support bundles or other attachments.
Figure 4: View or Create a Technical Support Request.
After selecting the option “Create a New SR”, the user is prompted to select the account associated with their My VMware account as well as the product related to the issue.
Figure 5: Select Account and Product.
Once the account and product are selected, the user is prompted to describe the problem. Knowledgebase Articles will appear for the user as they do on My VMware.
Figure 6: Describe the Problem and Suggested Resources.
Next, the user is prompted to provide the severity level based on business impact, category, detailed description, etc in the Contact and Support Request Details.
Figure 7: Contact and Support Request Details.
Once the creation of the Technical Support Request is completed the user receives a on-screen confirmation with the support request number.
Figure 8: Create Support Request Confirmation
After the new Technical Support Request is created, the user is prompted to either upload or finish the task. It is highly recommended that the user collect and upload the diagnostics immediately and attaches them to the support request to expedite support. So, let’s select “Yes – Upload” from the Create Support Request Confirmation to initiate the collection from the desired hosts.
Figure 9: Select Hosts.
Next, the user is prompted to select the System Logs desired for the diagnostics bundle as well as the option to collect performance data.
Figure 10: Select System Logs and Performance Data Option.
Once the user has selected the hosts and system logs, they are asked to confirm and initiate the upload procedure. This upload is run in the background and all transfers are sent via HTTPS to VMware from the VMware vCenter Support Assistant virtual appliance.
Figure 11: Confirm and Initiate Upload.
Once the user selects to start the collection and upload, the following dialog is presented. This dialog presents the status of the log collection progress for the support request. This dialog can be closed with the “X” and the collection and upload will continue as a background process, which we will show in a moment. Please note, the vSphere Client / vSphere Web Client should be open till the logs are fully downloaded and upload starts. Uploading of logs is handled in the background and the user does not need to be logged into vSphere Client / vSphere Web Client. If the dialog remains open and collection and upload completes, the user will be prompted with a completion status dialog.
Figure 12: Log Collection Progress.
The collection and upload progress can also be checked by selecting “Upload Activity” in the top right navigation. This will display the status, start and end date/time on all recorded uploads.
Figure 13: Upload Activity.
Viewing Technical Support Requests
Let’s take a moment to view and update an existing Technical Support Request by selecting “View / Modify Existing SR” from VMware vCenter Support Assistant solution home screen.
Figure 14: View or Create a Technical Support Request.
After selecting “View / Modify Existing SR” the user is displayed a list of technical support requests linked to their My VMware account. Notice that support request 12217135709 created earlier is listed and highlighted. The user is able to view the details of the request, initiate diagnostics collection, and add attachments with ease.
Figure 15: Select Support Request. Get Details, Collect/Upload Diagnostics and Add Attachments.
By selecting “Details” the user is able to view the details of the support request as well as add additional comments.
Cool Feature – Notice that VMware vCenter Support Assistant adds a comment to the support request notes confirming the upload of diagnostics to VMware.
Figure 16: Support Request Details.
By selecting “Upload Attachment” after selecting a case from the Select Support Case screen, the user can provide additional information to the engineers, such as screenshots, diagrams or other logs.
Figure 17: Add Attachments.
Ryan Johnson is a Senior Technical Account Manager in Professional Services at VMware. Ryan is a member of the VMware Technical Account Manager Program and provides cross-functional advisory and customer advocacy services, backed by the full resources of the VMware organization. He and other members of the team partner with customers to help realize their success with VMware solutions, accelerate their return on VMware investments and mitigate risk. Find out more about the VMware Technical Account Manager Program at vmware.com/go/tam/.
VMware is proud to open a new beta for vCenter Support Assistant, a new free product that provides customers with an easy-to-use, time-saving application for filing new Support Requests & managing existing Support Requests. It also allows customers to generate and upload vSphere and vCenter Server log files from within the vSphere Client. The product is currently in Beta and is scheduled to be released in early Q1 2013.
On November 1st, VMware will host another online GSS Customer Support Day event. This event is a unique opportunity for you to get answers to your questions directly from our Global Support Services technical experts. You told us that you’d like to see an online version of the popular live events that we’ve hosted in various locations throughout the world. We listened, and now anyone, anywhere can tap in to the advanced technical expertise of our Global Support Services team in this dynamic, interactive forum.
Participation is limited, so please register early. Sessions will be recorded and posted here in the Support Insider Blog for later viewing if you can’t attend at the scheduled time.
VMware will be performing a system upgrade to several VMware web applications on Friday, September 7th, 2012 from 7:00PM until Midnight Pacific Time. During this time, please file your Support Requests via phone.