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Global Teamwork Smooths the Way for a Major vSphere 6 Upgrade

TAM_MediumBy Robert Codo, Santosh Raju Gumidelly, and Amit Rathod

We were recently involved in a major global effort to upgrade a customer to vSphere 6, and want to describe how VMware TAM services can help in scenarios such as this.

To set the scene, let’s review the customer and the challenges they faced in upgrading their global infrastructure to vSphere 6. This company has three data centers in North America and three outsourced data centers in Europe. All the support for their outsourced data centers are located in Asia. They have several hundred ESXi hosts, which run thousands of VMs.

There were strict schedules in place for completing the upgrade to the entire infrastructure by the end of August, after kicking off the project in March. Tight deadlines were required to maintain VMware support compliance and to leverage key technical enhancements available in vSphere 6 that would support the customer’s critical business objectives. As a result, a great deal of planning and coordination was needed to achieve these goals in the time allotted. Luckily, this company already had three TAMs on their team: Me (Robert) in North America, Amit in Europe, and Santosh in India. When we first learned of this project, we were already familiar with the inner workings of the company and had a good idea of what was needed to assist them.

Our primary goal was to develop an upgrade strategy plan for them to upgrade the entire environment by the stated deadline of August 24, 2016. We knew this would not be a “one-size-fits-all” process, since there were disparate vCenter deployments across the environment – and they were not standardized. We wanted to drive standardization across the board as part of the upgrade to better position our customer for smooth future upgrades. We already knew their allowed business outage times and availability details when leveraging the outsourced data center management teams. We incorporated this knowledge into our planning.

As we developed the plan, we assisted our customer in identifying gaps in their ability to complete these goals on their own in the required timeframe. We partnered with our colleagues in the Professional Services Organization (PSO) to create a targeted plan that uses consulting services to supplement available manpower, where needed. We also identified training needs for both the customer and the outsourced teams for vSphere 6, VSAN, and NSX. We wanted to ensure they would feel confident and be successful in supporting the upgraded environment once this effort was completed. Our three-person TAM team coordinated the global PSO delivery and support throughout the initiative to ensure a successful outcome.

One of the major deliverables we created during this project was a vSphere 5 to vSphere 6 upgrade prerequisites document. It was developed as a group effort with the customer, the PSO consultant resources, and the TAM team. The upgrade document was based on a combination of published best practices, lessons learned from some of the early upgrades, and the collective knowledge of the collaborative team. Please feel free to download if you find yourself needing to move to v6 quickly – especially if the upgrade is from a disparate set of configurations! Amit has posted a personal blog on the subject here for you to review as well.


Rob_Codo

 

 

Rob Codo has been a Senior TAM at VMware for 9 years.

 

 

 

Santosh_Raju_Gumidelly

 

 

With close to 8+ years of experience in the IT industry, Santosh Raju Gumidelly in his recent assignment works as a Technical Account Manager in the Professional Services Organization at VMware India. He has achieved various certifications such as VCP on DCV, DT and Cloud, RHCE, Dell Certified Engineer, etc.

 

 

Amit_Rathod
Amit Rathod works as a Technical Account Manager in the Professional Services Organization at VMware India. With industry leading and advanced certifications such as VCAP-DCD, TOGAF, etc he has 10+ years of experience and is a vExpert 2016. He is the author of vrevealed.wordpress.com and can be followed on Twitter @vrevealed .

Early Bird Registration closes June 6th – Register Now!

Victoria_Phillips

 

 

By Victoria Phillips

Please join us for TAM Customer Day 2016 on Sunday, August 28th, from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. in Las Vegas!  Early Bird Registration closes on June 6th so register now!

TAM Customer Day will give you the opportunity to interact with VMware professionals regarding your highest business and technical priorities. During these focused and informative sessions, you will:

  • Interact with presenters and technical expertsvmworld-2016
  • Learn about VMware best practices, future plans, and evolving strategies
  • Connect and network with peers

Register today for this great opportunity! You must be registered for VMworld in order to register for TAM Customer Day.  Please verify your TAM’s email address during your VMworld registration; this will identify you as a TAM customer for future information.  Additionally, select the TAM Customer Day Pass” option in order to attend TAM Customer Day.  If you have any questions, please be sure to ask your TAM.


Victoria Phillips is a Senior Marketing Manager for the VMware Professional Services team. 

TAM Customer Day US Registration is Now Open

Victoria_Phillips

 

 

By Victoria Phillips

Last year’s TAM Customer Day event was an enormous success with an amazing turnout. We have some exciting changes for 2016 and hope you can join us! TAM Customer Day will be held on Sunday, August 28, 2016, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in Las Vegas.

These invitation-only, customer-only sessions will focus on current customer challenges and business issues. TAM Customer Day is a great opportunity to:

  • Interact with VMware experts and leaders.
  • Network with peers and industry professionals.
  • Learn about VMware best practices, future planning, and strategies.

Register Today!

You must be registered for VMworld in order to register for TAM Customer Day. Please verify
your TAM’s customer email address
after your VMworld registration; this will identify you as a TAM customer for future information. Select the TAM Customer Day Pass in order to attend TAM Customer Day. If you have any questions, please ask your TAM.


Victoria Phillips is a Senior Marketing Manager for the VMware Professional Services team. 

Some Clarity on VMware Lifecycle Support Phases

Rob_YeichnerBy Rob Yeichner

The “End of General Support” Date Does Not Mean “Not Supported”

When customers hear the term “End of General Support” relating to products they use, you can see the anxiety on their face. While there are many benefits to maintaining up-to-date software, if a product in use slips past the End of General Support date, it isn’t the end of the world.

This topic is relevant because a few major VMware products will transition through various support phases in the next couple of months.

  • ESX and ESXi 4 Technical Guidance ends on May 21, 2016
  • vSphere 5.0/5.1 products go End of General Support on Aug 24, 2016
  • Horizon View 5.x goes End of General Support on Sept 14, 2016

What does this mean for a company using these products? You can read all about VMware Lifecycle Support Phases on the VMware website, but this blog post will summarize the basics for customers who are unfamiliar with this information.

General Support Phase

In the General Support phase, a product is fully supported in accordance with VMware Support and Subscription Terms and Conditions. Customers can get technical assistance for products by telephone, e-mail or web via the MyVMware portal, maintenance updates and upgrades, security/bug fixes, support for new hardware and more.

Technical Guidance Phase

Once the End of General Support date passes, products typically enter the Technical Guidance phase.

Technical Guidance is available primarily through the self-help portal, and telephone support is not provided. Customers should open a support request online via the MyVMware portal to receive support. Technical Guidance consists of the following (and is also shown in the Lifecycle Support Summary table below):

  • Email support for support requests at all severity levels
  • Existing bug fixes and security patches
  • Work-around assistance for Severity 2, 3 and 4 support requests
  • Continued access to self-help resources, knowledge base and community forums

What is not included (but was previously available during the General Support Phase) is:

  • Phone support
  • New bug fixes
  • New security/software patches
  • Support for new hardware

Again, during the Technical Guidance phase, there is support for existing patches and security fixes only—no new patches will be developed for products outside of the General Support phase. During this phase, VMware does not offer new hardware support, server/client/guest OS updates, new security patches or bug fixes unless otherwise noted.

End of Support Life (EOSL)

As the Technical Guidance phase for products comes to an end, so will all support from VMware Global Support Services (GSS). Some self-help resources will continue to be available (Knowledge Base, Community Forums), but you will no longer be able to open VMware support requests through the MyVMware support portal.

RYeichner_Lifecycle Support Summary(lifecycle support summary – https://www.vmware.com/support/policies/lifecycle.html)

What Do I Do Next?

DON’T STOP HERE. Review the VMware Product Lifecycle Matrix for products you are using that have support milestones coming up. Site Recovery Manager, vCloud Networking and Security, vCloud Automation Center, Update Manager and many other products hit support milestones in 2016. If you have a Technical Account Manager (TAM) assigned to your account, they will develop a comprehensive plan for dealing with upgrades this year and into the future.

VMware Product Lifecycle Matrix

The Lifecycle Product Matrix lists all VMware products, and shows milestones and dates of General Availability (GA), End of General Support, End of Technical Guidance and End of Availability. The matrix also includes the Lifecycle Policy that governs each software product.

Supporting Webpages

Support Policies – Index

Support Policies – Lifecycle Support Policies

Support Policies – End of Availability

VMware – Knowledge Base

VMware – Communities


Rob joined VMware in 2013 as a Senior Technical Account Manager based in Dallas, TX. Having 25 years experience in the IT field, he received his VCP2 in 2006 and has been focused on VMware-based solutions ever since. When he isn’t working, Rob enjoys basketball, golf and corralling his three elementary school-aged kids.  Connect with Rob on LinkedIn.