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It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Cheryl_EaganBy Cheryl Eagan

Late August into early September—my favorite time of the year. Why? Because it’s time for VMworld, which means it’s also time for TAM Customer Day and TAM Customer Central.

I know people laugh when I call this my favorite time of year, but it’s true. TAM events at VMworld are some of the most rewarding things I work on, and have been ever since I joined VMware over nine years ago.

The reason I find it so rewarding is that it’s a great opportunity our TAM customers cannot get anywhere else. They gain so much value in such a short time. They get to have in-depth conversations with VMware business leaders, interact with their peers, and network with people within their industry or who have similar challenges and use cases in their business. It’s a time when our customers feel like they are really being heard.

The other reason why I love this time of year so much is that I get to see the value and the joy that it provides my fellow TAMs. They work so hard all year to advocate for our TAM customers, this is the time it all comes together.  VMworld is our most important annual event and it gives us the chance to meet face to face with our customers. We get to talk about issues, and line up meetings and discussions for our customers with the people who can listen and help. This one week drives much of what we do all year long.

What’s planned for this year?

VMworld begins Sunday, August 28 and runs through Thursday, September 1. The event is at vmworld-2016the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Conference Center in Las Vegas. If you haven’t already planned to attend VMworld, you should register now. TAM Customer Day will be held August 28. The day starts with an invitation-only VIP breakfast for our full-time TAM customers.  Every year we feature industry expert speakers on a variety of topics addressing our customers’ top priorities.

The General Session will start in the main conference hall and will include a welcome by VMware CTO Ray O’Farrell. Next, there will be five breakout sessions centered on discussing key customer challenges. There is a lunch and award session, during which we award customers who have done creative, unique things with our solutions and provided incredible value to their companies.

We then have “Ask the Experts” breakout sessions. In these sessions, over 100 VMware subject matter experts make themselves available to answer the specific concerns of our customers.

The final session of the day is a CTO panel, during which customers can participate in Q&A. After this, there will be a session close and reception.

What has changed since last year?

After last year’s event, we received feedback that our customers wanted more technical-level sessions, as well as smaller groups for more focused attention. In response to that, we’ve focused breakout sessions around some of our key customer challenges such as management automation, the vSphere platform, and mobility. These sessions are hosted by product teams, business unit leaders, and technical marketers. We’ve increased the time set aside for these sessions so our customers can make the most of them.

We’ve also expanded our “Ask the Experts” sessions because these sessions have been the most popular amongst our customers. There will be over 100 tables at this event and more time set aside for participation in these sessions, as well. During “Ask the Experts”, customers can focus on very specific technical aspects of VMware products and tools.

The CTO panel is a new addition to TAM Customer Day and is also in response to our customers’ desire to include more technical content in the event. At the end of the panel, customers will be able to ask questions of our CTOs and thought leaders. They’ll get a peek into what they can look forward to from VMware, and provide input to the people who actually drive VMware’s vision and strategy.

Beyond TAM Customer Day, what other TAM activities are happening at VMworld?

TAM Customer Day became so large that we decided to extend this exclusive experience throughout the entire week of VMworld. Five years ago, we started TAM Customer Central, which quickly became popular. In our first year, we had a couple hundred attendees. Last year, there were 1,700 customer visits.

TAM Customer Central runs Monday through Thursday, and provides a great experience to TAM customers. During these sessions, you participate in intimate, highly interactive discussions that pertain specifically to your business. If you are unable to attend TAM Customer Day, work with your TAM to make use of Customer Central. Your TAM can help you plan the week to be sure you engage in activities that are the most critical and most important to you and your business.

What should I do now to get ready for VMworld and TAM Customer Central?

First, if you haven’t already, you should register. Next, work with your TAM to plan your time at VMworld. This is your chance to discuss your challenges, ask questions, and gain insight into VMware strategy and future solutions. These opportunities are simply not available anywhere else but VMworld. During our exclusive TAM events, you get to provide input, discuss your specific needs, and speak in person with people who can take your input and influence future VMware products.

The VMworld Schedule Builder opens July 19, and only TAM customers will be able to register for the deep dive sessions available through TAM Customer Central. If you need more information or want to confirm your registration, talk to your TAM Keep in mind these sessions fill quickly.

I hope to see you at VMworld, and I especially hope to see you at our various TAM events during the week. Like me, maybe you, too, will come to think of this as the most wonderful time of year.

Cheryl Eagan is a Principal Technical Account Manager for VMware based in Georgia.

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 has been a Senior TAM at VMware for 9 years.







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 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!




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




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.