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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. 

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.

Third-party Plug-ins and vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA)

Petr_McAllisterBy Petr McAllister

As a consumer of VMware technology, would you prefer to install an OS on a virtual machine (VM), then deploy an external database, then install vCenter Server bits – or would it be more logical and enjoyable to deploy and maintain VCSA as a single entity?

For the first time, VMware has brought VCSA in parity with vCenter Server for Windows in terms of scale and functionality in vSphere 6. Take a look at the diagram below:

PMcAllister_Platform Diagram

After talking to my enterprise customers about moving to VCSA during their next vSphere upgrade, and getting them overly excited about a new, flexible way of managing their vSphere environment – the questions I received clearly led me to experimentation.

In traditional vCenter Server for Windows environments, many VMware partners provide their own MSI packages. These packages install plug-ins that can be called from the vSphere management interface. What happens to those plug-ins in VCSA’s world? Let’s take a look.

First, we’ll try the HPE package, and make sure we’re running a VCSA appliance. SSH to it and confirm the OS type. VMware Architect William Lam offers some advice on this in his post, “Quick Tip – Determining the vCenter Server OS platform (Windows or VCSA) using vSphere API.”

PMcAllister_vSphere PowerCLI

Now that we know for sure we are running VCSA, let’s start the installer on a Windows machine – let’s call it OpenView Administrator console.

PMcAllister_OneView for vCenter

During installation we need to provide the address of VCSA and its credentials.

PMcAllister_vCenter Information

Now, let’s connect to vSphere using an old-style client. All HPE plugins are visible when the client is pointed to VCSA, and the MSI plug-in package is used.

PMcAllister_Deployment Wizard

To confirm our findings, we can find different plug-ins from different vendors; what about EMC?

EMC has Virtual Storage Integrator products, which is not actually an MSI package, but is an appliance. Let’s now deploy it and see how to access it. After the template is deployed as a VM, the user is provided with a web interface where vSphere integration can be specified.

PMcAllister_Solutions Integration Service

More on installing and using EMC VSI can be found in Virtual Storage Integrator 6.6 is here!

Note: EMC does not create a shortcut on the home page. However, we can access EMC VSI information from the web client. Additionally, you will see in the green square, that HPE plug-ins that were installed in previous steps and are still available.

PMcAllister_vSphere Web Client

As we were able to successfully demonstrate here, there is no difference in behavior if the plug-in is working with VCSA, or the vCenter Server version for Windows.

It’s totally up to the vendor to either provide an MSI package that requires a Windows machine to install on (not vCenter OS), or the plug-in can arrive in the form of an appliance. It is also the vendor’s choice on how the plug-in is presented in the vSphere interface, whether through a web client, or a traditional vSphere Client.

To learn more about VCSA installation and configuration please refer to the vSphere Installation and Configuration Guide. As a huge fan of William Lam his blog offers some advice, “How to remotely run appliances & other shell commands on VCSA w/o requiring SSH” for more information on the topic, and click here for a complete listing of all of William’s VCSA coverage.

Petr joined VMware in 2012 as a Senior Technical Account Manager based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Since then, he has worked with many customers and diverse industries in three cities on two continents. Petr is recognized as a vExpert 2016, holds multiple industry certifications including VMware VCAP/VCIX, Cisco CCNP, ISC2 CISSP and ITIL. He is a very enthusiastic supporter of Network Virtualization, and uses every chance he gets to discuss with customers a specialized offering called NSX TAM. Petr’s 20+ year technical background helps him to understand customer’s business needs and to find the right technical solution to address those requirements. Connect with him on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter.