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Category Archives: Support

Ensuring Success with VMware NSX TAM Services

Curtis-Badge-PhotoBy Curtis Miller

For networking, VMware NSX is a game-changer in the same way VMware vSphere was for data center servers. NSX virtualizes and consolidates legacy networking functionality back into a hypervisor. As a result, adding or changing network capabilities no longer requires the costly replacement of networking gear. It’s all software based—so upgrades are now just a right-click away.

The resulting cost savings are dramatic because network hardware is replaced far less often and used more efficiently. Deployment times and scalability improve substantially because networks can be created in minutes instead of weeks; and if demand falls, those resources can just as easily be reclaimed. Enhanced security via NSX’s micro-segmentation capabilities is another important benefit as well.

Risk Reduction Experts

Because NSX is a new and powerful technology, your networking team may not yet have the expertise it needs. NSX TAMs make your deployment more successful by providing on-site, ongoing help in configuring, operating, managing and troubleshooting your NSX environment. They use proven best practices and a deep understanding of both your business and IT environment to reduce risks, incorporate valuable new feature sets, and make sure you get the most out of your NSX investment.

An NSX TAM can mean the difference between an implementation that just works and one that is truly successful. With the right help, NSX will make significant contributions toward the achievement of your business objectives, such as greater market responsiveness, global expansion, improvement of your disaster recovery capabilities, and better environment security.

Learn more about NSX TAM services by Curtis Miller.


Curtis Miller is a Technical Account Manager for VMware

Documenting Your IT Security Posture

Jason GaudreauBy Jason Gaudreau

The VMware Security Hardening Guides contain recommended processes for deploying and operating VMware products in a secure manner given a specified risk profile. You may not need, or may not be able, to follow each step in the security Hardening Guides because of the balance of operational efficiency, cost, risk tolerance and security requirements. The security hardening practices are recommended by VMware, but equally important is having a security controls document that incorporates VMware best practice recommendations combined with your specific security policies. It can be an invaluable tool during an audit.

Security has a wide scope that touches every aspect of the datacenter; an important part of security is recognizing the tolerance of risk. To do that, you need to understand the value of the assets you are trying to protect and the cost of protecting that asset. What is the likelihood of the asset being damaged or compromised? And what does it cost the company if that asset is compromised? A risk analysis provides a cost/benefit understanding of the cost to safeguard an item compared with the expected cost of loss. The security policy should be proportionate to the value of the asset, which may range from innocuous data processing up through mission-critical business process dealing with highly sensitive information. Each of these examples represents a different risk profile, which translates to different security requirements and thus different recommendations in the Hardening Guides.

Security Controls Image

Securing systems are not a low-cost endeavor. Even in terms of operations expenses, locking down systems can make internal operations teams less efficient when updating systems because of strict security controls. In many cases, a security policy will not be implemented unless the cost of the loss exceeds the security policy itself. In the end, you are the one who is best suited to make the decisions on the security posture of your IT assets.

You can learn all the details and begin planning your security controls document by reading the Security Controls Guide

 

 


Jason Gaudreau is a Senior Technical Account Manager, VMware Professional Services. To read more from Jason, be sure to visit his blog here.

Capacity Management Using vRealize Operations

Jason GaudreauBy Jason Gaudreau

In the physical world, we tend to overprovision because experience tells us when you have enough resources, there shouldn’t be problems. If you apply this mindset to a virtualized environment, you’ll negate the benefits of server consolidation.

What are some of the key goals of operations management?

  • Delivering high-quality infrastructure, services and applications
  • Operate IT assets as efficiently and cost-effective as possibly
  • Implement and adhere to IT policies, standards and regulatory requirements

Using a tool like vRealize Operations can assure that you are getting the most out of your technology investments by providing proactive insight into the operations of your data center. It provides greater visibility into your virtual infrastructure fabric, which decreases the amount of downtime for your business-critical applications.

Moreover, an important part of operations capacity management is helping IT leadership understand the trade-off between business demand and cost. For instance, being able to predict the impact of adding 10 more virtual machines into our Gold Cluster may result in having to purchase additional server resources or a server host. Coupled with a charge-back model and support service-level agreements (SLAs), business leaders can then decide if the new application or project should go into the Gold Cluster or a lower tier. In fact, with this kind of insight, they may decide the project should be on hold until the next budget cycle to avoid problems.

vRealize Operations can provide valuable insight into capacity planning and trending into your data center environment, and help ensure you have the required resources to meet business demand. You can learn all the details by reading the vRealize Operations 5.8 Guide.

 


Jason Gaudreau is a Senior Technical Account Manager, VMware Professional Services. To read more from Jason, be sure to visit his blog here.

Introducing VMware vCenter™ Support Assistant™ 5.1

Back in September we started a Beta Program for the VMware vCenter Support Assistant with our VMware TAM Program customers and we later extended the program to the public with great community response.

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

  • 5.1*
  • 5.0*
  • 4.1

* Includes both VMware vCenter Server for Windows and the VMware vCenter Server Appliance.

VMware vSphere (ESX or ESXi)

  • 5.1
  • 5.0
  • 4.1

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 or personal information, VMware vCenter Support Assistant provides the optional capability to scrub logs prior to submission.

Technical Guide

The following guide is depicted using the VMware vSphere Client; however, VMware vCenter Support Assistant plug-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 Case. Let’s take a 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 to create a new Technical Support Request, 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. Suggested KB Articles, will appear for the user as they do on My VMware.

Figure 6: Describe the Problem and Suggest 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 a case number.

Figure 8: Create Support Request Confirmation

Uploading Diagnostics

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 collects and uploads the diagnostics immediately and attaches them to the case 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 dialogue is presented. This dialogue presents the status of the collection request for the support request. User can close this dialogue window by clicking the “X” on the window top right, but the collection and upload will continue as a background process, which we will show in a moment. If the dialogue remains open and the collection and upload complete, the user will be prompted with a completion status dialogue.

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 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 case, initiate a diagnostics collection and add attachments to cases 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 case as well as add additional comments directly from VMware vCenter Support Assistant.

Cool FeatureNotice that VMware vCenter Support Assistant adds a comment to the case notes confirming the upload of the 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.

 

 

Introducing the VMware vCenter Support Assistant Beta

Sign-up and request access to the VMware vCenter Support Assistant beta program.

OVERVIEW

The VMware vCenter Support Assistant streamlines access and saves you time and effort by integrating the creation of VMware Technical Support Requests and the attachment of support diagnostic information within a single application.

You can also use the VMware vCenter Support Assistant to file support requests for any product that you already have support entitlement for – whether that entitlement is via subscription, or paid‐for incident packs

The VMware vCenter Support Assistant 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. The Support Assistant allows the user to collect and upload diagnostic information from both the VMware vCenter Server and vSphere hosts, in addition to creating and viewing existing Technical Support Requests.


Figure 1: VMware vCenter Support Assistant Conceptual View

SUPPORTED PRODUCTS

VMware vCenter Server: 5.1*, 5.0* and 4.1
VMware vSphere: 5.1, 5.0 and 4.1 (ESX/ESXi)

* Includes both VMware vCenter Server for Windows and the VMware vCenter Server Appliance.

NOTE: Internet access is not required for the VMware vCenter Server, but required for the VMware vCenter Support Assistant virtual appliance and vSphere Client. All files are sent using HTTPS.

Support Assistant can also help you to track and manage your existing Technical Support Requests. Easily view the status of any existing Support Request, add comments, reply to support engineer queries, and select further diagnostic information or other files to upload, such as screenshots.

THE BETA PROGRAM

What is the Beta Program?

The beta program is a highly‐valued way for VMware to get direct feedback from customers on our products and systems. In return, customers are able to experience our products before they are released publicly, and have the opportunity to shape the GA product and future roadmap.

How do I participate?

Sign-up and request access to the VMware vCenter Support Assistant beta program.

Shortly after you notify us of your interest in participating, you will receive an invite to a private “Support Assistant Beta Community”. Please note that invitations can take up to 24 hours to be processed.

Both the product download and installation instructions will be available once you log in to this private community.

What should I do with the Beta Product?

Simply use Support Assistant to file your technical support requests, instead of calling in or using my.vmware.com. Explore the capabilities for generating and attaching diagnostic information and attaching other files, such as screenshots.

TECHNICAL PREVIEW

The following preview is depicted using the VMware vSphere Client; however, the VMware vCenter Support Assistant plugin-in also works with the VMware vSphere Web Client introduced in VMware vSphere 5.1.

Accessing the VMware vCenter Support Assistant

Once deployed and registered, the VMware vCenter Support Assistant will appear under the Solutions and Applications in the VMware vSphere Client.

Figure 2: VMware vCenter Support Assistant in Solutions and Applications

Once the 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 attachements.

Figure 3: Login to My VMware

Once you are logged, the user will have the option to View or Create a Technical Support Request through the VMware vCenter Support Assistant.

Creating a New Technical Support Case

Let’s take moment to create a new Technical Support Request by selecting “Create a New SR.”

Figure 4: View or Create a Technical Support Request

After selecting the option to create a new Technical Support Request, 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 . Suggested Resources, such as KB 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 case number.


Figure 8: Create Support Request Confirmation

Uploading Diagnostics

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 collection and upload the diagnostics immediately and attach them to the case to expedite support.

So, let’s select “Yes – Upload” from the Create Support Request Confirmation to initiated 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 procedures. 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 dialogue is presented. This dialogue presents the status of the collection request for the support request. This dialogue can be closed with the “X” and the collection and upload will continue as a background process, which we will show in a moment.  If the dialogue remains open and collection and upload complete, the user will be prompted with a completion status dialogue.

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 moment to view and update an existing Technical Support Request by selecting “View / Modify Existing SR” from the 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 case, initiated a diagnostics collection and add attachements to cases with ease.

Figure 15: Select Support Request. Get Details, Collect/Upload Diagnostics and Add Attachements.

By selecting “Details” the user is able to view the details of the case as well as add additional comments directly from the VMware vCenter Support Assistant.

Cool Feature - Notice that the VMware vCenter Support Assistant adds a comment to the case notes confirming the upload of the diagnostics to VMware.

Figure 16: Support Request Details

By selecting “Upload Attachement” 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 Attachements

We encourage our VMware TAM Program customers to contact your Technical Account Manager and join the beta program to experience this streamlined support and provide your valuable feedback on the solution capabilities.