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Server Ops Troubleshooting and Training 101: A Technical Account Manager’s Perspective

Jodi_ShelyBy Jodi Shely

The ability of your organization to consistently, effectively and efficiently troubleshoot your virtual infrastructure matters, has significant and immediate impacts on your bottom line. Your ability to reduce capital expenditure (CapEx) and improve IT return on investment (ROI) – not to mention minimizing the risk of unpleasant operational experiences, can mean big changes for your organization.

As a Staff Technical Account Manager (TAM), the number one troubleshooting obstacle I see is the absence of a meaningful, organization-wide troubleshooting foundation. That means having the right tools, processes, and training in place to ensure effectiveness.

Identify the Things You Don’t Know that You Don’t Know!

To establish a solid troubleshooting foundation, the first thing a TAM does is help to identify which tools you should be using. Many powerful tools are already built into your VMware products, or are available at no cost from But too often, virtual interface (VI) administrators are simply unaware of them. A few examples are the My VMware Support Assistant, Syslog servers, performance counters, and ESXTOP. TAMs can help to identify the gaps in your toolsets and where those gaps are contributing to operational pain points.

Next, a training plan should be prepared to address the identified gaps in your toolsets and knowledge base. If needed, this can also include a revision of your troubleshooting processes based on our field-proven best practices. This plan would also include recommendations for a customized set of alerts and monitors that will help you anticipate and avoid problems, so you can react much more quickly if problems do occur.

A Foundation is a Beginning, Not an End

After establishing a solid troubleshooting and training foundation, you’ll quickly notice your staff is spending more time administering your environment, and less time putting out fires. A good foundation allows your staff to reduce the time spent on day-to-day operations and “keeping the lights on”, and gradually spend more time on next-level activities such as improving your architecture, or researching and adopting new solutions to business problems.

Resources to Assess and Increase your Knowledge

To help your teams with self-assessment of their current skill sets, I have developed two free Skills Matrix documents. There is one for Foundation (Datacenter) Skills Matrix and one for EUC (End User Computing) Skills Matrix. After you work through them, you should have a much better idea of your skill gaps and where your teams should focus their training.

Then, with your Skills Matrix assessment in mind, you can move on to the Training Plan documents. These are compilations of various types and levels of FREE training and resources, sorted by functional area. They are again split into the Foundational (Datacenter) Training Plan and the EUC (End User Computing) Training Plan documents.

I hope this is helpful for you and your organization! For a more personalized and in-depth assessment of your organizational skills and for more formal training and education opportunities, contact your VMware account team or visit our Education web page.

To learn more about VMware TAM Services, visit the TAM Services web page or call us at 1-877-486-9273.

Jodi Shely has been with VMware TAM Services Team for 3 years and is a VMware Evangelist for over 10 years… “I love the VMware Community and all of its followers and Evangelists.. I couldn’t be more proud to work for a company that makes amazing products and even more invests in the User community as much as VMware does.”


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