In VMware documentation, we show you how a product works, and how you can use the product to accomplish your tasks. But what about when the product isn’t working for you—when it doesn’t behave as described in the manual, or when the manual doesn’t cover a problem you encounter, or a special task you want to perform? In our procedures we try to anticipate every use case, and in our troubleshooting sections we try to foresee everything that might go wrong, but with the large and growing base of VMware users, it’s impossible to cover every situation that might occur. Every user is unique, and the number of variations—in combinations of hardware, operating systems, and use cases—is practically limitless.
One of the best resources for troubleshooting problems is the VMware Knowledge Base. Maintained by VMware Global Support Services team, the Knowledge Base (KB) contains thousands of articles authored by GSS support techs, product development and QA engineers, and Technical Communications writers. KB articles specialize in corner cases, troubleshooting, workarounds, and more. Thorny, corner-case problems are usually solved only through considerable effort, collaboration, and head pounding by some very smart and knowledgeable people. KB articles document those solutions, so no one should have to struggle with solving the same problems again.
And note: when you search the Knowledge Base, you’re searching not only KB articles, but also the library of product documentation and discussion threads in VMware Communities. This makes the Knowledge Base a great place to begin looking for answers.
So how do you use the Knowledge Base? Just go to http://kb.vmware.com/ and you’ll find that it’s pretty self-explanatory. You can browse or search by keyword, and you can filter the search by product. And if you need more detailed instructions or help, the Knowledge Base itself is well documented (just as you would expect) in a KB article—just click the Knowledge Base Help button in the upper right of the KB home window.
I will add one tip for searching: when I enter search terms, I start by trying to identify as uniquely as I can the symptoms and setup of the problem I’ve encountered—I might include the essential words of an error message, the operating system version of the VM, what seemed to trigger the problem—whatever might help filter the search to the results most likely to match my problem exactly. I err on the side of inclusiveness, using as many relevant keywords as I can. Sometimes, I get lucky and find my problem on the first try. More likely, I get no results, or just a few. So I start deleting terms, one by one, from the search. With every deletion, the search broadens, and I get more results to scan through.
One more note: be sure to take a look at the navigation bar on the right-hand side of the KB home page, where there are links to some other really great tools and services provided by the KB team, including:
- KBTV, an ongoing series of how-to videos
- the Weekly KB Digest, where you can check for the newest additions to the Knowledge Base
You can subscribe to KBTV, the Weekly Digest and the KB Blog via RSS, and you can follow us on Twitter at: @VMwarecares.
In short, whenever you need answers, try the Knowledge Base. It’s a terrific resource.