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We are excited to share that 4,000 customers have adopted Skyline, and are receiving proactive support from VMware.

Skyline’s hyper-growth is fueled by customers wanting a more proactive and predictive experience that helps them focus on innovation by avoiding problems. Since launching Skyline in early 2018, it has become one of VMware’s largest cloud services, surfacing 8 million proactive findings, of which 40% have been remediated by customers. By proactively remediating issues identified by Skyline, we are seeing a decrease in the number of reactive Support Requests opened by customers, versus customers who aren’t using Skyline today.

We want to thank all our customers that have become design partners, helping us steer the roadmap and make Skyline more valuable every month. Customers like Accenture, Sky, Rackspace and Cox Communications are a few that stand out, and will be joining us on stage at VMworld US in San Francisco.

“Skyline proactively identified several issues, such as upgrades needed to prevent Spectre Meltdown vulnerabilities, storage pathing and misconfigured hypervisors we were unaware of.” – Rackspace

“We were one of the first customers to deploy Skyline in Europe, using it to proactively alert us to potential risks across our production environment. I really like how VMware listens to our feedback and uses it to make future enhancements to the technology.” -Sky

New Automated Proactive Features

Consolidated Recommendations with Software Interoperability Checks

As stated above, Skyline has done an excellent job at identifying potential issues within customer environments and providing them with the information needed to avoid the issue. However, Skyline today only provides a single recommendation within each finding, and our customers know best that there are usually multiple potential issues that could impact a single object.

Today, we are excited to announce Consolidated Recommendations within Skyline. In a future release, Skyline will generate a recommendation that will resolve multiple findings, and automatically present the upgrade sequence, and software interoperability. This recommendation would be to apply a patch, or update, which will resolve multiple findings discovered within your environment. Basically, one action to resolve multiple potential issues in your environment.

For example, a Consolidated Recommendations for Horizon currently running version 7.0 would be to upgrade to version 7.2, or alternatively, upgrade to version 7.1. The number of findings addressed by each upgrade are displayed for your information.

These is just another way we are reducing customer effort, providing you with relevant information to avoid issues, to ensure a stable and reliable environment.

 

“We use consolidated recommendations to discuss upgrade plans and version preferences to address known issues. Previously, picking a version to upgrade to was a slow process, with lots of back and forth between the technical team pushing for the latest and greatest and management pushing back on something more stable. With the data on objects/issues addressed, it moves the conversation away from versions and a gut feel of “can we trust the new version” to data driven capabilities and known issue avoidance.”

– Brandon Hahn, VMware Technical Account Manager

Automatic Interoperability Checks

Additionally, opening a Consolidated Recommendation will provide more details about the recommendation (patch/update). This includes automatically checking if linked products are interoperable with the recommendation made. In the example below, the consolidated recommendation is to update ESXi to 6.7 EP03. Skyline checks if vCenter Server is interoperable with ESXi 6.7 EP03. vCenter Server is running version 6.7 Update 1, therefore, it is interoperable with the recommendation to upgrade to ESXi 6.7 EP03.

However, Skyline discovers that the current version of NSX-V is not interoperable with ESXi 6.7 EP03. The current version of NSX-V is 6.2, which is not interoperable with ESXi 6.7 EP03. Therefore, Skyline notifies you that an upgrade of NSX-V would be required, before implementing the consolidated recommendation.

 

The upgrade order sequence will need to be followed for upgrading NSX-V before upgrading to ESXi 6.7 EP03. The update sequence knowledge bases articles for each version of vSphere is provided (6.0, 6.5, 6.7).

Horizon Support for Skyline Log Assist

Today, using Skyline Log Assist, customers can upload log bundles for vSphere, NSX-V, and VSAN, to VMware Global Support Services (GSS). We’re excited to announce that soon, Horizon 7 customers will be able to use Skyline Log Assist to upload log bundles for Horizon Connection Servers to VMware GSS, for the purposes of troubleshooting an open Support Request.

In just a few clicks, customers can upload log bundles at least 2x faster to VMware GSS when using Skyline Log Assist.

Now, you might be asking yourself, is it really that easy to upload log bundles with Skyline Log Assist. Well, I figured it would be easiest to let you decide for yourself. In the following video, I upload an ESXi host log bundle to VMware GSS, using Skyline Log Assist.

“Log Assist is a big time-saver, eliminating the need to manually upload log bundles to Tech Support. Additionally, I’m supportive of the direction Skyline is headed, with some exciting enhancements on the roadmap.”  – City of Sioux Falls

VMware Skyline & Dell EMC SupportAssist Integration

We are excited to announce integration between two proactive support solutions, VMware Skyline and Dell EMC SupportAssist. Today, VMware Skyline provides proactive findings for vSphere, VSAN, NSX-V, vROps, Horizon and identifies VxRail, VCF and VVD deployments. Dell EMC SupportAssist is used to proactively and predicatively identify and prevent Dell EMC hardware and software issues. When an issue is detected, SupportAssist automatically creates a case and initiates resolution, preventing downtime. This is the first-step in making it easy to utilize complimentary proactive support solutions from VMware and Dell EMC to further enhance the customer support experience across hardware and software.

VMware Skyline will now detect whether SupportAssist is actively monitoring Dell EMC PowerEdge Servers. This information will be displayed within Inventory view of Skyline Advisor.

SupportAssist will detect whether the Skyline Collector has been deployed, and if vCenter Servers have been added to the Skyline Collector. If the Skyline Collector is in the environment, SupportAssist will prompt you to install it.

Customers should continue to follow their current path for receiving support for both VMware products and services, and Dell EMC hardware and software.

Skyline and VMware’s New Premier Support

Skyline is included at no additional cost, with all Production and Premier Support contracts. With the introduction of VMware’s new Premier Support offering, Skyline will include additional benefits for customers who purchase Premier Support.

First, Premier Support customers have access to advanced Skyline reporting. These reports, called Operational Summary Reports (OSR), provide a point-in-time view of the findings discovered on the date the report was generated. There are two types of Operational Summary Reports, Standard, and Custom. A Standard OSR is automatically generated every two weeks and contains all findings and recommendations. Premier Support customers also receive custom OSRs. A custom OSR is created by the Premier Support account manager, and contains a subset of findings and recommendations, based upon a filter.

For example, a customer could need a report with all security vulnerabilities identified by Skyline, that exist within their environment. The Premier Support account manager can create a custom OSR, based upon a filter that only includes security vulnerabilities, and publish it for the customer to download from Skyline Advisor.

Furthermore, advanced findings and recommendations are available to Premier Support customers. Advanced findings and recommendations are designed for Premier Support customers, as they may require assistance from VMware Global Support Services (GSS). Since Premier Support customers have a dedicated support team, customers can leverage this team for questions, or assistance, when remediating advanced findings discovered by Skyline.

Finally, Premier Support provides an additional set of eyes watching over your environment. With personalized knowledge of your environment, Premier Support account managers can view the proactive findings discovered by Skyline and proactively notify customers to act upon any of the findings discovered by Skyline.

“My Premier Support team is also using Skyline to alert me of any critical findings.” – TNB-IT

Summary

From providing customers with a single recommendation to resolve multiple potential issues in their environment, to expanding Log Assist capabilities, to integrating with other proactive support solutions, VMware continues to transform the customer support experience. We are looking forward to seeing everyone at VMworld this week in San Francisco.

Disclaimer: This blog article contains product features or functionality that are currently under development. Features are subject to change, and must not be included in contracts, purchase orders, or sales agreements of any kind.