From the Trenches How-to

Support Requests: How to Get Help from VMware Support

Having spent 10+ years in VMware Support, I would like to share a few bits of advice with all my customers.  This is the first post in a series where I’ll go over some fundamentals which will help our newer customers.  And I’ll also talk about some core issues that every business can run into.  Ones which I’ve seen result in massive outages over and over again.  Please enjoy this series knowing that I wrote it in hopes of making your life easier.

How to Create a Support Request

Here we have a quick HOWTO for getting a Support Request filed with VMware Support, with an emphasis on efficiency in getting you to resolution quickly.  In this example, you have a technical problem, you’ve already done some troubleshooting, and you’ve searched online for an answer.  You know you need help, and you want to get in touch with a Subject Matter Export for the product in question. 

Use the website to create a Support Request

Go to https://customerconnect.vmware.com/login and enter your VMware account credentials.  (If you don’t have a login, see the article How to create a Customer Connect profile.) 

Click the Support drop-down and then click Get Support.

Scroll down to Technical Support -> Request Support

You are about to get to the good part. You will see a page with your Account number.  If there are more than one, pick the one you know is right and click Next.

The Issue Description

Now you are at the part where a human being will later read what you type.  The AI will try to guess what you need help with, but you are now at the beginning of the end.  The bookend, if you will.  Your Support Engineer is going to use this as the basis for getting your issue resolved as quickly as possible.  Here’s an example:

Did I type enough information into the Description in the above example?  Sort of.  But the more information I provide, the more my Support Engineer is going to have to work with right out the gate.

We can also see the system saw me type some VMware product names.  I need to decide in my head, “Is this a Horizon issue or could it be a vCenter issue?”  Whichever one I pick, that’s the Subject Matter Expert (SME) who will get assigned the case.  I’d rather get it to the right group on the first try. So in the Associated Product(s) field, make sure you put a checkmark next to the product where you are having the issue.

Does the Issue Description need to be a novel?  No, but you should fill this field with relevant data. I can (and will) add more information after the ticket is created. 

The next prompt is for log files.

I can add them now or I can add them after the ticket is created, but log files tell stories and the Support Engineer will ask for them, so please think about where the problem is seen and what the relevant components would be.  Generate some log bundles and upload them, and you are giving the Support Engineer more to consider while they scope the problem.

If you’re not sure how to gather logs, please see this article: Collecting diagnostic information for VMware products

Next, set the Severity of the issue and Issue Type.

VMware Severity Definitions and Response Targets are listed here.

The Issue Type will vary; there’s a bunch of options so just take your best guess at there the issue is. As long as you picked the correct Product a couple steps back, you’re going to be fine.

The next item is Watchlist.

Totally optional, you could add your colleague here if you wanted someone else to get notified on the support request updates. If you have upcoming out of office time scheduled, this is a good time to put some other folks on the list.

Here is the last one and it is very important:

Pick phone or email, and then make sure the correct information is there. 

We will lose hours trying to contact you the wrong way if these fields are incorrect.

Click Submit and you are done.

Add support bundles (aka Logs)

Click Support at the top of the page and click My Support Requests.

Now you can click into the request and start adding logs. BTW, if you use Skyline not only is collect log bundles easier, but you can get notified of issues before they become problems for you.

Also now you want to start inputting additional notes.  This is the time to really start painting the whole picture of what you have observed in this issue.  Our Support Engineers know the product, but you know your environment.  All of the symptoms you have observed can be added to the case now. 

Pretend you are at the doctor’s office, and they are asking you to describe everything about what you are feeling.

You have found a way to make the product behavior in a bad manner.  Have you found a way to improve the behavior, even if it’s a temporary workaround?

Did you find a change you can roll back to alleviate the issue, to allow us time to work on a long-term fix?

To reiterate:

  • Make sure you have your correct email address and/or phone number in the case.  We can’t help if we can’t reach you.
  • After the case is created, go back and start adding more data to help your Support Engineer scope the problem without having to ask you too many questions.
  • Upload logs to give us a better picture of what is going on.

You’ve started the ticket, what happens next?  In my next article, we’ll discuss what happens during the lifetime of the ticket.

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