Data Center Virtualization & Cloud Infrastructure Strategies for IT Leaders Technical Account Managers (TAM)

Global Teamwork Smooths the Way for a Major vSphere 6 Upgrade

TAM_MediumBy Robert Codo, Santosh Raju Gumidelly, and Amit Rathod

We were recently involved in a major global effort to upgrade a customer to vSphere 6, and want to describe how VMware TAM services can help in scenarios such as this.

To set the scene, let’s review the customer and the challenges they faced in upgrading their global infrastructure to vSphere 6. This company has three data centers in North America and three outsourced data centers in Europe. All the support for their outsourced data centers are located in Asia. They have several hundred ESXi hosts, which run thousands of VMs.

There were strict schedules in place for completing the upgrade to the entire infrastructure by the end of August, after kicking off the project in March. Tight deadlines were required to maintain VMware support compliance and to leverage key technical enhancements available in vSphere 6 that would support the customer’s critical business objectives. As a result, a great deal of planning and coordination was needed to achieve these goals in the time allotted. Luckily, this company already had three TAMs on their team: Me (Robert) in North America, Amit in Europe, and Santosh in India. When we first learned of this project, we were already familiar with the inner workings of the company and had a good idea of what was needed to assist them.

Our primary goal was to develop an upgrade strategy plan for them to upgrade the entire environment by the stated deadline of August 24, 2016. We knew this would not be a “one-size-fits-all” process, since there were disparate vCenter deployments across the environment – and they were not standardized. We wanted to drive standardization across the board as part of the upgrade to better position our customer for smooth future upgrades. We already knew their allowed business outage times and availability details when leveraging the outsourced data center management teams. We incorporated this knowledge into our planning.

As we developed the plan, we assisted our customer in identifying gaps in their ability to complete these goals on their own in the required timeframe. We partnered with our colleagues in the Professional Services Organization (PSO) to create a targeted plan that uses consulting services to supplement available manpower, where needed. We also identified training needs for both the customer and the outsourced teams for vSphere 6, VSAN, and NSX. We wanted to ensure they would feel confident and be successful in supporting the upgraded environment once this effort was completed. Our three-person TAM team coordinated the global PSO delivery and support throughout the initiative to ensure a successful outcome.

One of the major deliverables we created during this project was a vSphere 5 to vSphere 6 upgrade prerequisites document. It was developed as a group effort with the customer, the PSO consultant resources, and the TAM team. The upgrade document was based on a combination of published best practices, lessons learned from some of the early upgrades, and the collective knowledge of the collaborative team. Please feel free to download if you find yourself needing to move to v6 quickly – especially if the upgrade is from a disparate set of configurations! Amit has posted a personal blog on the subject here for you to review as well.




Rob Codo has been a Senior TAM at VMware for 9 years.







With close to 8+ years of experience in the IT industry, Santosh Raju Gumidelly in his recent assignment works as a Technical Account Manager in the Professional Services Organization at VMware India. He has achieved various certifications such as VCP on DCV, DT and Cloud, RHCE, Dell Certified Engineer, etc.



Amit Rathod works as a Technical Account Manager in the Professional Services Organization at VMware India. With industry leading and advanced certifications such as VCAP-DCD, TOGAF, etc he has 10+ years of experience and is a vExpert 2016. He is the author of and can be followed on Twitter @vrevealed .


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