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Monthly Archives: September 2015

Are You a Type 1 or Type 2 NSX Customer?

Curtis-Badge-PhotoBy Curtis Miller

As a VMware NSX TAM—one who compliments standard TAMs and specializes in VMware NSX technology—I see two general types of NSX customers:

  • Type 1: A company that brings in a consultant to implement NSX
  • Type 2: A company that wants to implement NSX on its own

In either case, an NSX TAM provides support and guidance to help ensure the success of the installation. But that’s just the beginning of the value we provide.

During a consultant-led (Type 1) deployment, companies often find it challenging to get the information needed to move effectively into the operations stage. Operational success requires that employees in every functional area in the organization (i.e., developers, users, and their own customers, if they’re a service provider) learn how to consume NSX – not just the IT department. NSX TAMs make sure that happens, paving the way to a seamless transition to operations.

During an internally-led (Type 2) deployment, NSX TAMs provide a host of important information and coordination support. For example, we help interface between the company and their implementation-related vendors (e.g., firewall, switch, or router vendors); of course, we also help coordinate interactions with VMware and its third-party partners.

Helping both types of companies run NSX after implementation is perhaps an NSX TAM’s most important role. This kind of ‘day 2’ support includes expert help with troubleshooting, patching and upgrading (of NSX and third-party functionality such as security, firewalling and automation), getting customer-needed features added to future versions of NSX, and much more.

Bottom line: NSX TAMs exist to help you reduce risk, maximize the value of your NSX investment, and meet and exceed the goals you set when you chose NSX.

Click here to learn more about VMware TAM services.

Curtis Miller is a Technical Account Manager for VMware


VMworld US 2015 Wrap-Up


By Adam Eckerle

What an amazing week! VMworld is now officially behind us, and we wish everyone safe travels back to wherever you call home. As the dust is settling, let’s reflect on some of the key takeaways from this year’s event.

First, we should all have a clear understanding of the VMware vision – One Cloud, Any Application, Any Device. With VMware’s Unified Hybrid Cloud strategy the focus is clearly on bringing private and public clouds together in a single, seamless entity that is the future of how applications are delivered. This vision is extended by the Cloud-Native Apps toolset including VMware vSphere Integrated Containers and VMware Photon Platform. We also saw the official release of EVO SDDC (formerly EVO:RACK), which will accelerate our customers’ ability to deliver a true hybrid cloud based on the VMware Software Defined Data Center model.

The other narrative being established is that VMware is not just about virtual machines. VMware is providing thought leadership and innovation to the industry as these next-generation technologies mature and go to market. Customers want options and VMware is keen to provide those options while also using its lineage and support to create palatable products for enterprise-class customers. But VMware has not forgotten about the other end of the spectrum as it introduced the Virtual SAN (VSAN) 6.1 release. Among the many new features comes support for two-node clusters for SMB and ROBO applications.

As VMworld has entered into its 12th year, one might say that some of its luster is gone. But if you look at the anticipation, attendance and continually vibrant ecosystem of partners, competitors and customers, it is clear that VMworld remains one of the marquee events in our industry. Next year the event will be held in Las Vegas to the delight of many attendees who have enjoyed San Francisco the past few years but are looking for a change of scenery for 2016.

Also, we can take a look at TAM-specific events that took place throughout the week to see excitement levels and engagements were at an all-time high. TAM Day was the largest yet, and customers continually tell us that TAM Day is the single most valuable day of the VMworld event. But TAM Customer Central was not to be dismissed; product managers and engineers were trying to get added to the agenda even after the event had started. This illustrates the incredible importance of TAM customer interactions, not only to customers, but also to VMware. Customer feedback is invaluable and TAM customers really are partners who shape the products!

Our first NSX TAM booth at TAM Customer Central was well received despite the fact that it was not directly or heavily promoted. Nevertheless, we did conduct in-depth NSX discussions with six customers who were quite valuable. We had planned for 30-minute discussions; however, most went on for at least an hour due to customer interest and engagement. The process enabled us to collect NSX Readiness Assessment input and then have an immediate discussion with the customer about the findings. The team was able to have very focused conversations around NSX and network virtualization challenges, and highlight the expertise the NSX TAM service can deliver. The customer was also provided a copy of the analysis delivered to their email while the analysis was underway.

Finally, there were quite a few TAMs who presented sessions and also provided blogs, analysis, and plain old great customer service during the event. Many TAMs stayed right with their customers – abusing their pedometers while still maintaining a high level of energy! It’s easy to see that TAMs love their job and customers, and are outstanding thought leaders and strategic resources.

In summary, VMworld was a stage where the traditional vSphere announcements were overshadowed by Cloud-Native Apps and the One Cloud, Any Application, Any Device mantra. The market has been changing, and VMware is showing that it is working hard to adapt itself while staying true to its core and customers. We’ll see some additional announcements in about a month’s time as VMworld heads to Barcelona in October. But for now we all get to take a breath and reflect on the value that these recent announcements can add to our own organization.


Adam is currently a TAM for VMware who works with a small number of large Enterprise & Government customers as a consultant within the VMware Professional Services Organization (PSO). Adam provides technical guidance and advocacy to his customers and provides customers access to exclusive content, access to road maps & product managers, as well as being the single point of contact for everything VMware-related. He currently holds VCAP-DCA, VCAP-DCD, VCAP-DTD, EMCISA, and several Cisco Data Center Specialist certifications. Connect with Adam on LinkedIn.

VMworld 2015: Day 3 –TAM Customer Central Sessions

It’s tough to believe that VMworld US 2015 has nearly come to a close. Tonight, we’ll celebrate our experience with our customers at AT&T Park during the Customer Appreciation Event. Throughout the conference, we’ve had some great sessions and Wednesday was no exception. Today we heard from experts regarding the newly announced EVO SDDC solution, as well as discussed current and future options for vCenter High Availability.

EVO SDDC Best Practices

Presented by Anil Kapur, EVO SDDC Product Management and Jason Lochhead, EVO SDDC CTO, this session focused on the processes and automated best practice configurations that are built into EVO SDDC. Anil presented to a small, but very engaged group, and collected feedback from the audience throughout the presentation that will be used to prioritize the next round of automated services.

Anil highlighted the major challenges for customers implementing SDDC as the up-front setup, the bring-up and lifecycle management. The problem is that configuring a workload domain is non-trivial and complex, and that’s where EVO automation comes in. EVO SDDC is designed to work with EVO Racks, and automates the more common and time-consuming configuration activities. During the session, he showed a demo illustrating the process for creating an IaaS workload domain. The current built-in best practices handles IaaS, Big Data and VDI workload domain configurations.

Utilizing the EVO SDDC Manager UI, Anil was able to quickly define the availability, performance and security requirements from a list of dropdown parameters. These parameters, in turn, select, acquire and deploy the correct resources to meet the defined requirements automatically. Policies are then set automatically from the standard choices. For example, availability can be configured from simple requirements like Low redundancy, Normal redundancy and two levels of High redundancy. Behind the scenes, the automation allocates, configures and enables the appropriate resources to meet these availability requirements.

Anil also went through scenarios showing examples for a typical EVO Rack configuration and how to scale out the workload domains.

It appears the first workload domain automated best practices were right on the mark, as a poll of the attendees revealed that IaaS and SQL configurations were identified as the first and second most time intensive tasks, respectively.

Anil asked for suggestions from the audience about what other tasks they would consider their next challenges on SDDC. The number one response was Internet App Logic workloads, and overwhelmingly, the audience agreed that the ability to standardize and maintain consistent workload builds was the most important to them.

Keep EVO SDDC on your radar! More best practices for automation to standardize and save time are on the way!

vCenter High Availability

Madhup Gulati, VMware Product Manager for vCenter, discussed the current toolset and options for providing High Availability to vCenter in vSphere 6. There were quite a few interesting exchanges between Madhup and the audience regarding who was comfortable with the current options and who wanted better tools and capabilities. This initial discussion also showed that very few customers are using Oracle as the external database for vCenter, and also that quite a few customers are at least testing the vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA). In general, however, customers agreed that they wanted more capabilities to protect their vCenters.

Throughout the session we also discussed High Availability, specifically for the Platform Services Controller (PSC). The PSC is a critical component because it contains the Single Sign On (SSO) feature. Therefore, if there is a PSC failure, user and solution authentication will not be possible creating substantial usability issues within vSphere. Madhup reviewed PSC replication capabilities and the high availability topologies included supported load balancers. Finally, he provided a roadmap of what will be coming in future releases, which were very well received.

This session was very interactive and provided many insights into customers’ requirements and challenges as the criticality of vCenter and the Platform Services Controller has steadily increased. The audience learned how to better protect these components in vSphere 6 as well as the exciting new features coming in future releases.

Be sure to follow @VMwareTAM for all of the latest news, tips, and event information!

VMworld 2015: Day 2 –TAM Customer Central Sessions

Everything You Wanted to Know About VMware + Openstack

A TAM Deep Dive session titled “Everything You Wanted to Know About VMware + Openstack” was delivered today to a TAM audience of about 30 attendees. Arvind Soni, VMware Product Line Manager, presented this session to show how aligning the desire for an open vendor-neutral ecosystem combined with VMware’s leading datacenter technology can help IT differentiate and enable deployment. The key message was that VMware is delivering Openstack awareness to its datacenter products to support Openstack innovation while providing a foundation of tools that build on existing operational skills, knowledge and experience.

Arvind posed this common question to the attendees: “What is the best technology to pair with Openstack?” His answer was simply, whatever technology you know best and know how to operate. The biggest benefit of the VMware Integrated Openstack (VIO) is that it provides that Openstack experience on the VMware systems management tools.

Arvind noted that VIO is VMware’s implementation of Openstack which includes the VMware drivers, optimized reference architecture and integrated tools, to drive responsive support for customers using Openstack. By providing a VMware implementation, we can make support issues impacting our customers a priority – something that may not be the priority from the Openstack community. In his response to a question regarding the lag-time between Openstack updates and VIO implementation, Arvind suggested a goal of 5-6 months, depending on the size and scope of changes.

Additionally, Arvind outlined some of the key benefits of VIO 2.0, which simplifies Openstack deployment, integrates SDDC differentiation and features, as well as provides a production-ready, secure and supportable environment.

Finally, Arvind showed a few demos to illustrate the VIO implementation process and the upgrade enhancements being delivered in VIO 2.0.   VIO 2.0 is expected to be generally available by the end of Q3.

HTML5-based ESXi Host Client (TAM6762)

Today, Will Pien, VMware Sr. Product Manager for ESXi, provided our audience an overview of why the HTML5-based ESXi Host Client was being developed. The audience immediately became engaged, and we discussed some of the missing features in the existing fling along with the roadmap into 2016. We also discussed the priorities and development strategies the team is working with in order to better understand some of the tradeoffs that are being dealt with.

While most of the audience hadn’t yet used the ESXi Host Client Fling, Will went into a live demo to show a few of the functionality features such as licensing, host services, and VM functions. The general audience feedback was that the UI was familiar to those who had been using the vSphere Web Client and also intuitive. One of the “crowd favorite” features that is already available, is that any object within the Host Client such as VMs, Datastores, or Performance Charts are able to be bookmarked in the browser. This feature enables a user to go directly to that object without having to navigate through the rest of the Host Client that enhances the operations efficiency of an admin. Customers in attendance were looking forward to the additional functionality that would be forthcoming in updates to the fling.

Will also discussed when the fling would graduate to be a part of the product and everyone was happy on that timeline including the pace of development.

You can find more information on the HTML5-based ESXi Host Client here.

vSphere 6 Web Client and the Future

Dennis Lu, VMware Sr. Product Manager, and Yavor Boychev, VMware Manager R&D joined a packed room in TAM Customer Central this morning to talk about the current state of the vSphere Web Client and some things we will likely see in the future.

With the release of vSphere 6 and the vSphere 6 Web Client, customer feedback has been very favorable.  Of the improvements made in vSphere 6, a few get mentioned more than others.  First, the new Web Client significantly reduced the complexity of the action menus.  We have flattened the menus and grouped similar actions together. This makes the action menus more intuitive and more what customers are used to seeing in the legacy vCenter Client.

Also popular, the UI was tweaked to allow customer to change the layout of the Web Client.  Now, users are able to click on a widget or on a pane and drag it around, allowing you to customize the UI to your preference.  These UI customizations are persistent for the specific client where you make the changes, across sessions.  These are unique for each system, so you can set up your desktop UI differently from your laptop UI for example.

Lastly, in addition to the UI improvements – performance and responsiveness of the vSphere 6 Web Client has greatly improved over past iterations.  In the examples shown on-screen during the session, summary view and action menu response times have improved many times over.

Looking to the future of the vSphere Web Client, there was some really exciting news.  As mentioned earlier, the HTML5 vSphere Host Client for ESXi has been totally rewritten in HTML and JavaScript (no Flash!), and is served directly from the ESXi host.  The look and feel of the future vSphere Web Client will appear very similar to what you are used to seeing today in the current web client but the performance will be greatly improved.  If you are interested in seeing more about the development of the vSphere Web Client, we invite you to visit Dennis Lu‘s unofficial wiki where you can learn more and help shape the future direction of the client.

If you missed this TAM Customer Central session and you’d like to hear more, please attend the following session, presented by Dennis Lu and Yavor Boychev.

vSphere Web Client – Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (ID INF5093)

Wednesday September 2nd at 11am, Moscone West Level 2, Rm 2020