By Neil Isserow
As a VMware TAM, I get involved in the most critical aspects of my customers’ solutions. I am often the first person my customers turn to when they have a problem, an idea, or have trouble integrating our products with another solution. Most of our problems are easily identified and can be resolved with a solution available via a Knowledge Base article or a VMware patch. In the rarest of cases, the problem requires a fix that will be included in a patch to be released.
Sometimes, the problem is that the customers’ solution and ours do not fit, even though they are meant to. This can happen for a multitude of reasons, but can usually be traced back to a different method being implemented by each vendor or customer. Two different implementation methods can each be technically correct – but still not match up.
This was the case with a recent customer who had an implementation and integration issue with one of our products. There was no bug or issue with our software. It was implemented according to the recommended guidelines. In this particular instance, however, the customer did not meet one of the third-party integration requirements. This was totally within the parameters of the solution, and the problem could not have been foreseen.
So what we ended up with was two solutions—both implemented correctly—that could not integrate. Think of it like this: You are building a tunnel from one side of a lake, and someone else is building a tunnel from the other side. The tunnels are supposed to meet in the middle and join to form a single tunnel. Both tunnel operators are working from the correct set of specifications for their tunnel system and both meet in the middle as planned. However, it turns out that the specification used on one side is for a type of tunnel joint that differs from the type specified on the other side, even though both of these are considered correct by the tunnel manufacturer. You meet in the middle perfectly, but cannot join the two tunnel pieces together. What do you do?
Well, I don’t really have an answer for the tunnel builders, but I would hope that if they both had TAMs (Tunnel Architecture Managers?) they would both go back to their manufacturers and work on a solution to make the tunnel pieces fit.
As the customers’ advocate, I provided VMware with all of the required information on how and why we were not able to do the final integration, and what was missing. This was provided as an Enhancement Request. As such, it went through a process that gave us an understanding of the difficulty, need, requirements, and cost of providing a potential one-off solution for the customer. As the customer advocate, I worked with both VMware and the customer and mediated between them to find the best solution that would work for both parties.
In the end, VMware created an enhancement for the customer. This was the easiest solution for the customer to implement and it did not disrupt their schedule or solution in any way. This was a most agreeable outcome for the customer and also for VMware, as we now had a happy customer.
This is just one of many reasons why our customers choose VMware and a VMware TAM.
Neil Isserow is a Team Lead TAM for VMware based in California.