One of the many things we do as TAMs is ensure that our customers don’t have “shelfware” lying around. If we spend money on something, we want to use it, right? What about software or tools that are free or included as part of a purchase, but are not well publicized? As we start a new year, I thought it would be a great idea to introduce some of these free or lesser-known tools, to give them a little time in the spotlight and hopefully help you get even more value out of your VMware® investments.
By Philip Bardaville
When you have a problem that needs immediate attention, successful uploads of logs from your system are the best way to a speedy resolution. I’ve laid out, below, some best practices that you will find useful.
Firstly, be proactive. Always open a support ticket immediately with VMware either via the web, your vCenter Support Assistant, or phone, and start collecting log bundles. Once you’re done, upload these to your support request number. This saves time, as the technician on our side can get to your request quicker. The “first touch” on a ticket is typically requesting logging information. If you have already done that, you can move forward more quickly.
The “End of General Support” Date Does Not Mean “Not Supported”
When customers hear the term “End of General Support” relating to products they use, you can see the anxiety on their face. While there are many benefits to maintaining up-to-date software, if a product in use slips past the End of General Support date, it isn’t the end of the world.
This topic is relevant because a few major VMware products will transition through various support phases in the next couple of months.
- ESX and ESXi 4 Technical Guidance ends on May 21, 2016
- vSphere 5.0/5.1 products go End of General Support on Aug 24, 2016
- Horizon View 5.x goes End of General Support on Sept 14, 2016
What does this mean for a company using these products? You can read all about VMware Lifecycle Support Phases on the VMware website, but this blog post will summarize the basics for customers who are unfamiliar with this information.
General Support Phase
In the General Support phase, a product is fully supported in accordance with VMware Support and Subscription Terms and Conditions. Customers can get technical assistance for products by telephone, e-mail or web via the MyVMware portal, maintenance updates and upgrades, security/bug fixes, support for new hardware and more.
Technical Guidance Phase
Once the End of General Support date passes, products typically enter the Technical Guidance phase.
Technical Guidance is available primarily through the self-help portal, and telephone support is not provided. Customers should open a support request online via the MyVMware portal to receive support. Technical Guidance consists of the following (and is also shown in the Lifecycle Support Summary table below):
- Email support for support requests at all severity levels
- Existing bug fixes and security patches
- Work-around assistance for Severity 2, 3 and 4 support requests
- Continued access to self-help resources, knowledge base and community forums
What is not included (but was previously available during the General Support Phase) is:
- Phone support
- New bug fixes
- New security/software patches
- Support for new hardware
Again, during the Technical Guidance phase, there is support for existing patches and security fixes only—no new patches will be developed for products outside of the General Support phase. During this phase, VMware does not offer new hardware support, server/client/guest OS updates, new security patches or bug fixes unless otherwise noted.
End of Support Life (EOSL)
As the Technical Guidance phase for products comes to an end, so will all support from VMware Global Support Services (GSS). Some self-help resources will continue to be available (Knowledge Base, Community Forums), but you will no longer be able to open VMware support requests through the MyVMware support portal.
(lifecycle support summary – https://www.vmware.com/support/policies/lifecycle.html)
What Do I Do Next?
DON’T STOP HERE. Review the VMware Product Lifecycle Matrix for products you are using that have support milestones coming up. Site Recovery Manager, vCloud Networking and Security, vCloud Automation Center, Update Manager and many other products hit support milestones in 2016. If you have a Technical Account Manager (TAM) assigned to your account, they will develop a comprehensive plan for dealing with upgrades this year and into the future.
VMware Product Lifecycle Matrix
The Lifecycle Product Matrix lists all VMware products, and shows milestones and dates of General Availability (GA), End of General Support, End of Technical Guidance and End of Availability. The matrix also includes the Lifecycle Policy that governs each software product.
Rob joined VMware in 2013 as a Senior Technical Account Manager based in Dallas, TX. Having 25 years experience in the IT field, he received his VCP2 in 2006 and has been focused on VMware-based solutions ever since. When he isn’t working, Rob enjoys basketball, golf and corralling his three elementary school-aged kids. Connect with Rob on LinkedIn.