Learning more about VMware vCenter Support Assistant

Hello all,

This is one of those cool things not enough people are using.  VMware support did a great job producing this very nice little tool.  When I used to work for VMware and visit people I always asked if they used it and almost always they didn’t.  So I have talked a lot of people into using it, but I have not really used it myself.  VMware was never able to figure out how to let me use it – license being required being the issue.  But I am going to show you today more about it.

But first a review – this is a tool designed to make it easier for customers to submit / update service requests with VMware support.  It is also designed to make it easier for them to submit their log files too.  This to make it easier for VMware to support their customers.  It does this and does it well.  But, GSS (VMware Support) wanted to go further.  They wanted to make part of it proactive.  Meaning, let you know you might have an issue before you had that issue.  They wanted to do this through data mining – by using your log files.  And it does that well too.

So simply by installing and configuring the log capture you are ahead of the game.  Look at what I got in the email recently.

ReportEmail screen

So no support incidents submitted, but still it is watching out for me!  Note in the email image above how they have scanned my logs for critical problems – in fact they have updated the number of critical problems they look for to 26.  That is sort of cool – even more cool I have none of them!

So even if you do not wish to use this tool to create or manage support tickets, it can still help you.  So if it is not running, step away right now and get it done.  Chris Wahl has a great article to help with that.  I will wait here for you to return. BTW, with the current GA (1/13/16) when you change the root account password, you will need to restart to have that password work.

Now you have installed the Support Assistant and configured it to grab your logs you will get an email monthly like you see above.  But now you can create support tickets much easier than in the past too. Lets look at that but lets start first at the beginning – just in case it helps.  We will submit a support case about vC below but the process will be same for any product.

You can find vCenter Support Assistant on the vSphere Web Client home screen (only in the Web Client).

home

Now we need to change to the Manage tab.

manage

Now change to the Support Requests tab.  You will see something like below.

manage sr

We want to use the Create button.

manage sr2

You will need to first chose an Account.  In smaller companies that is pretty easy, and in bigger companies it may be harder.  This is the My VMware account you have attached your licenses too.  Once you have selected that you select the product – if you don’t see your product, the product serial number is not associated with your My VMware account.  Talk to your License admin.  On the next screen you will need to fill in a description for the issue.

descript

Now you have the opportunity to configure additional details.  Confirm that Severity, and Problem category are correct.  Add additional notes to the appropriate field as necessary.  Be brief, but provided good details.

moredescription

On the next screen you need to update your contact information – normally though it should be right.

contact

Now when you select the Create Request button you will have an active SR.  See below what that looks like.

sr

I like to use the Yes – Upload option because I know the logs really help the GSS people to help me.

Now you will be prompted for selecting which hosts to upload logs from.

collect

I generally send all logs as I am not sure where the issues really are, and in some cases the logs for a product are in a lot of different places.  So leave the settings as they are if you can and on the next screen you can see something like below.

whatlogs

I do not normally change any settings on this screen but you might one day be prompted by a GSS operator to do this.  But normally make no changes and hit Next.

sendinglogs

You now can, if it makes sense, to Start Collection and Upload.

You will see a new window popup to show you the status of the upload.

uploadstatus

 

UpdatedLogUpdated

When it finishes the upload you will see something like below.  I would like to mention that in the middle of one upload I accidentally closed the browser.  I started it again, and updated the SR and added to files to be uploaded.  At that time I saw a window like above, but it told me it was going to finish the first upload, than do the second.  So it all worked out great.

upload success

You are now done.  Your SR is created, and logs created.  The bad news is you likely had a screenshot to upload.  Where did you have a chance to do that?  Down below you are shown how to check the status of an SR.  On one of those screens you will have the options to Attach Logs, Upload Attachments, or even Request to Close SR.  You could use the Upload Attachments to attach screenshots to.

You can check on the status using the other button View or Modify.

manage sr

Now you select the SR you need to update or check on.

SelectSR

Highlight the SR in question, easy in my case, and use the Details button at the bottom right of the screen.  You will see a screen like the one below.

details

You can toggle between the Overview, Comments and Correspondence tabs.  Also note at the bottom left you can Attach Logs, Upload Attachments, or even Request to Close SR.  When you are complete you can use the Close button in the bottom right.  Any screenshots you have to share you can use with the Upload Attachments option.

If you change to the Comments tab you will see something like below.

detailscomments

You can add comments to the SR.  This is better I think than sending emails if that can work for you.  More immediate, and less issues with email problems.  If you check out the Correspondence tab you will see any email history.  Something like below.

detailscorrespondance

If you use the Request to Close you will see something like below.

close

Links

Chris Wahl install help – http://wahlnetwork.com/2014/01/30/test-driving-vmware-vcenter-support-assistant/

Download – http://www.vmware.com/go/download-vcenter-support-assistant

Overview – https://www.vmware.com/products/vcenter-support-assistant/overview.html

Cert error after re-install – https://notesfrommwhite.net/2016/02/13/after-install-of-support-assistant-trying-to-configure-gets-long-red-error/

Update

    • 8/2/16 – Went through most of this with 6.0.2.1 and the issue with Chrome and FF does not occur any longer.
    • 2/13/16 – add a link to my article where a config or reconfig has an cert issue.
    • 2/10/16 – should add that current Chrome and Firefox will not connect to the admin UI – security issue – and yet Safari still does.  Think IE does too.
    • 1/13/16 – added the info that with 6.0 you need to restart the VM after you change the root password.
    • 11/3/15 – the info above will help with v6 of Support Assistant.  I did have a consistent problem with it in that I got a security issue about a week public key and so both Chrome and FireFox would not connect with the admin console.  However, turns out Internet Explorer would connect no issue.
    • 9/16/15 – increased the size of images to make them more usable.

 

As always, comments or questions welcome.

Michael

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