VMware Skyline

In the last few weeks I discovered and subsequently deployed the VMware product Skyline. My understanding is it isn’t new but it somehow passed me by so I was pleased to find out about it.

If you too are just hearing about Skyline and wonder what it is…I would describe it an automated support tool by VMware which can proactively identify issues on your estate. It is free to use as long as you have an active Premier Services or Production Support contract. From my short time using it I can see it being a great time saver in identifying risks in my environment. It reminded me of NetApps Active IQ product.

Skyline currently provides feedback on the following VMware products, vSphere, NSX and vSAN and my understanding is more products will be added in the future.

There are 3 components to the product. Collector, Advisor and Log Assist

VMware Skyline Collector – This is virtual appliance that is installed in the environment. It automatically pulls all the information from vCenter and securely uploads it to VMware. Install couldn’t be simpler and the instructions provided guide you through without issue. Please note it takes 48 hours for information to appear on the dashboard so you need be patient.

VMware Skyline Advisor – This is where all the information that is being uploaded turns into helpful recommendations that you can act upon. It is a webpage provided by VMware. After the 48 hour wait period the information is populated into the Proactive Findings tab and you can start digging into the feedback.

VMware Skyline Home tab
On the Home tab of VMware Skyline Advisor there is a helpful instructional video and links to all the resources
VMware Skyline Proactive Findings tab
The Proactive Findings tab is extremely useful. This is where it lists out all the potential issues found in your environment. The page is clear and each of the alerts can be click into.
View within an example alert
View when clicking into an alert. It gives an explanation plus links to the associated KB article. It also lists out the affected components which is great for helping your patch planning

VMware Log Assist – This is the last tab on the webpage. This enables an easier way of uploading support logs to VMware and also allows a VMware TSE to request log bundles which can be approved by the customer. I haven’t been able to test this but if it works as expected it will save a lot of time getting the correct information to VMware when that can be a particular pain point.

View of Log Assist tab
Example of the Log Assist tab. Note the Initiate and Request tabs.

For people with security concerns VMware assures that all information is transferred over an encrypted channel and stored in a US based repository operated by VMware.

Here is a link to VMware webpage on Skyline

Here is a link to the VMware Skyline Documentation Centre

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