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Nick Fritsch

VMware Skyline Announcements at VMworld 2018

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We are excited to announce new features coming to VMware Skyline. We recently announced VMware vSAN support with the release of Skyline Collector 1.4. In addition to adding vSAN support, we shared some of the new proactive findings added to Skyline. You can read more about vSAN proactive support and review the new proactive findings

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VMware Skyline Announcements at VMworld 2018

Read full post . . . or http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/VmwareKnowledgebaseBlog/~3/HtxOMbE3j0E/vmware-skyline-announcements-at-vmworld-2018.html

We are excited to announce new features coming to VMware Skyline. We recently announced VMware vSAN support with the release of Skyline Collector 1.4. In addition to adding vSAN support, we shared some of the new proactive findings added to Skyline. You can read more about vSAN proactive support and review the new proactive findings

The post VMware Skyline Announcements at VMworld 2018 appeared first on VMware Support Insider.

VMware Skyline at VMworld US 2018

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Last year at VMworld US, Pat Gelsinger announced VMware Skyline, a new proactive support technology. This year, at VMworld US in Las Vegas, we have an amazing amount of proactive support sessions and opportunities for you to learn more about Skyline. There are sessions, Hands-On Labs, meet the expert opportunities and more planned for VMworld

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vSAN Proactive Support with VMware Skyline

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We are excited to announce the introduction of vSAN proactive support in VMware Skyline. Customers utilizing vSAN will receive proactive findings that identify potential issues for vSAN. In order to enable vSAN proactive support in Skyline, customers must upgrade to Skyline Collector 1.4. The Release Notes for Skyline Collector 1.4 can be found here.

To upgrade to Skyline Collector 1.4, either enable Auto-Upgrade within Skyline Collector 1.3, or login to the Skyline Collector VAMI and check for and install updates.

VMware Skyline documentation is now available on VMware Docs. Visit VMware Docs for instructions to enable Auto-Upgrade or manually upgrade your Skyline Collector.

vSAN Proactive Findings

The following are two of the vSAN proactive findings being delivering in Skyline.

Proactive Finding: Internal vSAN Memory (LSOM) or SSD Device Congestion

For this finding, Skyline utilizes the VC_EVENT endpoint to check for the vSAN LSOM congestion state exceeded message. If the congestion state exceeded message is observed by Skyline, this proactive finding will appear within your next Operational Summary Report (OSR).

If a virtual machine, or virtual machines, perform a high number of write operations, write buffers could fill up on flash cache devices. These buffers must be de-staged to magnetic disks in hybrid configurations. De-staging can only be performed at a rate at which the magnetic disks in a hybrid configuration can handle.

vSAN Proactive Finding: vSAN memory or SSD congestion reached threshold limit

VMware Knowledge Base article 2071384 provides you with information to remediate this issue.

Proactive Finding: H730 Mini-Controller running 25.5.3.0005 Firmware may cause vSAN Host Instability

This finding determines if the H730 RAID Controller is being utilized for vSAN. If the H730 RAID Controller is being utilized, Skyline then checks the version of firmware. If the firmware version is 25.5.3.0005, this proactive finding is added to the customer’s Operational Summary Report (OSR).

VMware Knowledge Base (KB) article 52783 is provided within the proactive finding. This KB article provides additional symptoms related to this potential issue, such as specific entries in log files. This issue is resolved in firmware version 25.5.3.0006. Additionally, the link to the PowerEdge RAID Controller H730 support page is provided within the KB article.

If your vSAN environment matches the characteristics detailed in either of these proactive findings, you can expect to see these vSAN proactive findings in your OSR. These are just two examples of the vSAN proactive findings now available within Skyline. There are more vSAN proactive findings available today, and we will continue to add new vSAN proactive findings in the future.

vSAN proactive support with Skyline does not replace vSAN Support Insight. We are continuing to evaluate how to utilize the information available within both Skyline and Support Insight to deliver a single, holistic support experience for our customers.

Additional vSphere Proactive Findings

While we’re on the topic of new proactive findings added to Skyline, I wanted to highlight two vSphere proactive findings added a short-time ago.

Proactive Finding: Network becomes Unavailable with ntg3 Driver on ESXi 6.5

This finding determines if the native ntg3 driver is being used on a passthrough Broadcom Gigabit Ethernet Adapter in your vSphere environment. If it is, it is possible that the network on the ESXi 6.5 host becomes unavailable. To resolve this potential issue, the recommendation is to run the ntg3 driver in legacy mode. As with all of the proactive findings delivered within the Operational Summary Report (OSR), a Knowledge Base (KB) article is provided for your reference. For this particular finding, KB article 2150889 is provided.

Proactive Finding: ESXi 6.5 host fails with PSOD when IPv6 disabled

This finding is interesting because there is no resolution at this time. If you disable IPv6 within ESXi 6.5, the ESXi host could fail with a purple screen of death (PSOD). To workaround this issue, enable IPv6. Additional information, including log excerpts, are provided within KB 2150794.

You’re probably thinking, why would Skyline alert me of a potential issue that does not have a resolution. First, one goal of Skyline is to notify customers of potential issues. In most instances, a resolution is provided for the potential issue. For this finding, a workaround is provided. However, once a resolution is available, customers will be notified that the KB article has been updated, and that a resolution is now available for this potential issue. By better understanding how our customer’s are utilizing our products and services, we can better provide relevant, personalized information and recommendations.

From VMware Docs, how to enable or disable IPv6 on an ESXi host.

Conclusion

We continue to expand the features and functionality available within Skyline. vSAN is the latest product to be added, joining VMware vSphere and VMware NSX. We will be announcing additional features and functionality for Skyline in less than two weeks at VMworld US. If you’re attending VMworld US and want to learn more about proactive support with Skyline, keep an eye out for our upcoming blog post that will provide details for where to find Skyline content at VMworld.

Additionally, follow @VMwareCSE (VMware Customer Support Experience) on Twitter for additional information related to proactive support with Skyline, along with Communities, Intelligent Search, My VMware and other VMware customer support programs.

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vSAN Proactive Support with VMware Skyline

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We are excited to announce the introduction of vSAN proactive support in VMware Skyline. Customers utilizing vSAN will receive proactive findings that identify potential issues for vSAN. In order to enable vSAN proactive support in Skyline, customers must upgrade to Skyline Collector 1.4. The Release Notes for Skyline Collector 1.4 can be found here.

To upgrade to Skyline Collector 1.4, either enable Auto-Upgrade within Skyline Collector 1.3, or login to the Skyline Collector VAMI and check for and install updates.

VMware Skyline documentation is now available on VMware Docs. Visit VMware Docs for instructions to enable Auto-Upgrade or manually upgrade your Skyline Collector.

vSAN Proactive Findings

The following are two of the vSAN proactive findings being delivering in Skyline.

Proactive Finding: Internal vSAN Memory (LSOM) or SSD Device Congestion

For this finding, Skyline utilizes the VC_EVENT endpoint to check for the vSAN LSOM congestion state exceeded message. If the congestion state exceeded message is observed by Skyline, this proactive finding will appear within your next Operational Summary Report (OSR).

If a virtual machine, or virtual machines, perform a high number of write operations, write buffers could fill up on flash cache devices. These buffers must be de-staged to magnetic disks in hybrid configurations. De-staging can only be performed at a rate at which the magnetic disks in a hybrid configuration can handle.

vSAN Proactive Finding: vSAN memory or SSD congestion reached threshold limit

VMware Knowledge Base article 2071384 provides you with information to remediate this issue.

Proactive Finding: H730 Mini-Controller running 25.5.3.0005 Firmware may cause vSAN Host Instability

This finding determines if the H730 RAID Controller is being utilized for vSAN. If the H730 RAID Controller is being utilized, Skyline then checks the version of firmware. If the firmware version is 25.5.3.0005, this proactive finding is added to the customer’s Operational Summary Report (OSR).

VMware Knowledge Base (KB) article 52783 is provided within the proactive finding. This KB article provides additional symptoms related to this potential issue, such as specific entries in log files. This issue is resolved in firmware version 25.5.3.0006. Additionally, the link to the PowerEdge RAID Controller H730 support page is provided within the KB article.

If your vSAN environment matches the characteristics detailed in either of these proactive findings, you can expect to see these vSAN proactive findings in your OSR. These are just two examples of the vSAN proactive findings now available within Skyline. There are more vSAN proactive findings available today, and we will continue to add new vSAN proactive findings in the future.

vSAN proactive support with Skyline does not replace vSAN Support Insight. We are continuing to evaluate how to utilize the information available within both Skyline and Support Insight to deliver a single, holistic support experience for our customers.

Additional vSphere Proactive Findings

While we’re on the topic of new proactive findings added to Skyline, I wanted to highlight two vSphere proactive findings added a short-time ago.

Proactive Finding: Network becomes Unavailable with ntg3 Driver on ESXi 6.5

This finding determines if the native ntg3 driver is being used on a passthrough Broadcom Gigabit Ethernet Adapter in your vSphere environment. If it is, it is possible that the network on the ESXi 6.5 host becomes unavailable. To resolve this potential issue, the recommendation is to run the ntg3 driver in legacy mode. As with all of the proactive findings delivered within the Operational Summary Report (OSR), a Knowledge Base (KB) article is provided for your reference. For this particular finding, KB article 2150889 is provided.

Proactive Finding: ESXi 6.5 host fails with PSOD when IPv6 disabled

This finding is interesting because there is no resolution at this time. If you disable IPv6 within ESXi 6.5, the ESXi host could fail with a purple screen of death (PSOD). To workaround this issue, enable IPv6. Additional information, including log excerpts, are provided within KB 2150794.

You’re probably thinking, why would Skyline alert me of a potential issue that does not have a resolution. First, one goal of Skyline is to notify customers of potential issues. In most instances, a resolution is provided for the potential issue. For this finding, a workaround is provided. However, once a resolution is available, customers will be notified that the KB article has been updated, and that a resolution is now available for this potential issue. By better understanding how our customer’s are utilizing our products and services, we can better provide relevant, personalized information and recommendations.

From VMware Docs, how to enable or disable IPv6 on an ESXi host.

Conclusion

We continue to expand the features and functionality available within Skyline. vSAN is the latest product to be added, joining VMware vSphere and VMware NSX. We will be announcing additional features and functionality for Skyline in less than two weeks at VMworld US. If you’re attending VMworld US and want to learn more about proactive support with Skyline, keep an eye out for our upcoming blog post that will provide details for where to find Skyline content at VMworld.

Additionally, follow @VMwareCSE (VMware Customer Support Experience) on Twitter for additional information related to proactive support with Skyline, along with Communities, Intelligent Search, My VMware and other VMware customer support programs.

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Free Webinar – Proactive Support with VMware Skyline

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Have you been anxiously awaiting your invitation to receive proactive support from VMware?  Or have you received your invitation but haven’t installed the Skyline Collector yet?  Learn more about proactive support with VMware Skyline by joining us for a free 30-minute webinar.

We’re hosting two webinars.  Please register for the webinar that works best for you.

  • Wednesday, July 25th, 9pm Eastern Daylight Time / 6pm Pacific Daylight Time - Register
  • Thursday, July 26th, 10am Eastern Daylight Time / 7am Pacific Daylight Time - Register

First, we’ll provide an overview of VMware Skyline.  Next, We’ll walk through the steps needed to install the Skyline Collector, which is required to receive proactive support.  We’ll also share a sample of the proactive findings and recommendations delivered today with the Operational Summary Report (OSR).  Finally, we’ll answer some of the most common questions about VMware Skyline.  A live Q&A chat session will also be available during the duration of the webinar.

This is your chance to learn more about how proactive support with VMware Skyline is transforming the customer support experience.

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Auto-Upgrade with Skyline Collector 1.3

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We are excited to announce the release of Skyline Collector 1.3. New within version 1.3 is an improved User Interface and the ability to enable automatic upgrades the Skyline Collector for future updates.

The Skyline Collector enables VMware Global Support Services (GSS) to deliver proactive support.  With proactive support, GSS can notify you of potential issues and areas of risk within your vSphere and NSX environments.  Most noteworthy, proactive support is available at no additional cost to customers with an active Production Support or Premier Services contract.

Please sign up for the Managed Access Program if interested in learning more about proactive support.  Premier Services customers should contact their Support Account Manager/Support Account Engineer for information how they can begin receiving proactive support from VMware today.

Improved User Interface

The Skyline Collector administrative interface has been improved to allow for easier navigation and management of the Skyline Collector.  An overview, along with Skyline Collector management capabilities now reside on the System Status page.  Furthermore, you can see the status of each product endpoint.

The new Skyline Collector 1.3 System Status page provides you with more information, allowing you to view the overall health of the appliance in a single-place.

The Configuration page includes the following options:  Add vCenter Server, Add NSX Manager, Proxy, Collector Name, Active Directory and the newly-added Auto-Upgrade.  Next, we’ll share how auto-upgrade works and why you should enable it.

The Skyline Collector 1.3 Configuration Menu

Auto-Upgrade

We continue to work towards making Skyline Collector management as effortless as possible.  New within Skyline Collector 1.3 is the option to enable Auto-Upgrade.  The first step is to enable Auto-Upgrade by toggling the Enable Collector Auto-Upgrade switch to Yes.  Next, you can choose every day or specific day of the week along with time of day for the Collector to automatically upgrade, if any upgrade is available.

Enabling Auto-Upgrade will keep your Skyline Collector virtual appliance up-to-date with all the latest features and capabilities.

In order for Auto-Upgrade to work properly, ensure that the Skyline Collector can reach vapp-updates.vmware.com over port 443.  If Auto-Upgrade is enabled, the Skyline Collector automatically retrieves updates from this address.  If you choose not to enable Auto-Upgrade, the Skyline Collector still needs to be able to reach this address to apply updates.  You can apply updates to the Skyline Collector manually using the Check and Install Updates option within the VAMI.

After each successful auto-upgrade, an email will be sent to the email address that was used to register the Skyline Collector.  This is the My VMware account you entered during the installation and configuration of the Skyline Collector.

Enabling Auto-Upgrade will ensure that your Skyline Collector is always up-to-date, including bug fixes and improvements, such as new VMware product support in the future.  Additionally, this removes the manual task today of logging into the VAMI, checking for updates and if an update is available, installing the update.

Summary

You can take advantage of the new features available within the Skyline Collector by upgrading to 1.3.  After upgrading your Skyline Collector to 1.3, you can enable Auto-Upgrade so that all future updates are automatically applied as they become available.

VMware Skyline enables the delivery of proactive support by VMware Global Support Services (GSS).  Today, customers who have adopted proactive support with VMware Skyline receive an Operational Summary Report (OSR).  Within the OSR, customers are proactively notified of potential risks within their environment.  Additionally, recommendations are provided for how to remediate those potential risks.

VMware Skyline is available globally to Premier Services customers along with a select number of Production Support customers.  If you are interested in receiving proactive support from VMware, show your interest by signing-up for the Managed Access Program.  We will continue to invite customers from the Managed Access Program as we scale proactive support services.  Additionally, you can ask your VMware Account Team for information about how we’re radically transforming the customer support experience.

 

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Proactively Identifying Potential Risk with VMware Skyline

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As part of our goal to continuously improve the customer support experience, Technical Support Engineers (TSEs) can now interactively view the proactive findings and recommendations delivered to customers today within the Skyline Operational Summary Report (OSR). Additionally, within the findings and recommendations, TSEs can view customer environment inventory information along with all Support Requests (SRs) for the particular customer they are assisting. All of this together enables Global Support Services (GSS) to better help our customers. These new capabilities are only available to those customers who have adopted VMware Skyline.

VMware Skyline is available globally to Premier Services customers along with a select number of Production Support customers. If you are interested in receiving proactive support from VMware, show your interest by signing-up for the Managed Access Program. We will continue to invite customers from the Managed Access Program as we scale proactive support services. Additionally, you can ask your VMware Account Team for information about how we’re radically transforming the customer support experience.

Going Beyond Break/Fix

When the circumstances exist that a SR is needed to troubleshoot an issue, TSEs will help the customer resolve the issue. Additionally, they can now review the customer’s proactive findings and recommendations as part of the SR process.

Perhaps the customer experienced an issue that was discovered by Skyline. In that instance, the TSE can immediately assist the customer with determining how many additional objects could be impacted by the same issue. TSEs can now help answer the question, how many more objects could be impacted by the same issue. Furthermore, the recommendation to resolve the issue has already been found, helping expedite the resolution of the issue across all impacted and potentially impacted objects.

Or, if a customer experiences an issue that requires a patch or update, the TSE can review the proactive findings and recommendations to determine if the patch or update required to resolve the original issue, could also resolve additional potential issues. This is not always the case, however, with more information available to TSEs, the better enabled they are to help customers.

Interactive findings and recommendations

Finding Potential Issues

TSEs can now view customer proactive findings and recommendations within a SaaS-based web application. This allows for better search and filter capabilities of findings and recommendations. TSEs can sort by issue severity, quickly looking at all critical findings within a customer’s environment. Or, a TSE can filter for only network-related findings if assisting a customer with a network-related SR. All of this together better enables our TSEs to better serve our customers and assist them beyond just problem resolution.

Technical Support Engineers can sort by issue severity or filter by compute, network or storage

Conclusion

Today, customers who have adopted proactive support with VMware Skyline receive an OSR. Within the OSR, customers are proactively notified of potential risks within their environment. Additionally, recommendations are provided for how to remediate those potential risks. Now, TSEs have this same information at their fingertips and can help customers with understanding potential risk within their VMware environment.

These new enhanced support capabilities are only available to customers who are receiving proactive support with VMware Skyline. This is just one of many steps VMware is taking is radically transform the customer support experience. Additional information about VMware Skyline is below.

Additional Resources

 

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Introducing the Skyline Collector 1.2, Now GDPR Compliant

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We are excited to announce the release of the Skyline Collector 1.2. The Skyline Collector enables VMware Global Support Services (GSS) to deliver proactive support. With proactive support, GSS can notify you of potential issues and areas of risk within your vSphere and NSX environments. Most noteworthy, proactive support is available at no additional cost to customers with an active Production Support or Premier Services contract.

Please sign up for the Managed Access Program if interested in learning more about proactive support. Premier Services customers should contact their Support Account Manager/Support Account Engineer for information how they can begin receiving proactive support from VMware today.

GDPR Compliant

With the release of the Skyline Collector 1.2, Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is no longer sent to VMware as part of the collected product usage data. We identified a few scenarios where usernames and email addresses were collected within the product usage data. Now, with the release of the Skyline Collector 1.2, usernames and passwords are no longer sent to VMware within the collected product usage data.

Personally Identifiable Information (PII) no longer sent to VMware

Personally Identifiable Information (PII) no longer sent to VMware

Furthermore, once upgraded to the Skyline Collector 1.2, we have retroactively removed usernames and email addresses from previously collected product usage data. This completes the process of becoming GDPR compliant with regard to the product usage data collected by the Skyline Collector for the purpose of delivering proactive support.

You are required to upgrade to the Skyline Collector 1.2 to prevent PII from being sent to VMware. As an additional measure, any PII collected from previous versions of the Skyline Collector (1.1.x, 1.0) will be scrubbed from the system on a scheduled basis. For that reason, we recommend upgrading your Skyline Collector to 1.2 as soon as possible. We will be decommissioning earlier versions of the Skyline Collector in the future. Use the VAMI (Appliance Management UI) to check for and install Skyline Collector updates. You can access the VAMI by browsing to the IP address or FQDN of the Collector, port 5480 (i.e. IP address/FQDN:5480)

Check for and Install Updates to the Skyline Collector appliance within the VAMI.

Check for and Install Updates to the Skyline Collector appliance within the VAMI.

NSX Manager

In the past, when configuring NSX for product usage data collection, credentials to both NSX Manager and the NSX Controllers were required. Skyline Collector 1.2 no longer requires direct access to NSX Controllers. For micro-segmentation and vShield endpoint customers, where NSX Controllers are not required, this further simplifies the Skyline Collector configuration process.

Add an NSX Manager wizard within the Skyline Collector 1.2.

Add an NSX Manager wizard within the Skyline Collector 1.2.

The Skyline Collector requires a user with read-only permissions to NSX Manager. NSX Manager has a built-in, read-only role, named Auditor. We recommend creating a user with Auditor role permissions for adding an NSX Manager to the Skyline Collector for collecting product usage data.

Learn More About Skyline

You spoke, we listened. At VMworld 2017, during the Pat Gelsinger and Michael Dell QA session, the first question that was submitted by you, our customers, was regarding improving the overall quality of VMware support. VMware Skyline is just one of the ways we’re using a combination of technology and people to improve our customers’ support experience.

Watch and listen to Pat’s response during the QA session with Michael Dell during the Day 2 General Session at VMworld 2017.

Visit the VMware Skyline Overview page to learn more about proactive support delivered by VMware.

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Skyline – Proactive Recommendations for Issue Avoidance

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VMware Skyline is a proactive support technology that listens for changes, events and patterns within your VMware environment. This information is then analyzed using a robust rules and machine learning engine. Once data analysis has completed, proactive recommendations are provided for each potential issue identified within your environment. These recommendations are based on VMware’s ever-growing library of knowledge that include Knowledge Base articles, Best Practices and Security/Hardening Guidance.

Environment specific information is collected using the Skyline Collector. The Collector is a standalone virtual appliance that connects to product endpoints such as vCenter Server and NSX Manager. You can view an overview for how to download, install and configure the Collector here.

Breakthrough Visibility

Have you ever contacted VMware Global Support Services (GSS) to report that you experienced a purple screen of death (PSOD)? During your conversation with GSS, were you made aware that a patch is already available for the issue? Wouldn’t it have been nice to been made aware of the patch before you experienced the PSOD? Just think about the time and frustration that could’ve been saved if you would’ve been notified of the patch before the PSOD occurred.

With this in mind, Skyline can proactively notify you that your environment displays characteristics that could lead to a PSOD. Additionally, a tailored recommendation for how to prevent the issue from occurring is provided. Ultimately, Skyline well help customers increase the reliability and security of their environments while also reducing time spent resolving break-fix issues.

Sample PSOD Finding within the Operational Summary Report

Sample PSOD Finding within the Operational Summary Report

A complete overview of the Operational Summary Report can be found here.

Save Time and Enhance Security

On the other hand, perhaps security is most important to you. Skyline can proactively identify vCenter Server(s), ESXi hosts and virtual machines that are vulnerable to Spectre/Meltdown. The vulnerable objects (vCenter, ESXi, VMs) are provided to you as Findings within the Operational Summary Report. Each Finding has a corresponding report that details each object identified for the particular issue. The relevant VMware Security Advisory and/or Knowledge Base article are provided within the Recommendations section of the Finding.

Sample Recommendation for Spectre/Meltdown

Sample Recommendation for Spectre/Meltdown

Let’s take a closer look at what is accomplished by utilizing Skyline. First, we’re proactively identifying what objects are impacted. This saves the customer time in manually trying to determine the scope of vulnerable systems. Second, recommendations are tailored and delivered directly to the customer. Customers can quickly begin planning for and remediating vulnerabilities within their environment. Altogether, the scope of vulnerable systems are automatically identified and the information required to secure the environment is provided.

Getting Started with Skyline

If you are interested in Skyline, sign-up via the Managed Access Program. For VMware Premier Support Customers, reach out to your Support Account Manager/Engineer to get started today. Additional information about Skyline can be found here.

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