The VMware Customer Experience Improvement Program is a new feature that was introduced with the latest release of vCenter Server 5.5 Update 2 (vCenter Server for Windows & the VCSA). This feature provides the following per the documentation:
If you choose to participate in the Customer Experience Improvement Program (Program), VMware receives anonymous information to improve the quality, reliability, and functionality of VMware products and services. VMware wants to understand better your vSphere deployment and business needs, and improve VMware response to customer requirements. You can choose to participate in the Program for vSphere at any time.
In my opinion, this has been needed for quite some time now. If you have ever installed any consumer based software, there is usually an option that allows customers to provide basic telemetry data back to the vendor so that they can better understand how the product is being used and more importantly leverage that data to help improve the product and features future.
The process of collecting basic telemetry (sometimes also known as phone home) is not a new concept in the Enterprise. In fact, for those of you who manage a storage array, this has been a standard practice for many many years now where every night, the storage array sends back a variety of telemetry data that may include performance information, utilization, logs, etc. to the vendors HQ. This data is then analyzed and the vendor maybe able to sport trends of a potential issue and proactively alert customers to take action before a problem even arises. Michael White has also recently written about the topic here which I recommend a read as well.
There are four categories of data that is being collected:
If you wish to learn more about what is being collected and how to view the data before it is sent, please take a look at the documentation here.
One thing I had noticed when deploying the latest VCSA 5.5 Update 2 is that there is now an option to enable the Customer Experience Improvement Program and of course I was interested in automating this configuration as part of my VCSA deployment script.
Telemetry data collection modes:
read : read and return the current status of the collector
enable : enables the telemetry data collection
disable : disables the telemetry data collection
To enable the Customer Experience Improvement Program as part of the VCSA setup, you must enable it after vpxd (vCenter Server) has started. Here is the modified VCSA configuration shell script:
echo "Accepting EULA ..."
/usr/sbin/vpxd_servicecfg eula accept
echo "Configuring Embedded DB ..."
/usr/sbin/vpxd_servicecfg db write embedded
echo "Configuring SSO ..."
/usr/sbin/vpxd_servicecfg sso write embedded
echo "Starting VCSA ..."
/usr/sbin/vpxd_servicecfg service start
echo "Configuring VC Telemetry ..."
/usr/sbin/vpxd_servicecfg telemetry enable
If you decide not to enable this feature during the initial deployment or if you have upgraded from an existing vCenter Server, this feature can also be enabled after the fact. To do so, you will need to login to your vCenter Server using the vSphere Web Client and under the Settings tab of your vCenter Server, there is an option to enable or disable the Customer Experience Improvement Program
Hopefully customers will see the benefit and value in joining the VMware Customer Experience Improvement Program and over time, I think you will start to see some really neat benefits for those who participate in this program.