Watch, Learn, Understand

Conducting a contextual inquire on the vSphere administrator greatly shaped the future of the vSphere Client.

Key Research Areas

Overall Framework

Navigation, object and workflow relationships, user roles.


Managing physical and virtual storage objects such as SANs, datastores, LUNs, etc.


Managing physical and virtual networking objects such as switches, networks, and port groups.

Research Method

Five customers were visited for 1-2 days across the US and Canada. Users were observed and asked specific questions from a research script. Artifacts such as networking schematics, photos, and user quotes were collected.

"Network admin configures and installs the physical switches"
- sample observation

Analysis Method

Over 1400 observations or user statements were printed on post it notes and an affinity diagram was created. The final diagram was captured in a custom built tool for easy reference.


The study resulted in many findings that greatly shaped the direction of vSphere.

Sample of Key Findings and Themes

  • Administrators work in highly interrupt driven environments. Plans for a day can change drastically with one ticket.
  • Users create elaborate and highly custom naming conventions to manage objects in their environments.
  • Sr administrators want to off-load simple tasks to Jr administrators without risking errors.
  • Tasks can be grouped into management tasks and monitoring tasks.
  • Many more.