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Skytap Continues Public Cloud Onslaught

Skytap, which provides self-service cloud automation solutions to approximately 150 midmarket customers, has updated its offering with notification services, self-healing automation capabilities for virtual private networking and support for Open Virtualization Format (OVF). The company's intent is to make cloud computing easier to use for business users, while offering the visibility and control required by IT professionals.

In September, the company announced automation innovations, with tools that could deliver cost savings of as much as 70%, if not more. Skytap also released a new set of solutions to bring management simplicity and federation to clouds of all shapes and sizes.

According to recent data from IDC, cloud computing will continue to reshape the IT landscape during the next five years. Spending on public IT cloud services expands at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27.6%, from $21.5 billion in 2010 to $72.9 billion in 2015.

The latest additions include a notification service that provides real-time alerts when end users or groups reach configurable utilization levels of cloud computing capacity. Notifications can also be set based on total virtual machine hours or the number of total hours that any given virtual configuration has been continuously running.

Extensions to Skytap's secure networking intelligence automatically detect VPN connections that may periodically disconnect or fail to reconnect properly, and reconnects available VPN connections with the Skytap hybrid cloud environment. The support for the OVF open standard for packaging and distributing virtual machines (VMs) and software eases VM portability and decreases platform dependence by enabling users to leverage a common set of tools across virtual environments. OVF will complement the company's existing support for the Virtual Machine Disk (VMDK) file format from VMware.

Skytap’s new cloud capabilities provide users with improved visibility and thus control over their costs, says Cameron Haight, research VP, IT operations management, Gartner. "Notifications can be set that enable consumers to be alerted to resource consumption thresholds being breached. This is important because oftentimes the justification for using, for example, public clouds is at least partially derived from cost savings. Inefficient usage could make those potential savings evaporate."

Haight says the cloud service market is being driven primarily by cost and agility, or time to provision. He thinks users in general of public cloud services should welcome this increased visibility especially in these challenging economic times where IT expenses are under continuous review.

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