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The Self-Service Automated Cloud Arrives

Providing what it labels as "self-service cloud automation", Seattle-based Skytap has ramped up its core offering this week with additional management features for robust virtual private networking. Incremental functions for virtualized computing environments now include advanced notification services, self-healing automation capabilities and support for Open Virtualization Format (OVF).

Focused on both public and hybrid cloud categories, Skytap is aiming to capture a voice among business users as well as offering the "visibility and control" required by IT professionals. The company justifies the need for its fine tuning control products by citing statements from Gartner saying that the cloud has moved on; where we were initially concerned with what the cloud is and how will it impact business, we now seek to understand what applications are ideal candidates for different cloud models.

Gartner analyst Cameron Haight states that, "What we are observing are that many enterprises are leveraging public and even hybrid cloud models for low-risk scenarios that still require placement flexibility such as development and testing, product demonstrations, and technical training."

Skytap's advanced notification service provides real-time alerts when end users or groups reach configurable utilization levels of cloud computing capacity. Examples include "administrator defined thresholds" for available storage, compute, and networking capacity that are assigned as quotas to specific end users or teams. 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.

According to Skytap, "Real-time notification rules are intuitive to set up and flexible. Businesses benefit from increased control and visibility on cloud usage and costs so that they can proactively avoid the 'end-of-month' surprise bill. Automated notifications ultimately help to align end users and IT operations on the common goal of being resource efficient and to control costs."

The company has also extended its secure networking intelligence by automatically detecting VPN connections that may periodically disconnect or fail to reconnect properly and reconnecting available VPN connections with the Skytap hybrid cloud environment. The company says that this self-healing automation ensures that a Skytap cloud remains available and securely connected to private data centers, while reducing service interruption and the need to manually troubleshoot periodic VPN connectivity issues.

Skytap also now supports Open Virtualization Format (OVF), an open standard for packaging and distributing virtual machines (VMs) and software. OVF enables the distribution of enterprise software by automating the import and installation of existing workloads and virtualized configurations between private, hybrid, and public cloud infrastructures. Support of OVF is generally agreed to ease VM portability and decrease platform dependence by enabling users to leverage a common set of tools across virtual environments.

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