Skytap, the Seattle based company which was originally focussed on Lab automation, has announced some features more suitable for enterprise customers. Enterprises today are much more open to cloud adoption than, say, one year back. Slowly, companies focussing on infrastructure are adding more and more features that will make their offering more attractive to enterprises.

I have been following Skytap for the past two years and they are clearly trying to evolve from their Lab automation days to position themselves as a full scale cloud provider targeting enterprises. Today, Skytap announced a set of new features called Skytap Groups. This will enable organizations to model their own organizational structure in Skytap cloud. This will let organizational managers create groups based on their needs and give role based permissions to the Skytap cloud. In short, it is possible to set up a virtual datacenter much like their own datacenter.

Skytap Groups is much similar to how Salesforce.com lets organizations manage territorial teams. This lets companies organize users based on their specific role in the organization, geographic location, or business unit. For example, IT can now create separate group for developers, testers, architects, etc. with a fine grained control so that different members of the group have different levels of permissions. Each of these groups can be invited to a project where role-specific templates and assets are organized. According to Brad Schick, vice president of engineering at Skytap, this release represents another milestone in our quest to make Skytap the most configurable virtual data center solution available. As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, their planned evolution to full scale cloud service provider requires such deeper level controls to IT admins.

Skytap is at an interesting point right now. The talk among the Clouderati is about infrastructure services fading away while PaaS gains the momentum. At the same time, we are also seeing increased adoption by cloud infrastructure services by the enterprises. While their moves are very well suited for this short term enterprise needs, I am not sure how they will shape up in a PaaS based world. It will be interesting to see their evolution beyond offering a full virtual datacenter solutions.

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Krishnan Subramanian

Krish dons several avatars including entrepreneur in exile, analyst cum researcher, technology evangelist, blogger, ex-physicist, social/political commentator, etc.. My main focus is research and analysis on various high impact topics in the fields of Open Source, Cloud Computing and the interface between them. I also evangelize Open Source and Cloud Computing in various media outlets, blogs and other public forums. I offer strategic advise to both Cloud Computing and Open Source providers and, also, help other companies take advantage of Open Source and Cloud Computing. In my opinion, Open Source commoditized software and Cloud Computing commoditized computing resources. A combination of these two developments offers a strong competitive advantage to companies of all sizes and shapes. Due to various factors, including fear, the adoption of both Open Source and Cloud Computing are relatively slow in the business sector. So, I take it upon myself to clear any confusion in this regard and educate, enrich and advise users/customers to take advantage of the benefits offered by these technologies. I am also a managing partner in two consulting companies based in India. I blog about Open Source topics at http://open.krishworld.com and Cloud Computing related topics at http://www.cloudave.com.

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