Engineering at Skytap

In March 2018, Skytap hired John Ludeman as senior vice president of engineering to support the company’s continued growth and evolution. Below is a note from John.

In a town that’s become known as “Cloud City,” there’s no shortage of great, successful cloud companies – from the market behemoths to new startups. But the reason I chose to join Skytap is because even though they’re in Amazon’s backyard, they’re going their own way. In my first couple of weeks working here, it’s become increasingly clear to me that this company – and the people behind it – are at an incredible inflection point. If we can get everyone rowing in the same direction, at the same time, there’s no limit to what we can achieve. Of course, if doing that was as easy as typing it, then every startup would become a unicorn.

Skytap is pursuing a largely untapped and exciting market opportunity. As part of this quest, our engineering team has great aspirations driven by a singular obsession with customer experience. We want to solve customers’ challenges, relieve their pain, learn from their experiences, and build this knowledge back into our cloud service. Our focus is the customer and our drive is to continually improve.

I spent nearly 30 years of my career at Microsoft, and my last eight there leading SQL’s high availability and disaster recovery capabilities for both on-premises SQL installations and Azure SQL. Suffice to say, I’ve been up close and personal with the challenges enterprises face trying to evolve older systems with modern technology. The last two years before joining Skytap I was at Nutanix driving their hybrid cloud strategy, where again I witnessed the pain customers experience trying to blend existing hardware and software investments with new cloud services. All of these experiences led to my interest in Skytap’s unique value proposition. Cloud-native leads the hype cycle, and has clear benefits for new applications, but the less exciting reality is that the majority of big businesses run on applications that are years, if not decades, old and can’t be easily migrated to hyperscale clouds. What’s more, these traditional applications still have great value to enterprise organizations, but their monolithic nature and legacy components are limiting growth and positive change.

Our mission is to first lower the barrier of entry for these traditional applications to the point it barely exists at all, then enable continuous modernization at the best pace for each customer. Our customer obsession is tangible, from the data we collect, to the many conversations we have listening, querying, and understanding our customers’ challenges. This means our platform’s serviceability, the strength of our service fundamentals, and the depth of our data and analytics are all top priorities for us. As we progress through 2018, you’ll see more from us in each of these areas, all focused on delivering an unparalleled customer experience.

I’m thrilled to join a team with a rich engineering heritage, a vibrant culture, and a clearly differentiated product (also, we’re hiring!). At the end of the day, software is all about people – from those who build it, to those who use it – so strong communication is at the heart of great software. I want to be clear about our direction, and transparent that we have room to improve. So, if you have ideas about where Skytap Cloud should go next, feel free to email us at, and expect to hear more from me sooner than later.

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