Skytap Brings Real-Time Team Collaboration and Role-Based Security Policies to the Cloud

Tina Aarsvold

Seattle, WA. – November 9, 2009 – Skytap, Inc., today announced the release of innovative new capabilities that enable users to collaborate over the Web using cloud-based virtual data centers (VDCs). In the same way solutions such as SharePoint and WebEx enable teams to collaborate on documents, Skytap enables teams to collaborate on complex IT environments to deliver business initiatives faster and more predictably. Skytap’s latest release includes new features to create team projects, manage team roles and security policies, and utilize Skytap Resource Links to quickly and securely share virtual data centers and machines from any location.

“The idea of utilizing external clouds to enable faster delivery of IT projects is very compelling for enterprise organizations,” said William Fellows, principal analyst, infrastructure management at 451 Group. “Skytap has recognized that to enable significant productivity gains in the enterprise a cloud solution needs to facilitate the business processes and team workflow involved in delivering complex IT projects.”

Unlocking the Potential of the Cloud for IT Teams

Most IT leaders recognize that scalable cloud infrastructure brings business agility and reduces costs. However, many businesses are discovering raw “Infrastructure-as-a-Service” is not sufficient to achieve their goals. Specifically, they need a platform that provides a self-service portal for functional users, and gives them the ability to define projects, enable team collaboration, define workflow and set role-based policies for managing IT resources in the cloud.

“We evaluated a number of cloud providers, including Skytap and Amazon EC2, to support our IT delivery process,” said Brad Potter, senior vice president, IT operations, at BurrellesLuce. “We chose Skytap because it offers capabilities that have led to dramatic improvements in our team productivity, including a rich Web-based interface for team collaboration and Skytap Resource Links which can be sent via instant message between team members to enable secure, real-time access to virtual data center resources in Skytap.”

Enabling Distributed Teams While Maintaining Corporate Security

Geographically dispersed teams create a challenge for IT security administrators. Corporate employees and contractors often have different access rights to enterprise IT environments, but need to collaborate using shared resources. In addition to Skytap’s existing security capabilities, including encrypted traffic and secure network virtualization technology, Skytap’s new release includes new features for policy management and role-based security. These features ensure cloud resources can be secured and isolated, while enabling different levels of access for corporate employees and contractors alike.

“We’ve long recognized that functional users need powerful collaboration capabilities, and IT operations staff needs policy control over cloud resources,” said Sundar Raghavan, chief product and marketing officer at Skytap. “With the project management, team collaboration and policy management features included in our new release, we are delivering immediate value to both functional users and enterprise IT.”

Specific capabilities in Skytap’s new release include the following:

  • Skytap Projects: The ability to create projects for teams to share virtual data centers – complete environments containing virtual machines, virtual storage, and virtual networks – and project assets, much in the same way that SharePoint is used for sharing documents. The Skytap API specification has been extended to enable project-related functionality to be controlled programmatically.
  • Policy Management for Users, Resources and Security: Building on Skytap’s User Access Control (UAC) model, project owners can now assign roles to users with different permissions, such as Managers, Editors and Members. In addition, administrators can implement role based policies to manage account access, manage resource quotas and enforce security requirements.
  • Skytap Resource Links: Skytap now provides innovative Skytap Resource Links that enable secure access to entire virtual data centers or individual virtual machines through a single URL. In the same way WebEx can be used to share a desktop, a Skytap Resource Link provides a way to share cloud-based virtual data centers in real time using only a Web browser.

When IT organizations combine these new capabilities with Skytap’s existing lab manager Web interface, IPSec VPN tunnel, automated virtual machine image import/export, and support for native applications, they can create a powerful and comprehensive ‘hybrid’ cloud computing architecture. They can use precious on-premise resources for mission critical applications, while utilizing Skytap’s virtual data centers for dynamic IT workloads. These workloads include development and test, IT prototyping, ERP application migration, training and consulting projects. By utilizing Skytap, customers gain a proven, low-risk path to adopt cloud computing and can reduce Total Cost of Ownership by 60% or more.