Virtualization Technology News and Information
SKYTAP Tames the "WILD WEST" of Cloud Computing with Cost Control and Charge-Back Capabilities
Skytap, Inc., the leading provider of cloud-based IT labs, today announced immediate availability of new cost control and charge-back capabilities to enable tighter management and control over cloud resources.  By providing quota thresholds and auditing capabilities, Skytap enables companies to deploy their cloud initiatives while ensuring costs are kept within assigned budgets. Skytap’s latest product release also includes new features to fine-tune control of user access to the cloud through its award-winning self-service interface.

In a recent blog post, Gartner Fellow and managing vice president, Daryl Plummer, stated, “As more workloads move to cloud style deployment, there will be a corresponding, but not necessarily equal, movement of expenses from fixed capital outlay to operating outlay. But the history is pretty clear on this. When we have variability of expenditures with fewer controls, we can run into overspending.”

Cloud Proliferation and Spending

IT teams and functional users are demanding self-service access to cloud resources as a way to reduce bottlenecks and inefficiencies when provisioning new IT environments. Cloud computing provides increased business flexibility by enabling IT resources to be scaled on demand. However, many CFOs have become concerned about balancing this flexibility with unpredictable costs and lack of transparency as cloud services are elastic and offered through a “pay-as-you-go” model.

Skytap’s innovative cost control and charge-back reporting features respond to these concerns by enabling customers to proactively manage spending and allocate costs. For example, application development teams can now provide on-demand IT environments for outsourced testing, but keep these costs within project budgets using account and user-level quotas. Similarly, training organizations can use the cloud to create virtual classrooms and assign training lab costs back to student tuition fees.

“As a leading provider of knowledge management software, we’re constantly looking for ways to demonstrate our value proposition for customer self-service while shortening sales cycles. Using Skytap, we can now deliver fully customized interactive demos and proof-of-concept engagements to prospective customers in a secure, cloud-based environment,” said Nav Chakravarti, Vice-President, Solutions at InQuira.  “Skytap’s self-service interface helps us quickly provision new environments and the extensive reporting allows us to closely track and manage costs across sales opportunities.

“Skytap Virtual Lab addresses several key issues for companies concerned with policy enforcement and IT spend in the cloud,” said Steve Brodie, chief product and marketing officer at Skytap. “Skytap’s latest release ensures that companies can take full advantage of this new dynamic approach to computing, while controlling usage and avoiding the unfettered overspending which has given the cloud its ‘Wild West’ reputation. Business stakeholders can now have full confidence in the cloud’s ability to deliver increased flexibility and lower costs without any surprises.”

Specific features in Skytap’s new release are as follows:


·        Charge-Back Reporting, Quotas and Account Management

o       Reporting: Sophisticated charge-back reporting enables administrators to monitor usage by user or project and allocate actual costs to the groups utilizing the resources.

o       Enhanced Auditing: Web-based reporting allows comprehensive transaction-level historical auditing of activity in an account by business unit, project, or user.

o       Quotas: Quotas for Skytap virtual machine and storage usage can be set at the organization, user level, or both. Administrators can assign more hours to high priority projects and ensure usage does not exceed a set budget without approval.

o       Auto Suspend: Skytap virtual machines can be set to suspend after a period of inactivity to ensure compliance with a pay as you go/pay as you use philosophy. VMs can be resumed within seconds to continue working.

·        Self-Service Control of Computing Resources; Role-Based User Access Control

o       User Access Control: Administrators can easily control user access to Skytap lab environments using a granular permissions-based model.

o       Sharing: Users can easily share virtual machines, files, and templates in the cloud based on user access policies established by account administrators.

o       Virtual Machine Specs: CPU and memory can be specified at a very granular level for each virtual machine to optimize cloud resource usage.

o       Dynamic Disks: Dynamic disks reduce costs and enable users to start with a small virtual machine disk and grow as needed as storage requirements increase up to 2TB per disk. 

Using Skytap’s ‘hybrid’ cloud computing model, organizations can migrate high cost, dynamic IT environments to the cloud to reduce Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) by 50% or more. These environments include IT labs for application development and QA, IT operations testing, training and sales demos which typically experience fluctuating rates of utilization and are expensive to administer. By transitioning IT labs to the cloud, customers gain a low-risk adoption path to cloud computing and realize immediate cost savings.

For more information on this release of Skytap Virtual Lab, please visit For a video highlighting how Skytap is taming the Wild West of cloud computing, please visit

Published Tuesday, May 05, 2009 9:35 AM by David Marshall
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