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Skytap Extends VM Portability with Open Virtualization Support

Cloud provider Skytap is looking to simplify use of its service, particularly as it applies to providing compatibility with in-house datacenters.

Skytap said it is providing support for the Open Virtualization Format (OVF), a Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) standard for packaging and distributing virtual machines.

By supporting OFV, users of Skytap's cloud service will have an efficient and flexible way to import and export existing virtualized configurations without making changes to them, said Brett Goodwin, the company's VP of marketing and business development. That means it will support the VHD format in Microsoft's Hyper-V, Amazon Web Services' Amazon Machine Image (AMI), Xen Disk Image and the QEMU format (qcow2) associated with KVM.

Until now, Skytap users were confined to using VMware's VMDK file format. "It [OVF] improves the portability and decreases the platform dependence, and it also allows IT to leverage a common set of tools when they are working with VM workload software configurations on their end in the private infrastructure and on the hybrid and public cloud," Goodwin said.

In addition, Skytap has added advanced notification, aimed at alerting both end users and IT if thresholds are exceeded such as compute or storage usage. The advanced notification capability is intended to avoid surprise bills, Goodwin explained. IT can set customized alerts to inform administrators if users are approaching certain usage thresholds, such as 90 percent of budgeted storage quotas.

The company has also added self-healing network automation to its service for those running hybrid cloud deployments, which is quite common among its customer base, Goodwin said. The self-healing features include auto-detecting VPN connection failures and automatically re-establishing those links.

Goodwin said its service is primarily used by those who develop and test applications, though it is also used for product and proof-of-concept demonstrations, as well as for IT and technical training.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 11/29/2011 at 1:14 PM


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