Green Lab in the Cloud, SkyTap provides virtual lab as a service

One of the areas I evangelize as the area to start Green Efforts in IT/data center is in a company's performance and test labs. Even though many companies want to sell into the data center operations, they do not see the opportunities in the labs.  Labs are power constrained, underutilized just like data centers, but there is usually only one lab manager you need to sell to get your energy savings technology in place.  Also, there are many mor labs in a company than data centers, so your ability to make inroads are much easier. Once in place, then the technology can become viral.

To make it even easier to Green a development/test environment a company SkyTap has announced Virtual Lab as a Service,

SEATTLE – April 10, 2008 – Skytap, the leading provider of cloud-based virtualization solutions, today revealed its vision for the next generation of offerings that harness the power of virtualized infrastructure. The company has announced limited availability of its first product offering, Skytap Virtual Lab, a virtual lab automation solution available as an on-demand service over the Web. The company, formerly known as illumita, has also changed its name to Skytap.
“Skytap provides customers with cloud-based services that enable them to capitalize on the wave of virtualization technology sweeping the industry,” said Scott Roza, chief executive officer of Skytap. “Cloud computing is gaining traction because a growing percentage of companies are demanding solutions that deliver value quickly, scale with business need, and don’t have the risk of an in-house implementation. Skytap’s Virtual Lab, which combines cloud-based virtualized infrastructure with an industry leading lab automation application, has tremendous potential to improve the timely delivery of quality applications to the business while increasing lab efficiency and lowering cost.”
Skytap’s first product, Skytap Virtual Lab, is a ground-breaking virtual lab solution available as a service over the Web. It enables application development and test teams to provision lab infrastructure on demand (including servers, software, networking and storage) and utilize a powerful virtual lab management application to automate the set-up, testing and tear down of complex, multi-tiered environments. It also gives distributed teams the capability to collaborate and rapidly resolve software defects using a virtual lab and virtual project environment.

The Industry Standard has a press article, and points out how this service is a good match for smaller shops. 

Skytap's offering provides users with a hosted platform for setting up and managing virtual labs. The concept of centralizing and automating virtual labs is not new. Companies such as Surgient have had offerings in this space for years.

But that vendor is "going after the higher enterprise play," while Skytap's SaaS offering might be able to gain inroads with smaller shops, said Theresa Lanowitz, an analyst with Voke.

Initially, Skytap's offering is more likely to appeal to customers with an existing setup, said company CEO Scott Roza. "You usually don't get to a customer who has no labs. It's usually someone who has labs, but [the setup is] too small for the requirements," he said. "In that case, rather than replace their labs lock, stock and barrel, we can augment them."

Surgient is another alternative and has been in business since 2003

Virtualization leader VMware has its similar Lab Manager, launched in November 2006, and another startup, VMLogix, has offered its LabManager since July 2007. But Surgient was first in the field, having been founded in 2003 to pursue creating infrastructure snapshots as the ideal test lab for new software. By testing prospective applications in their future production environments, developers learn more about their dependencies and performance in what will be their real-world setting.