All things being relatively equal, the decision as to which cloud service provider to go with is likely to come down to manageability. Most IT administrators want a cloud computing experience that closely mimics what they see when they are actually sitting in front of a physical server.
As long as the cloud service provider is able to meet the service level requirements of the customer, the next biggest priority is to provide a frictionless management experience. To address that specific issue, Skytap today unfurled SmartClient, a unified interface to access virtual machines running in the Skytap Cloud.
According to Ian Hameroff, Skytap director of product marketing, SmartClient provides seamless access to the Skytap Cloud via any client device that supports a Java-based browser applet of the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP).
As part of an effort to improve manageability, Skytap has also added a customizable resource utilization reports capability and the ability to set virtual machine bursting limits in order to help contain costs.
Hameroff says that customers don't really want to be conscious of the fact that they are managing virtual machines in the cloud. All they want to do is be able to manage the cloud as simply as they manage resources in their local data center.
That's generally true, but taken to the tenth degree, that level of transparency might also eventually eliminate the need to distinguish between the cloud and local IT resources when, after all, one has become as easy to manage as the other.