Archive of 2018 What’s new

December 2018 What’s new

For information about the current release, see What’s new.

November 2018 What’s new

The October 2018 release included the following:

Course Manager

Course Manager is new standalone offering that is available as an add-on to a Skytap customer subscription. It provides an array of functionality for instructor-led Training, self-paced training, and sales demo delivery out of the box.

Course Manager

For more information about Course Manager by Skytap, see Course Manager by Skytap Cloud.

New Skytap Reporting page beta

Skytap has updated the Reporting page to provide a visual display of usage for your account.

Skytap Cloud administrators can now see current account usage or usage over time. Additionally, the new reporting page can be customized to display different report types, different platforms (if your account supports multiple platforms), and different usage types.

Administrators can view usage data from the Reporting page or export CSV reports for detailed analysis in external applications.

reporting

For more information about usage reports, see Viewing usage data.

Skytap Advanced Import Appliance updates

The Skytap Advanced Import Appliance has been updated to v0.4.1. This update includes Transfer estimation and the ability to completely reset all of the import lists.

AIA details

Details are available for VMs before they’re queued for import, after they’re queued, and while the import process is active for the VM.

For more information about importing VMs with the Advanced Import Appliance, see Importing VMs using the Advanced Import Appliance.

Projects page updates

We’ve added search capabilities to the Users and Groups tabs of the Projects page.

projects

For more information about managing projects, see Sharing resources with projects.

New Skytap public templates

Linux
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.5 Server - Firstboot
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.5 Desktop - Firstboot
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.10 Server - Firstboot
  • CentOS 6.10 Server - Firstboot
  • CentOS 6.10 Desktop - Firstboot
Skytap Tools
  • Advanced Import Appliance 0.4.1 on Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS Desktop
Dev Tools
  • Docker 18.06.0-CE on Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS Desktop 64-bit - Firstboot

October 2018 What’s new

The October 2018 release included the following:

IBM i Technology Preview Program

We are now accepting nominations for the Skytap Technology Preview Program for IBM i. This is a first-to-market, public cloud capability available only from Skytap. We are seeking customers to work with us as we prepare to release this capability to market.

During technology preview access period, our goal is to work closely with organizations who are interested in moving their IBM i applications into the cloud. Program participants will provide direct feedback to Skytap product managers, help shape the product, test features of Skytap, and ensure that your IBM i application runs successfully in Skytap.

Program timeline

  • Mid-September 2018 – October – Customer nominations.
  • November 2018 – Customer kickoff & onboarding sessions begin.
  • November 2018 – January 2019 – Technology preview access period.

What Skytap will provide

  • A preview program buddy for each customer.
  • A weekly checkpoint call (30 min).
  • Technical support & a private Slack channel for communications.
  • Cloud resources and assistance moving IBM i applications into Skytap.
  • A Skytap account for each participating company for the duration of the Technology Preview Program access period.

Customer commitment

  • A minimum of one IBM i application to be tested during the Technology Preview Program access period (must be IBM i 7.3).
  • 1-2 resources for approximately 5-8 hours per week.
  • Agreed schedule demonstrating shared progress through the Technology Preview Program.
  • Willingness to provide quotable text and to act as a reference upon successful completion of the Technology Preview Program.

There is no cost for the customer to participate in this Technology Preview Program but participants must accept the program terms.

Submit your nomination here.

Projects page updates

We’ve updated the Projects page to make it easier to create and manage projects.

projects

For more information about managing projects, see Sharing resources with projects.

VM details added to Advanced Import Appliance

The Advanced Import Appliance can now display details about the VMs that you import.

Details include:

  • VM file type
  • VM name
  • Size
  • Number of disks
  • Hardware version
  • OS
  • CPU
  • RAM
  • Network Interface Cards (NICs)

AIA details

Details are available for VMs before they’re queued for import, after they’re queued, and while the import process is active for the VM.

For more information about importing VMs with the Advanced Import Appliance, see Importing VMs using the Advanced Import Appliance.

New Skytap public templates

The following new templates have been added to the Skytap public templates library:

AIX
  • AIX 7.2 TL2 SP2
  • AIX 7.1 TL5 SP2
Linux
  • Ubuntu 16.04.5 LTS Desktop - Firstboot
  • CentOS 7.5 Desktop - Firstboot
UEFI
  • Empty Ubuntu Image 30GB (UEFI)
  • Empty Windows 10 Image 30GB (UEFI)
  • Empty Windows Server 2016 Image 30GB (UEFI)
Dev Tools
  • Jenkins 2.121.3 on Ubuntu 16.04.5 LTS Desktop - Firstboot

September 2018 What’s new

The September 2018 release included the following:

Rate-limited operations

Sometimes an intensive operation is rate-limited when there is too much activity across your customer account. Rate-limited operations are now visible in the Environment Details page, the environments list, and in audit logs.

rate-limited

In addition, you can now use Rate limited as a filter in the list of environments to quickly find any rate-limited environments.

rate-limit filter

For more information about rate limiting, see Why is my operation rate-limited?.

For details about the rate_limited fields in the API, see Environment VMs reference URI (v1) and Environment VMs reference URI (v2).

API updates

We’ve updated the error message returned by the Skytap REST API when a VM fails to respond to a runstate change request to suspended or stopped.

Previously, the error message was one of the following:

  • The operation failed because VMware Tools is not installed. Please install VMware Tools.
  • The operation failed because VMware Tools is still loading. Please try again momentarily.

The new error message is:

If you use a script that checks for one of the old messages, you may have to update the script.

August 2018 What’s new

The August 2018 release included the following:

New VPN encryption algorithms

Skytap is continuing to update security. In this release, we’ve provided more robust cryptographic algorithms for VPNs.

The following options are new this release:

Parameter Name New Option
Phase 1 hash algorithm sha256
Phase 1 DH group modp2048 (14)
Phase 2 authentication algorithm hmac_sha256
Phase 2 PFS group modp2048 (14)

For more information about configuring VPNs, see Creating a VPN connection to your Skytap Cloud account.

Skytap Health Dashboard

The Skytap Health Dashboard displays overall health of Skytap as well as details about each of the regions. It also displays a history of past incidents and their resolutions.

For more information about viewing Skytap status and subscribing to status updates, see Viewing the Skytap Cloud Health Dashboard.

status page

July 2018 What’s new

The July 2018 release included the following:

Skytap also recently made updates to your marketing email preferences and account information.

New US-East region: US-East-2

Skytap continues to grow! To meet increasing demand for data center capacity on the eastern coast of the United States, Skytap has opened a second multi-tenant data center in this region: US-East-2. US-East-2 is an independent data center that does not share regional limits or capacity with US-East.

The US-East-2 region is now generally available.

To enable the US-East-2 region for your account, work with your primary account administrator to contact Skytap.

Skytap regions

Skytap regions

For learn more about Skytap regions, see Understanding regions.

Connecting to an AIX VM with X Windows

Though AIX is generally considered a command-line-driven operating system, some AIX software is optimized for installation from a graphical user interface (GUI). If you need an AIX GUI, you can enable a Skytap AIX VM as an X11 client over an SSH published service and connect to it using an X Windows GUI.

X11 in AIX

For more details about configuring an X Windows display for an AIX VM, see Connecting to an AIX VM with X Windows.

June 2018 What’s new

The June 2018 release includes:

Skytap also recently made updates to your marketing email preferences and account information.

New and updated public templates, including Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

Skytap has added new and updated pre-built virtual machines to the public template library, including a public template for the new Ubuntu Server 18.04 LTS release. Skytap public templates are a useful starting point for building new environments or testing new technologies in your application stack. For information about viewing and using public templates in your account, see Skytap Cloud public templates.

The new templates include:

  • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Desktop - Firstboot
  • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Server - Firstboot
  • Ubuntu 17.10 Server - Firstboot
  • Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Desktop - Firstboot
  • Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Server - Firstboot

    These Ubuntu templates come pre-installed with Firstboot, which is a technology similar to Windows Sysprep. The first time you run an Ubuntu machine with Firstboot, you are prompted to configure the operating system (by setting the username, password, display language, name server address, etc.)

  • Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Server POWER8
  • Windows Server 2016 Standard (audio and RDP configured)
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard (audio and RDP configured)
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard (audio and RDP configured)
  • Empty Windows 10 Image 64-bit
  • Empty Windows 8 Image 64-bit
  • Empty Windows 7 Image 64-bit
  • Empty Windows Server 2016 64-bit
  • Empty Windows Server 2012 64-bit
  • Empty Windows Server 2008 R2 Image 64-bit
  • Empty Ubuntu 64-bit Image 30GB

Skytap also updated the following templates with the latest operating system patches:

  • Microsoft Windows 10 Enterprise (Version 1709)
  • Microsoft Windows 10 Pro (Version 1709)
  • Microsoft Windows 10 Home (Version 1709)
  • Microsoft Windows 8.1 Enterprise
  • Microsoft Windows 8.1 Pro
  • Microsoft Windows 8.1
  • Windows 7 Ultimate
  • Windows 7 Enterprise
  • Windows 7 Pro
  • Windows Server 2016 Datacenter
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise

Improved messaging for large usage reports

Skytap now provides advanced messaging if a usage report is too large to run.

Rather than time out over a period of several minutes, the report will fail quickly and display a message indicating that the report is too large. Use the filter parameters on the page to select a shorter date range, or to apply filters to the report.

Usage report message

For detailed instructions, see Generating usage reports.

REST API v1 support for automatically shutting down environments

The REST API v1 now supports operations for automatically shutting down environments when they are idle, or at a specific date and time. This functionality was added for the REST API v2 in the previous release.

Updates to your marketing email preferences and account information

Skytap now provides options for customizing the types of marketing and product team communications you want to receive.

During a one-time step, you’ll be prompted to update your marketing email preferences and provide your country of residence. This helps ensure that Skytap is sending you the most relevant information, and that we are honoring all applicable data laws in your country.

You can change your marketing email preferences or country of residence at any time from the Account page in Skytap.


NOTE: Skytap has deprecated the previous checkbox that was used to indicate whether users wanted to receive marketing emails.

Old account page

Deprecated option for setting marketing email preferences.

REST API v2 users: To ensure that all marketing email preferences are correctly logged, the REST API field (wants_email) associated with the /v2/account resource has been deprecated. Previous values have been replaced with a null value, and the field is now read-only.

Attempts to edit this field will be ignored by the REST API. Users should manage their marketing email preferences at http://research.skytap.com/Email-Preference-Center.html.

Privacy and consent

One-time setup for country and email preferences

May 2018 What’s new

Automatically shut down inactive environments

Skytap has added the option to automatically shut down an environment if it is not being used. Previously, the only option was to suspend the environment.

By automatically shutting down an environment when it’s not in use, you halt the SVM hours and concurrent SVMs consumed by the environment. This automated action helps you better manage your SVMs subscription. Automatic shut down occurs more quickly than automatic suspend, freeing up resources for other environments.

Environment power options

Editing the automatic power settings

There are two options for configuring environments in your account to automatically shut down:

  • Account-wide default setting

    Administrators can set an account-wide default power option for inactive environments. Each time a new environment is created, it inherits this default automatic suspend or shut down option.

    For instructions, see Managing account-wide settings.

  • Per-environment setting

    Users with permission to edit an environment can change the automatic suspend or shut down setting for that environment.

    For instructions, see Automatically shut down or suspend inactive environments.

For more information about how Skytap detects whether an environment is in use, see Automatically shut down or suspend inactive environments.

Recent activity feed for environments

The Environment Details page for each environment now displays an Activity tab, which provides information about the last 20 actions performed on the environment.

This feed is especially useful for shared environments, where more than one user may be editing the environment or altering its power state.

Advanced Import Appliance

Recent environment activity

Administrators can view additional activity on an environment by generating an Auditing report.

New Advanced Import Appliance

The Advanced Import Appliance is now available as a Docker container from the Skytap Docker repository: https://hub.docker.com/r/skytap/advanced-import-appliance/.

The Advanced Import Appliance is a self-service tool for uploading VMs into Skytap. By installing the Advanced Import Appliance on your local machine with Docker, you can validate that your VMs meet the import requirements before uploading them Skytap, as well as automatically create and manage multiple import jobs.

Advanced Import Appliance

Advanced Import Appliance

The Advanced Import Appliance Docker container replaces the previous beta iteration of the Advanced Import Appliance, which was published as a downloadable OVA file and called the Cloud Import Management Appliance (CIMA). The OVA version of appliance will no longer be supported. Please install and begin using the newer Docker container.

Notifications for usage against department and regional limits (admins)

Account administrators can now enable email notifications for SVM or storage usage against department limits or account-wide regional limits.

For example, if regional limits are enabled in your account, Skytap can notify administrators or other users when the account is at 90% of its concurrent SVMs limit in a specific region or any region. Or, Skytap can notify administrators or other users in the account when a specific department or any department reaches 90% of its SVM hours limit.

Usage notifications

Account-wide usage notifications

For instructions, see Setting up usage notification emails.

Updates to your marketing email preferences and account information

Skytap now provides options for customizing the types of marketing and product team communications you want to receive.

During a one-time step, you’ll be prompted to update your marketing email preferences and provide your country of residence. This helps ensure that Skytap is sending you the most relevant information, and that we are honoring all applicable data laws in your country.

You can change your marketing email preferences or country of residence at any time from the Account page in Skytap.


NOTE: Skytap has deprecated the previous checkbox that was used to indicate whether users wanted to receive marketing emails.

Old account page

Deprecated option for setting marketing email preferences.

REST API v2 users: To ensure that all marketing email preferences are correctly logged, the REST API field (wants_email) associated with the /v2/account resource has been deprecated. Previous values have been replaced with a null value, and the field is now read-only.

Attempts to edit this field will be ignored by the REST API. Users should manage their marketing email preferences at http://research.skytap.com/Email-Preference-Center.html.

Privacy and consent

One-time setup for country and email preferences

April 2018 What’s new

Additionally, please see our note about current and upcoming deprecations to select VPN configuration parameters.

Linux VMs on Power hardware in Skytap

Skytap natively supports a wide range of operating systems running on x86 and POWER8 hardware. Now, in addition to running AIX workloads in Skytap, you also run Linux on Power operating systems, including: Ubuntu Server, SUSE Enterprise Server, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and more.

With x86 and Power VMs hosted side-by-side in a single virtual environment, you can easily clone, manage, and share your complex legacy application stack.

x86 and Power VMs in a single virtual environment

To learn more, see Using Power VMs in Skytap.

Private Network Connections between your on-premises data center and your Skytap virtual environments

Skytap now supports Private Network Connections from your data center to any Skytap region, enabling faster speeds and lower latency than Internet-based connections.

Private Network Connection

For general information, see Overview: Private Network Connections and VPNs.

To begin the process of creating a Private Network Connection, contact your Skytap sales representative.

Optional URL parameters for sharing an SRA browser client view

If you are sharing a direct link to a VM Secure Remote Access (SRA) browser client session, you can optionally append one or more URL parameters to control the initial VM display settings.

URL parameters can be used to control the initial:

  • Display quality settings (from Highest to Lowest display quality)
  • SRA connection type (standard, SSH, or RDP)
  • VM display resolution (whether the VM display resolution is resized to fit to the current browser window size)

SRA browser client view

Example URL for a direct link to a VM in a sharing portal:

https://cloud.skytap.com/vms/abcdef123456abcdef123456/desktops?vm_id=123455&fit_to_window=1&display_quality=0

For more information, see Optional URL parameters for sharing an SRA browser client view.

Renamed “Private Networks” section in the Admin panel

The Private Networks section of the Admin panel has been renamed WANs.

Administrators can use the WANs page to view and manage VPNs and Private Network Connections in the account.

Admin > WANs page

In several places throughout the product, you may see references to Private Networks changed to WANs.

Environment Network Settings WANs page

EOL notice: Deprecated Skytap VPN configuration parameters

On April 6, 2018, the modp768 encryption method for both Phase 1 Diffie-Hellman (DH) group and Phase 2 PFS group will be removed from the Skytap VPN Settings. After April 6, no new VPNs can be configured to use the modp768 DH group.

On May 4, 2018, VPNs that still use the modp768 DH group will be disabled.

If you have existing VPNs that use the modp768 DH group, you must reconfigure them. We strongly recommend that you use the modp1536 DH group.

Additional VPN changes

Also on May 4, 2018, the modp1024 DH group, the md5 Phase 1 hash algorithm, and the hmac_md5 authentication algorithm will be deprecated. Though it will still be possible to create new VPNs with these protocols, we strongly recommend that you use modp1536 DH group, sha1 hash algorithm, and hmac_sha1 authentication algorithm.

February 2018 What’s new

SSH connections through the SRA browser client

The browser-based Secure Remote Access (SRA) client now supports SSH connections to *NIX VMs (for example, Linux and AIX VMs).

After a VM has been configured to support the SSH connection type, a user can switch back and forth between a Standard SRA connection and an SSH connection:

Standard connection

what's new

The Standard SRA connection type allows users to interact with and view a VM using their standard keyboard and mouse.

  • If multiple users are connected to the same VM from different SRA browser sessions, they share an over-the-shoulder view of the VM.
  • This is the default connection method used by the SRA browser client. It does not require any additional VM configuration steps to work properly.

SSH connection

what's new

The SSH connection type connects to an SSH service running on the VM.

  • This allows multiple users to have concurrent, unique SSH sessions on the VM.
  • The SSH connection is made through Skytap Cloud’s secure infrastructure; it does not require an external published service or other public internet access point.


For more information, see:

This feature must be enabled in your account.

  • If you are a primary administrator, contact support@skytap.com to enable this feature across your account. Include your name, email address, and the name of your organization.
  • If you are a standard user or administrator, work with your primary administrator to request this feature.

Renamed “VPNs” section in the Admin panel

The VPNs section of the Admin panel has been renamed Private Networks.

what's new

In several places throughout the product, you may see references to VPNs changed to Private Networks.

what's new

Instructions for importing on-premises AIX LPARs into Skytap

Skytap natively supports AIX 6.1, 7.1, and 7.2 running on IBM Power Systems alongside traditional x86 workloads and containers. This lets you create blended virtual environments that can be cloned, shared, and managed as a single unit.

For detailed instructions about moving your AIX LPARs into the cloud, see Importing AIX LPARs into Skytap.

For general information and a sample use case, see AIX workloads in Skytap Cloud.

January 2018 What’s new

Custom port number option for RDP connections in the SRA browser client

You can now specify a custom RDP port number when configuring a VM to support RDP connections through the browser-based Secure Remote Access client. RDP is typically enabled in the Secure Remote Access client to support VM audio input and output between a Windows VM and the user’s browser.

For more information about using the browser client and configuring the VM to support audio during browser client sessions, see:

what's new

If In guest Remote Desktop connectivity is not available, this feature has not been enabled in your account.

  • If you are a primary administrator, contact support@skytap.com to enable this feature across your account. Include your name, email address, and the name of your organization.
  • If you are a standard user or administrator, work with your primary administrator to request this feature.

Reorganized VM Hardware configuration options

The VM Hardware Settings page has been reorganized to group together the settings that affect the user’s experience when accessing the VM through the browser-based Secure Remote Access client.

These settings include:

  • The keyboard language mapping for the on-screen keyboard and how the VM interprets keystrokes.
  • Whether the user can use VM audio during the browser client session.
  • Whether the user can copy and paste text to and from the VM.

For more information about these settings and other options on this page, see Overview of VM hardware and guest OS settings.

what's new


For 2017 Skytap release notes, visit Archive of 2017 What’s new. For older release notes dating back to 2011, contact support@skytap.com.