Green Hat, which has actually been in business since 1996, allows software developers to kick the tires and work out the kinks on their cloud software before it actually gets to the cloud.
IBM has purchased the company in order to add its technology to their Rational Software development platform.
A virtual environment simulates a wide range of IT infrastructure configurations and headaches, thereby allowing an institution to bypass painful parts of the software development process. Coding for the cloud can cost money and definitely eats up hours in the lab, even for an experienced programming with an Amazon AWS account.
Getting popular bioinformatics software applications — typically run on clusters or workstations — to operate smoothly on the cloud is still anything but trivial, so a testing environment that allows for some growing pains could prevent lots of frustration and wasted grant money.