The use of private clouds is becoming old news, as many enterprises are much more comfortable with this approach to cloud computing than they are with moving their data to the public cloud. Indeed, the private cloud is a valuable resource if you pick the right applications and data sets for the move. Most enterprises do not.
The good news: I don't have to break it to the CIO that the company's cluster of virtualized servers does not constitute a private cloud. I had this argument weekly back in 2009 and 2010. Helping matters, Gartner last year chimed in on what private clouds are not -- and that includes virtualization.
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Private clouds, at least the IaaS flavors, are sold by a number of providers, including Microsoft, VMware, Rackspace, and dozens of OpenStack upstarts. There are even private PaaS clouds available from the likes of ActiveState and Apprenda. AWS supports a virtual private cloud (VPC), which means you get your own private space on Amazon's public cloud.
At issue is the value that private clouds can bring to an enterprise. While they are a powerful architectural approach, most enterprises use them improperly. They move the wrong applications and data to private clouds, failing to take advantage of cloud's native features.
In many of these instances, public clouds are the better option when taking into consideration cost, speed-to-market, scalability, and security -- yes, security! However, they are never a contender because they simply aren't a part of the analysis during the target platform selection process.
What's missing is the deep planning needed to understand the requirements of the applications and data that will reside on a cloud, public or private. Moreover, we aren't keeping an open mind when looking at the right platform for the job -- again, whether public or private.