Predictably, no early private cloud adopters (none that I've heard of, anyway) have made the quixotic attempt to turn their entire infrastructure into a private cloud. Instead, they have identified certain areas where the cloud model makes sense, such as dev and test, a low-risk use case we've heard about for awhile. IBM ventured into this area over a year ago with its WebSphere CloudBurst Appliance, which is basically a blade server preconfigured for Java dev and test that lets developers self-provision resources through a Web interface, with metering of those resources built in.
At VMworld, HP jumped into the private cloud feet first with its CloudStart solution, which combines hardware (HP BladeSystem Matrix), software (HP Cloud Service Automation), and professional services (HP Cloud Consulting) to yield private cloud deployments within 30 days. Rather than dev and test, HP is focusing on delivering business applications as private cloud "services," from Microsoft Exchange to Oracle PeopleSoft to SAP Business Objects.
You can argue, of course, that this is just another prepackaged deal of the type consultancies have been offering for years. The main difference is that so much cloudy stuff comes in the big honking blade server package -- virtual machine management, auto-provisioning, virtualization-based disaster recovery, chargeback, and so on.
A multipurpose appliance is one way to skin the private cloud. But if you ask me, the most interesting emerging use case for the private cloud is what you might call the "partner cloud." Just as a decade ago companies began offering Web portals for their customers and partners, with Web forms for managing accounts and ordering new goods or services, partner clouds actually deliver services.
At VMworld, both Sabre Holdings and Siemens talked about their partner cloud solutions. "Sabre is building customized solutions for various airlines," said Raghu Raghuram, VMware's senior vice president and general manager for virtualization and cloud platforms. "They want to shorten the cycle for building it, showing it, selling it," using private clouds managed by vCloud Director, VMware's new cloud management solution. Siemens, which Raghuram terms a "quasi service provider," has a pilot project called the Secure Virtual TestCenter, in which the company has "set up environments for its partners," also with the aid of vCloud Director.