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It's tricky, marketing departments place an organization on the edge despite of the technology used :D

All of you have heard about cloud and cloud computing. In a few words, cloud computing is about consuming services, services for the organization or services for applications... For instance...

A) A Drugs organization contracts an email/CRM/communications/... service on the cloud, so they save the effort and money spent on the servers, licenses, administration, management... ( it's not their business core ) and invest it on the core activity, improving their drugs. This is a Software as a service (saas) sample, we have a pretty good services platform at Microsoft, check it out ;)  BPOS  http://www.microsoft.com/online/business-productivity.mspx

B) An application has the data stored in SQL Services, or is running hosted in Windows Azure. This is a platform as a service (paas) sample  http://www.microsoft.com/azure

Benefits from adopting these kind of platforms are pretty clear... savings on hardware , maintenance, management, updates, count on technology that they couldn't pay as product, a pay-per-use model, rely on cloud's scalability and elasticity, etc....

There are different providers that offer these services on their datacenters, these providers own datacenters time ago (Microsoft, Amazon, Google...), therefore is clear their movement to cloud services business and their presence in the cloud. But, what's up with the players that do not have a huge datacenter to host services? are thy simply out of the game? of course not x)

They pull the trick, the "private clouds", from now on the cloud as we know it...becomes the "public cloud". so, what's a private cloud?

A private cloud is a way to improve resources management in our datacenters( virtual machine management, network, storage, computation). IMHO that's not cloud computing at all, if we think about it for 2 secs we will realize that we are missing all the benefits from the "cloud"... no saving on hardware expenses, licenses, management, manteinance licencias, pay-per-use,...

Even if they start talking about the cloud as a conceptual resource made to provide services...for me it's just a brilliant marketing action, but nothing to do with the cloud.

So these providers finally boarded on the cloud... but their action has a colateral effect, because their competitors, providers that already have an offer to improve resource management in a datacenters... suddenly they have to start offering "private clouds" or they're simply out!  In MS for instance, we have Virtual Machine Manager, System Center... Until now we talked about Dynamic Datacenters, do we have to start talking about the MS private cloud? time will tell...

Happy hacking!

~ds

PS -> It's curious how "the cloud" seems to be the Internet's professional use. Is The Internet name loosing strength? x)