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A post from Cloud Connect’s Private Cloud Track Chair, Dave Roberts.

When cloud computing was young, most people theorized that the industry and foundational technology would develop very similarly to the early days of electric utilities. All this capital investment in enterprise IT, people said, would be replaced by the purchase of computing as a service from open market producers. Instead of buying and depreciating large hardware and software systems, we’d leave those purchases to the service providers and buy our computing “by the drink,” paying only for what we used. When we were done, we’d flick the computing equivalent of a light switch and the meter would stop. If you’re old enough to remember, before we called it “cloud computing,” we originally called it “utility computing.”

But a strange thing happened on the way to the party — many enterprises decided that they weren’t ready to offload all their computing tasks onto a service provider. For various reasons, enterprises decided that they needed to keep some portion of the computing infrastructure in-house. The critics charge that this is just sour grapes — enterprise IT departments are too controlling and trying to hang onto the past. “Real clouds,” they say, “are public clouds.” Those “private clouds” are simply good old enterprise IT with a fancy description, the better to get project funding for.

This year at Cloud Connect, we have lined up four great sessions to discuss private clouds. We’ll talk about why they make sense, how to build ┬áthem, and best practices for ensuring that they deliver real business value.

Our first session will cover OpenStack, billed as a “massively scalable cloud operating system.” OpenStack has garnered broad industry support from 146 companies and looks to be a leading choice for cloud construction in 2012 and beyond. We’ll find out what services it provides and how to best leverage it to build your cloud.

Next, we’ll take a look at the concept of private PaaS. While most of the industry has tended to focus on PaaS solutions delivered by large service providers, enterprises have become more and more interested in portable PaaS solutions that can be delivered in any IaaS cloud that the enterprise might utilize, whether internal or external.

Unfortunately, there is more to building a *successful* private cloud than raw technology. (If it were that easy, we wouldn’t need a session to discuss it.) Delivering true business value requires rethinking the operating model that your enterprises uses to deliver IT functionality. Commonwealth Bank of Australia has been working on this transition for a few years now and will be sharing what they have learned in the process.

Continuing this theme, we’ll hear from folks working in the governement sector. It might shock you that government has been very aggressive in moving toward both private and public clouds to reduce costs and improve agility. In this final session, we’ll learn what they have been up to and how you can leverage their experience in your own deployments.

Rest assured that private clouds are very real and many enterprises and governments are building them to deploy new services and create business and organizational value. Whether you’re looking for greater organizational agility, reduced cost, or something else, a private cloud could be just the thing to deliver it for your organization.

– Dave

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