Is that the kind of cloud that hangs over people when they're in a bad mood?
Well, if technology vendors are to be believed, private cloud should actually put you in a good mood. It's one of the IT industry buzzwords doing the rounds at the moment that might actually have something to it.
So what is it then?
There seem to be a number of definitions but essentially a private cloud is a computing environment that takes advantage of virtualisation, automation and service-oriented architecture (SOA) to create a flexible and scalable pool of shared computing resources.
But unlike public cloud computing, the data and the processes that take place in private cloud environments are located separately from those of other businesses, whether in a third-party datacentre or in an organisation's inhouse infrastructure.
Isn't that just modernising your datacentre?
Not entirely. Virtualisation, automation and SOA make datacentres more flexible but it's the way in which these resources are used that distinguishes private and public cloud technology from traditional datacentre set-ups.
Some analysts believe infrastructure only qualifies as private cloud if it's combined with standardised services and shared delivery of resources.
Private clouds are also likely to encompass a shift from annual budgeting to more dynamic investment, focusing on resources used rather than what is predicted to be used.
So why go down the private cloud route?
Private clouds within organisations give businesses more control over their data and resources so they can manage the infrastructure themselves while still taking advantage of the benefits of cloud computing.
Greater flexibility and scalability of computing resources will allow IT departments to respond to the needs of users much more quickly due to the use of virtualisation and automation.
Operating efficiency can also improve as only the resources that are needed will be used at any one time, so there won't be redundant capacity to drain power unnecessarily. Rather than keeping resources constantly operating in case extra capacity is needed, they can quickly become available to meet demand.
This style of private cloud also means...