Private cloud promises the advantages of cloud computing - scalable, on-demand computing - but all tucked safely away behind the corporate firewall, rather than using the public internet.
Analysts are predicting that 2011 could see significant adoption of private cloud by companies using technologies pioneered by cloud computing vendors to upgrade their own datacentres by combining virtualisation, automation and scalability.
When asked: "In 2011, will you be investigating the use of private cloud to make your IT infrastructure more efficient?" silicon.com's exclusive CIO Jury responded 'Yes' by a margin of 11 to one.
Adam Gerrard, CIO at Avis Europe, said: "We are already well on the way with this initiative. The private cloud concept brings with it the benefits of agility, accessibility, efficiency, and the capability to scale while addressing the perceived risks in the public cloud environment today.
"As public clouds mature, and security, integration and service-level guarantees are addressed, the ability to move to a hybrid model will no doubt become appealing for many organisations."
Peter Birley, director of IT and business operations at Browne Jacobson, said: "We have already started on this and see a number of benefits including a degree of office independence. I think that if some of the technology developed in public clouds to enable automated flexibility and scalability was made available in the general market then this area could take off even further."
Alan Balharrie, head of business information at The Scottish Parliament, said: "We will continue to invest in private cloud to bring longer term cost savings and improve efficiencies," while Mike Roberts, IT director at The London Clinic, said: "I am looking to develop a cloud as it will help with performance and availability management across the hospital."
Mike Wright, head of technology, Man Group, said private cloud remained a theme "especially while security concerns about the public clouds exist - rightly or wrongly."
But not all CIOs were impressed by the term 'private cloud' itself.
Stephen Potter, CIO at World-Check, said: "We will be moving aggressively to leverage virtualisation, automation and on-demand computing to increase flexibility and drive down costs. I struggle with the 'private cloud' description as it's often more marketing spin than anything tangible but we will be working closely with our hosting providers to create secure, high-performance platforms that we can spin up - and down - rapidly."
Nicholas Bellenberg, IT director, Hachette Filipacchi, said: "I really must take issue with the nomenclature 'private cloud.' Virtualisation, scalability and automation really aren't anything new, so why dress it up as something it's not? It's just the latest marketing fluff. Unless of course you do have a bank of fog in your datacentre. The potential gains from real public cloud solutions, though, seem well worth pursuing and promise to offer real change that businesses can benefit from."
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Today's CIO Jury was:
- Alan Balharrie, head of business information, The Scottish Parliament
- Nicholas Bellenberg, IT director, Hachette Filipacchi
- Peter Birley, director of IT and business operations, Browne Jacobson LLP
- Steve Fountain, head of solutions and service delivery, Markel International Operations
- Adam Gerrard, CIO, Avis Europe
- Madhushan Gokool, IT manager, Storm Model Management
- John Keeling, CIO, John Lewis
- Gavin Megnauth, director of operations and group IT, Morgan Hunt
- Stephen Potter, CIO, World-Check
- Mike Roberts, IT director, The London Clinic
- Steve Williams, director of information systems and services, Newcastle University
- Mike Wright, head of technology, Man Group
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Steve Ranger is the UK editor of TechRepublic, and has been writing about the impact of technology on people, business and culture for more than a decade. Before joining TechRepublic he was the editor of silicon.com.