One of the questions I hear while I’m at events or speaking with customers is “how does virtualization differ from private cloud computing, aren’t they really just the same?”

My answer to this question is a resounding “NO!”

If you look at the NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) web site, the key characteristics of cloud computing are defined as:

  • On-demand self-service
  • Broad network access
  • Resource pooling
  • Rapid elasticity
  • Measured service

While virtualization provides functionality, such as resource pooling and rapid elasticity, and serves as the foundation for cloud computing, there are other characteristics lacking which are required to experience the full benefits of a true cloud computing environment.

I think some of this confusion comes from the cloud washing that has been going the last couple of years as some vendors have tried to take their existing offerings and reposition them to take advantage of all the buzz around cloud
computing.

At Microsoft, we understand that you as customers don’t want to be cloud washed; you want the facts and information that help you knowledgably advance your IT organization and in turn, your business. We’re also aware that you want to take advantage of your existing hardware, software, and IT staff skills as you evolve your datacenters from traditional physical server deployments, to consolidated virtualized environments, then onto a fully automated private cloud. The solutions we offer help you do this on your terms and at the pace that’s right for your business.

If you take a look at our Private Cloud Overview, you’ll see that the terms we use to discuss our private cloud offering align to the standard definitions and characteristics.  We’ve also created a short three minute video on the Private
Cloud Benefits page
where I talk about how System Center 2012 plays a critical role in bringing cloud computing and IT as a Service to your environment, enabling a higher level of automation and self-service. The other critical point I touch
on in the video is the ability of System Center 2012 to deeply manage your physical and virtual environments, as well as deep within your applications regardless of which environment they’re running in.  This provides you with a single experience
for managing across your IT resources.

The combination of Windows Server and System Center 2012 provides you with a complete solution for enabling your own private cloud IT environment and you can find details in this whitepaper titled “Microsoft Private Cloud – Making it Real”.
I hope the information proves helpful to you as you’re exploring the benefits of private cloud solutions and ways of improving the efficiency of your IT infrastructure.

Thanks for reading and your time.

---- Edwin