In the past few days, just how important the Private Cloud will be can be glimpsed through several announcements.
- IBM announced new technology that permits you to create a private cloud using the existing hardware in your data center. The cloud, which permits rapid, self-service provisioning and management is a pre-packaged software stack, called IBM Service Delivery Manager. This will allow Enterprise IT managers eager to employ cloud concepts to get started quickly and without the need to invest in new hardware.
- Microsoft has been steadily rolling out its Azure cloud. Now, an organization that wants its own private Azure may buy it as an appliance. Again, the idea is to allow an organization to be quickly and easily in the private cloud business. Microsoft intends the appliance as much for service providers (Dell, HP, Fujitsu, and others will use it) as for enterprises.
We will note that most of the private cloud deployments so far have been IBM's, but generally built from scratch. (The link above will offer you an IBM Client Case Studies (all cloud) on the right side of the page.) This gives them an easier product that can compete in the mid-market.
Microsoft is expected to bring its BPOS suite to Azure later this year.
Both IBM and Microsoft's newest cloud offerings are largely fueled by organic (internal) growth, but both companies, especially IBM, enhance their software portfolios by acquisition. We expect this acquisition race to continue.
By the way, if you'd like to see someone else acquiring their way into a broader software portfolio and the cloud, SoftwareAdvice.com has an excellent article on how Oracle did that, complete with fascinating charts at http://www.softwareadvice.com/articles/enterprise/oracle-mergers-acquisitions-whos-next-1080310/. There's also a survey on who Oracle may buy next.