Google (well, James Hamilton) has weighted in on the question of private clouds. As expected from a large cloud provider, James takes the position that private clouds make no sense. His reasoning is straight forward: private clouds will never have the scale of public clouds, therefore private clouds can never achieve the same price point as their public brethren. Ergo, there’s no point in building private clouds.
As I’ve pointed out before, there’s a lot more to cloud than simply reducing costs. The biggest benefit is probably the agility that cloud can bring to your IT estate, leveraging a cloud platform’s ability to codify and automate many of the management practices and create a target platform that can work across a range of deployment options, as well as streamlining hardware provisioning. Companies are also increasingly having to deal with the realities of political boundaries, a situation where the best technical solution might not be acceptable due to legal requirements (such as privacy legislation). Developing a private cloud can be a sensible move in this context.
Of course, if you want to compete purely on cost then private cloud will never hit the same price point as public cloud. But this misses the point that for many companies IT flexibility/agility is more important than cost.
Note: I was going to post this as a comment on James’ post, but comments appear to be broken.