Amazon doesn't like the idea of a private cloud, but I'm not sure that means it's a bad idea. Personally I think that for many companies, a private cloud is a good thing. It would allow them to scale up computing resources for applications that need them at certain times, and scale them down when needed.
I once worked with a DB2 system that could do this. The hypervisor was built onto the bare metal of an IBM server and we could "partition" our hardware into various virtual machines. We had 24 CPUs in this AIX machine, and would run a production server in 12 of them most of the time. However when we reached certain critical times, like the end of quarter, we'd shut down a few virtual machines that were test/dev machines and added their CPUs and RAM to our production instance, allowing that "server" to handle the increased load for a few days.
I had been looking forward to that in the Windows space once Hot-Add became a feature, but it seems that large scale x86 or x64 systems have not gained the ground needed to handle this type of scenario. However the "cloud" scenario seems to be made to handle these types of loads, providing that the software exists to easily shift the cloud services to more powerful machines, or distribute the loads across multiple machines.
I envision private clouds as the data center of the future. Under your control, but more of an Amazon or Google model where you place all your hardware into a pool and allow software to distribute loads among the resources that you own. No less complicated than today, and probably more skills needed from backoffice IT people to manage the systems, but simpler for developers, and better efficiency for companies.
I don't know when we'll see this type of distributed private cloud in SQL Server, but I am hoping that I get to work on one some day.
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