Recently I heard Rodney Haywood, resident subject matter expert at Alphawest talk about the benefits of the next big thing in IT - cloud computing.
There are many, many, different explanations of Cloud Computing and Private Cloud up all over the world wide web. Try this from Wikipedia: Cloud computing is a style of computing in which dynamically scalable and often virtualized resources are provided as a service over the Internet. Users need not have knowledge of, expertise in, or control over the technology infrastructure in the "cloud" that supports them.
VMware (virtualisation specialists) says about 'private cloud': Transform your IT infrastructure into a private cloud—a pool of virtualized resources within a datacenter, or internal cloud, federated on-demand to external clouds—delivering IT infrastructure as an easily accessible service.
Cloud computing can be one of the more challenging concepts to wrap your head around (for all of us non-IT people) although when you take it back to its more basic level - applications like gmail, that live on the web - not on your server, the concept of private cloud is just like renting your IT infrastructure or applications like you would your internet. Haywood explained that the hype surrounding cloud is very quickly turning into a reality for three key business reasons: faster, cheaper, better.
In Australia Alphawest have partnered with Cisco and VMware (and their telco owner Optus) to provide a unique cloud offering for customers. Here's some links to some extra information if you're interested:
Cisco's ANZ Data Centre lead Dylan Morison talking about his recent CIO roundtable discussing around cloud
Alphawest's partnership with VMware for the vCloud beta announcement