The private cloud is supposed to give companies the benefits of a public cloud service while protecting data behind the firewall. The problem most companies face trying to take this approach is that it's impossible to compete with the public cloud behemoths. They are too well-funded and too innovative, and your private cloud can never be as good.
Private cloud developed in the 2010 time frame when companies saw developers going to AWS to stand up a server with compute, memory, storage, and a LAMP stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP/Python/Perl) in a minute with a credit card. Contrast that with dealing with IT and requesting the same resources, which involved submitting a request to IT and then waiting days or weeks for a server with the same resources. The appeal of AWS was huge.
IT saw it couldn't compete with that kind of ease of deployment—and so did vendors. We soon started hearing about the idea of companies standing up their own AWSs in the form of what became known as a private cloud.
It sounded like a solid enough idea—if you can't beat 'em, join 'em—but the idea was flawed from the start. While a company can buy a set of tools to stand up a private cloud, a portal of sorts where internal users can go and select the resources they need, they can't innovate at the speed of the public clouds, and they have the same limitations that IT has always had around security and adaptability.
IT Is Evolving Too
IT has always been about getting something working, making sure it's solid, and then letting it do its thing. That was fine in a time when end users were an afterthought and IT's job was just keeping the technology working. But as we move to a time where speed, agility, and end user satisfaction are becoming increasingly important, it's much more difficult for an internal IT team bred for stability to keep up.
Even if you argue that IT is evolving with these changing organizational requirements (and it is), very few IT departments out there have the resources to battle Amazon (or Google, Microsoft, or IBM) when it comes to building data centers and adding functionality.
And if you look at this from a security perspective, many (including me) have argued that a well-funded cloud platform like AWS is going to put its heart, soul, and financial clout into protecting their sites.
No matter how well-intentioned an internal IT department may be, and no matter how much they want to provide the kinds of services that their constituency craves to do their jobs, they just can't keep up with a well-funded cloud service like AWS or its competitors. It's just not possible.
Photo by James Cridland on Flickr. Used under CC 2.0 license.