Many organizations are asking whether it makes more sense to move their enterprise to the cloud \u2014 or bring cloud computing into their enterprise. \n\nAnd a surprising number are discovering that the best, most practical answer may be "both."What does it mean to bring cloud computing into the data center? And exactly how do you go about creating and managing a data center infrastructure \n\nthat provides all the advantages and benefits of cloud computing without needing to leave the enterprise? Basics like virtualization and workload \n\nmanagement are certainly important. But building private cloud is also about incorporating a "business services" layer of abstraction to your traditional data center infrastructure. In \n\ntraditional data centers, computing power and storage capacity create the infrastructure to run server workloads, which are then used to run enterprise \n\napplications.Adding this new business services layer logically groups these server workloads by the business services they support. This shifts the management \n\nfocus to full business services \u2014 and away from the individual underlying components. The exact nature of this new business services layer may vary depending on the unique requirements of your organization, but it needs to include a few \n\ncore characteristics and capabilities. Here are a few of the non-negotiable functions every service-driven data center should be able to perform: \n\n1. Simplify and accelerate the deployment of business services\nEffective service-driven data centers dramatically simplify the provisioning process and reduce the time and effort required to deliver new business services. \n\nThis includes automating as many steps of the deployment process as possible, so your infrastructure team spends less time on manual, low-value \n\nprocesses. Additionally, allowing business service managers and application owners more opportunities to perform a controlled set of limited management \n\ntasks themselves translates directly into higher service levels, more efficiency and fewer distractions for your infrastructure team.\n\n2. Create, publish and deploy standard infrastructure offerings\nA service-driven data center also provides a simple model for defining infrastructure offerings and making them available to business service managers. \n\nWith the right management tools, you can build a flexible repository of standard infrastructure offerings \u2014 including things like standard server \n\nimages, pools of storage capacity, standard network access, and so on \u2014 and then publish those offerings and make them available for fast, efficient \n\ndeployment. This allows business service managers and application owners to browse through a list of available infrastructure services, assemble and \n\ncustomize the components they need, see the associated costs and then quickly deploy new workloads to support their business service. \n3. Add visibility and accountability to current and future capacity needs\nNext, your service-driven infrastructure needs to include tools for understanding and managing current and future capacity demands in the private cloud. \n\nBusiness service managers and application owners tend to treat cloud resources as a free, inexhaustible pool, which leads to ineffective utilization of \n\nresources. Attaching concrete costs to specific cloud resources eliminates this problem and encourages responsible usage and deployment practices.Your service-driven environment should also help you accurately predict future demands on your private cloud. This includes providing a "pipeline" that \n\ngives business service managers the ability to enter basic information about future capacity needs without actually deploying new workloads. By collecting \n\nall this current and future usage and capacity information in one place and analyzing it carefully, infrastructure managers can gain a deeper understanding of \n\nhow cloud resources are being used and how demands will change over time.\n\n4. Keep your infrastructure options open\nGrowing demand inevitably leads to the need for new servers, storage hardware, operating systems, and other underlying physical infrastructure \n\ncomponents. As you build your private cloud, you should always consider vendor lock-in. Some cloud management solutions are designed to support a \n\nheterogeneous virtualized environment. Consider whether you'll want the freedom to implement best-of-breed infrastructure components and whether your \n\ngroup will one day use a hybrid cloud computing model that leverages a diverse range of private and public cloud resources.\n\n5. Provide advanced business service management capabilities\nFinally, a successful private cloud environment has to offer relevant insights, deep visibility and efficient management capabilities to everyone with a vested \n\ninterest in specific business services, including business service managers, business service owners, application owners and infrastructure teams. This \n\nincludes providing the ability to integrate and unify different silos of information; gather, normalize and correlate all the information about your private cloud \n\ninfrastructure; and map a wide range of physical, virtual and logical components onto a simple, meaningful service model dashboard. You should also be \n\nable to create customized dashboards for people with different roles, responsibilities and interests.\n\nConclusion\nMaking your own internal data center environment more "cloud like" allows you to immediately tap into many of the advantages of cloud computing, \n\nleverage existing infrastructure investments and avoid the current questions and risks associated with public clouds. This incremental approach also makes it \n\neasier to transition to a hybrid public\/private cloud model in the future \u2014 after security, auditing and other public cloud issues have been addressed. \n\nIn other words, many organizations view the creation of private clouds and service-driven data centers as important stepping stones to a more full-blown \n\nprivate and public cloud computing model.John Stetic is VP of Product Management at Novell. He is the former Director of Product Management and co-founder of PlateSpin \n\nLtd.