Amazon turns EC2 into a private virtual data center (powered by Xen)

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When VMware introduced its new cloud computing mantra one year ago, there were at least four reactions: hope, skepticism, irritation and confusion.

Some truly hoped that the data center could become as easy and ubiquitous as the power grid in just a couple of years, as VMware predicted.
Others expressed skepticism (include this site among them) about the chances that such revolution could happen in such short time frame and that it would be of any relevance for the SMBs.
Google got irritated because the new VMware CEO Paul Maritz started his new career by saying that the search giant approach to cloud computing is fundamentally wrong.
And others were just confused by the introduction of public and private clouds.

The public cloud VMware was talking about is an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) architecture, where virtual machines are provisioned on demand and the customers are billed on a pay-per-use model (it’s much more than that, but these are the two fundamental aspects that everybody keeps in mind).

But what is a private cloud exactly?
Is it a new way, cooler way to call the already cool enough data-center-in-a-box concept where hardware virtualization still is the fundamental piece? 
Or is it a cloud-in-a-cloud solution, where housing meets virtualization?
Or something even different?

Amazon, which offered a IaaS architecture based on Xen for two years, just offered its answer: it’s called Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) and it basically is a private segment within its popular Elastic Computing Cloud (EC2) facility, which customers reach through a VPN connection.


RightScale, an Amazon partner on this new evolution of EC2, gives some additional details on how this VPC can be configured by the customers.

VCP is available just as limited beta right now but it already is another huge milestone for Xen.
The more Amazon expands EC2 and attracts new customers the more companies will recognize in EC2 the “default” choice for public and private IaaS solutions, and the more credibility will be transferred to those virtualization vendors that are using Xen: Citrix and Oracle.

VMware knows that and this is why it is investing in Terremark and why it is acquiring SprintSource: VMware has to build something that can rival with Amazon EC2 if it wants to keep up the perception that vSphere is cloud-ready.