The National Institute of Standards and Technology's definition of a 'true' cloud environment includes the following characteristics:
- On-demand self-service
- Broad network access
- Resource pooling
- Ability to scale resources quickly, either up or down
- Having measured service
A key feature of clouds is orchestration -- the coordinated delivery of many types of resources including processors, storage and networks -- to provide an integrated provisioning process. In other words, a single command or request causes a number of actions to occur, in a specific sequence, to coordinate the provisioning request.
The whole point of a private cloud is to allow IT managers to reduce costs and provide agile provisioning rather than just making management of the infrastructure more convenient for themselves or others.