Socialtext announced today that it will release a virtual appliance that can be deployed as part of an on-premise or in the public cloud using VMware. The virtual appliance will provide all the features of the Socialtext software-as-a-service and its managed appliance.

There’s mounting in interest in private, hybrid and “virtual private” clouds as companies look to take advantage of cloud elasticity without relinquishing too much control of mission critical systems. Socialtext cites Gartner researching finding that “76 percent of IT departments are planning to invest in private cloud strategies by 2012.”

Previously, we’ve cited HP’s Daniel Bowers’ definition of cloud computing when considering the definition of a private cloud. According to Bowers, all clouds have:

  • A pool of resources that can be allocated and modified elastically.
  • A means for requesting and granting access to resources.
  • Optionally, a means to measure and bill for those resources.

It doesn’t matter if these resources are in a public data center or a private data center.

Although we believe that the public cloud can be just as safe as the private cloud, many companies remain more comfortable with private clouds. Cloud computing blogger Chirag Mehta and Constellation Research Group principal analyst R “Ray” Wang have predicted that private clouds will serve as stepping stones to the public cloud this year.

We looked at Socialtext’s physical appliance as part of our round-up of enterprise 2.0 appliances.

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