In the few short years since cloud computing burst onto the scene, public cloud providers have pitched their services as comparable but less costly alternatives to enterprises' own internal IT systems. However, there's recently been a reversal in this thinking.

Many IT departments now are taking cues from the public cloud industry, seeking to replicate the providers' practices within their own private data centers. This includes offering services such as rapid provisioning of servers and storage, and ensuring the immediate availability of data and applications.

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