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Running critical applications in a private cloud is a fundamental departure from business as usual: When we virtualize, the server's CPU, memory, hard disk, and network controller are shared across a number of applications. This presents unique opportunities for IT--and challenges for APM tools. Private clouds enabled by virtualization can deliver more efficiency with less cost, if servers are used to maximum capacity and new hardware purchases are tightly controlled. Enforcing this discipline is much easier with an APM system in place. Before approving additional servers, for example, IT must clearly understand current capacity and performance. Overlay the data gleaned from APM systems, and it's much easier to see if that new server is really warranted. One caution: You can't depend on physical-to-virtual conversion tools to move your APM software to the private cloud. Since APM is critical to reducing server acquisition costs and managing capacity and performance, factor in the migration or purchase of a new APM suite up front.