If you're not taking a certain approach to infrastructure, you're not doing a cloud. A cloud infrastructure is defined by three qualities. First, it's infrastructure as its own practice. Second, it's highly accessible [with certain restrictions for private clouds]. Finally, it's industrialized.

Infrastructure as its own practice

If you're familiar with anything in the enterprise IT sector, a cloud infrastructure is completely different. If anything, the closest thing it looks like is a large scale scientific computer. Operationally, here's the important part, cloud is infrastructure as its own practice. You will have a group of people doing infrastructure planning, infrastructure lifecycle, and infrastructure management, but they don't care what's on the infrastructure. And the people who are managing the applications running on the infrastructure simply have to operate within the constraints of what's underneath them.


Cloud is highly accessible infrastructure. And I know the typical comment people make is "Wait, wait, hold on, cloud isn't just infrastructure."

I'm not saying it's only infrastructure. It's also a delivery model, it's a business model. It's all sorts of things. But if you don't take a certain approach to the infrastructure, you're not doing a cloud. The infrastructure is a prerequisite to any of those other things that you may think you want to do.

However, highly accessible is the critical difference. And when I say accessibility, I mean it like it's usually used in design. For example, when you decide to make an iPhone application work for somebody who's blind, you're dealing with accessibility.

An accessible infrastructure is an infrastructure that's easy to consume. It is what clouds are. They're easy to just go up and use. And you get it.

Now, if you decide to make something highly accessible, it has consequences on every other non-functional requirement of these systems. For example, security. Normally one does security by limiting access. If an infrastructure is accessible, how do you do security? It requires something else. Likewise for maintainability. If you have maintenance windows, but the system has to always be accessible, how do you do maintenance?

Same for capacity planning. If people normally put a request in, and then you calculate utilization, and you do it in a predictable way, and then you buy capacity, and then four months later they onboard on the capacity, that process is only possible because you're limiting access to the infrastructure. If you allow complete access to the infrastructure, how you look at utilization, how predictable it is, how you do capacity planning, it all changes. So accessibility, just that idea to make something highly accessible and easy to consume changes all these non-functional requirements.


And when we say industrialized, we mean the introduction of supply-chain thinking where there are continuous improvements in technologies, outputs, and unit economics, but all these things occur within a known operational model. There's not some process where somebody is looking at a spreadsheet six months after the fact and saying "Hmmm maybe it makes sense to do this." That you actually sit down and say that with the latest and greatest technology, we can follow the technology curve of each of these components, and outputs will go up and unit economics always get better.

The industrialized definition here is no different from the industrialized definition we use in things like radio and mobile networks. Mobile network data capacities have increased exponentially, unit economics have gone down, and our customers have kept their capex spend flat.

So the way that mobile networks have been rolling out for the last decade conforms to the hyperscale definition and looks industrialized. The way that public cloud providers do this conforms to the hyperscale definition and looks industrialized.

The whole rest of the infrastructure out in the world does not conform to this definition. It does not look industrialized.

Taking the next step with Intel® Xeon® Scalable Processor

The launch of Intel® Xeon® Scalable processor, makes it even easier to have both a highly accessible and industrialized infrastructure. It is the most advanced compute core, designed to provide integrated performance across the data center, from on-premise to hybrid to public cloud applications. And it provides "no drag" data protection for security without compromise by lowering the overhead for processing encryption algorithms. So, if you decide to industrialize your infrastructure while making it more accessible, the Intel Xeon Scalable processor will make your efforts even more successful.

We tested our cloud-optimized vEPG on the Intel® Xeon® Scalable processor and the result is impressive: a throughput of 40Gbps per processor. Download this article to get the full picture on how we supercharge Ericsson Evolved Packet Gateway.

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For more info about how Ericsson solutions use the new Intel® Xeon® Scalable processor, click here.

Or read more about the Intel Xeon Scalable processor on the Intel Cloud Builders blog.


About the Photograph

Photograph taken by Rick Ramsey at sunset over O.C. Fisher Lake outside of San Angelo, Texas, Fall of 2016.

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Jason Hoffman
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Jason Hoffman

Jason Hoffman is the CTO, Business Area Digital Services at Ericsson. Previously he was the Head of Cloud Technologies where he's responsible for product, architecture and engineering and prior to that Head of Product Line, Ericsson Cloud System and Platforms in the former Business Unit Cloud and IP. Prior to that he was a founder and the CTO at Joyent, a pioneering high performance cloud IaaS and software provider, where he ran product, engineering, operations and commercial management for nearly a decade. He is considered to be one the pioneers of large scale cloud computing, in particular the use of container technologies, asynchronous, high concurrency runtimes and converged server, storage and networking systems. Jason is also an angel investor, strategy and execution advisor, venture and private equity advisor and on the boards of the Wordpress Foundation and New Context, a Digital Garage company. Jason has a BS and MS from UCLA and a PhD from UCSD. He is a San Francisco native that now lives in Stockholm with his wife and daughters.