Why is Ericsson venturing into the cloud and datacenters? Ericsson has always been in the business of building the infrastructure to support the core competencies of their service provider customers. That path has naturally led to the cloud.
The last 140 years of Ericsson’s history can be considered in terms of three phases:
- Phase 1: The fixed network. Ericsson supplied much of the wood-and-cable infrastructure of the original telephone networks in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.
- Phase 2: The mobile network. As communication service providers have switched from cable to mobile, Ericsson has been a major provider of the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) base station subsystem, a key component of the new mobile infrastructure.
- Phase 3: The IP network. As communication becomes increasingly IP-based, communication service providers are transitioning to a cloud architecture. The back end of a cloud architecture is the datacenter. Ericsson is a major builder of central office sites and a major provider of communications hardware and software for its customers. Ericsson is also now entering the datacenter space with hyperscale cloud hardware and software.
Information technology: the three eras
Viewed another way, the history of technology companies can be considered in terms of three phases:
- Phase 1: The mainframe era. This era was primarily about success of “soup to nuts” systems companies such as IBM. In the 1960s, if your enterprise was partnered with a technology company, you probably depended on IBM for everything related to IT.
- Phase 2: The PC era. This era was about breaking up systems into layers, in accordance with the 1980s business mantra, “Do one thing, and do one thing well.” System-based approaches fell out of vogue.
- Phase 3: The cloud era. In this era, we are seeing the return of the systems company. This time, the systems company may not provide their clients with all their hardware, but they do develop cloud-based systems end to end. Most users think of Amazon, Google, and Facebook as platforms or service providers. But all three also build their own hardware. So does Ericsson.
We create our own ASIC, do final assembly and testing, and write our own applications to run on our hardware: the full stack experience.
Watch me discuss Ericsson's journey to the cloud with Rick Ramsey.
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