Building your own private cloud to complement your public cloud services gives you more options for business agility, letting you choose the most suitable resource for your services. Here are five infrastructure capabilities that will deliver on the promise of private cloud.

No one is safe from disruption

Build your own cloud or die! Build your own cloud and die! When either choice ends in certain death, how do you choose?

You see, Amazon makes it so easy to launch a business on their cloud that it's difficult to imagine that you could possibly do it better. And why would you even try?

If you're already in business, you need to stay at the front of the herd. You can't just do what everyone else is doing, because everyone else won't be around in five years. If you are in any way involved with or affected by technology, there is no getting around innovation. Either you innovate, or someone innovates you. And by now we all know that, regardless of the benefits it brings, innovation also disrupts. In fact, it's capable of dramatic disruptions. You can be sure that, sooner or later, the new businesses given birth by innovation will disrupt not only your business, but perhaps your entire market.

If you think you're safe, read up on bitcoin, blockchain, and banks. Financial institutions thought they were safe because they adopted high technology at a rapid pace, first to increase profitability, and then to remain competitive. They did not imagine that high technology might one day disrupt their market so drastically that it might actually disintermediate them.

"But I'm happy with my AWS cloud"

That's why I use Amazon Web Services (AWS), you say: because AWS will keep me at the front of the herd. But you need to ask yourself, "which herd?"

"Many large customers are pursuing cloud deals for their infrastructure or commoditized application services. But, as Snowden points out, the Googles and AWS’s can’t orchestrate the kind of complex application delivery many of these customers require for mission critical systems."

- CIO magazine

I'm reluctant to ever apply the term "can't" when it comes to the smart people at Amazon or Google. If they're not doing it, it's probably not part of their business model. But it needs to be part of yours.

Consider transportation. It makes sense for small companies to rent a car or lease a fleet and outsource maintenance, particularly if vehicle operations enable their core business but are not actually their core business. That approach might make sense for large companies, as well. But for some companies whose core business is related to or highly dependent on transportation, it could make both economic and operational sense to own and maintain their own vehicles. They might want to experiment with electric vehicles, for instance, or with preventive maintenance techniques that identify problems before they occur. That approach could incur higher cost for maintenance, but lower costs for the business as a whole because of improved uptime and fewer disruptions to operations.

A private cloud actually makes you leaner

Cloud is more than a technology. It is more than a technique. It is more than a marketplace. It is becoming the ecosystem for enterprise—something akin to a neural net of products and services. And just as we, as individuals, need to change our opinions about sports, politics, or the food we eat when presented with evidence that contradicts our assumptions, in the cloud ecosystem we must remain agile enough to change not only the products and services that we offer, but also those that we consume.

From that perspective, you certainly should be working with AWS. But you should also consider the point at which it makes sense to grow your own. Growing your own doesn't mean you have to abandon your AWS cloud. Having your own in-house cloud means you can select the platform that makes the most sense for a particular workload at any given time, whether your priority is performance, scalability, cost, governance, or something we haven't thought about yet. Products such as Apcera make it easy to move workloads between your private and public clouds to suit the needs of your business.

Key capabilities for your private cloud infrastructure

Look for an infrastructure that provides these basic capabilities:

  1. Comprehensive visibility and management across all your datacenter resources, including public cloud, so that you can select the best available resource at the lowest cost.
  2. Data-centric security and governance so you can make rapid, better-informed decisions that won't get you into trouble later.
  3. Agility across the application lifecycle, from development through end-of-life, because an application will either be your product or deliver your product.
  4. Ability to relentlessly improve your utilization rate—or you won't be able to compete.
  5. Above all, an infrastructure that puts the needs of the business first. You can no longer afford to have the business limited by the needs of your infrastructure. Don't limit yourself to any proprietary solutions, and choose a platform that integrates with your legacy investments.

None of these decisions is permanent. Economics change. Opportunities present themselves. What's important is that your IT infrastructure keep you in a position to respond. Or even, to lead.

For More Information

If you'd like to find out more about Ericsson's approach, see Cloud Infrastructure.

And if you're interested in exploring our ideas in more depth, we recently published an e-book called "Transform Your Datacenter Into Your Competitive Edge." 

Download the eBook

About the photograph

I took the picture at Garden of the Gods, in Colorado Springs, in April of 2009.

Cloud Infrastructure

Rick Ramsey

I started my high tech training as an avionics technician in the US Air Force. While studying Economics at UC Berkeley, I wrote reference manuals and developer guides for two artificial intelligence languages, ART and SYNTEL. At Sun Microsystems I wrote about hardware, software, and toolkits for developers and sysadmins, and published “All About Administering NIS+.” I served as information architect before joining BigAdmin, which morphed into the Systems Community at Oracle. I left Oracle in May of 2015, and now write for Ericsson.

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