Can Smaller Companies Build Their Own Cloud Infrastructure?

Can Smaller Companies Build Their Own Cloud Infrastructure?

The likes of Apple and Google have built their own cloud infrastructure but this route isn’t just reserved for big organisations. While smaller companies have relied on building their businesses on public cloud infrastructures, this trend won’t last forever, according to one industry veteran.

Jesse Robbins is the founder and CEO of Orion Labs, a wearables communications company, as well as the founder of Chef. He is also known to be one of the earliest engineers to work on Amazon Web Services (AWS) which is now a formidable cloud provider for companies big and small.

Speaking with ReadWrite, Robbins spoke about the need for Orion Labs to build its cloud infrastructure from scratch without using any third-party providers like AWS:

“Whether we’re early on a trend or not, we know how to build the kind of infrastructure required. There are table stakes problems that you can’t solve unless you have my team’s kind of background. We’re not a lone wolf. We’re ahead of the cycle in a spot that right now only large companies can set out to solve.”

It took 12 highly experienced people at Orion Labs 12 months to build out the company’s own cloud. While it could be argued that the whole process could have been faster and easier if they used an external cloud provider, Robbins noted that it was not an option if Orion Labs wants to be competitive in the market.

Infrastructure is something that companies of all sizes struggle with. But building an offering on an internal cloud infrastructure is worth it, even for a smaller company like Orion Labs, according to Robbins, and he sees a future where organisations will go back to using its own infrastructure and spurning third-party providers.

Do you agree with his sentiment? Let us know in the comments.

[Via ReadWrite]


  • It would be useful to clarify what they understand by “building their own cloud”. Building something like AWS took Amazon years and years… My view is that these companies will try to build a poor man version of AWS and will spend time and resources that should be focused somewhere else.

    This makes as much sense as somebody trying to build their own physical computers. Why would you do that? Buy them if you have to and spend your time building your product.

    • Exactly. Does a HP DL320 in a rack in Sydney running owncloud qualify as building our own cloud infrastructure?

      If so, we can all build our clouds for less than $500.

  • I really wish we would drop the term Cloud!
    There are basically three services;
    Hosted applications e.g. Saleforce, hotmail
    Hosted virtual servers e.g. AWS etc
    Self hosted servers, onsite virtual machines.

    Being an infrastructure engineer, I see no cloud here. Just the location of the virtual machine!

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