So you have decided to start from scratch because you want to have more control over your product/services, its roadmap, evolution and you don’t want to depend on 3rd parties.
So what do you need and how to start?
First thing is that you are going to need a data center where to host your servers because the cloud is just somebody else’s computer, in this case, the cloud is your servers.
There are also two approaches for this, you either build your one data center or you lease space from a data center provider.
For instance, Hetzner (a German cloud provider) has its own data centers located in Germany and Finland:
Other companies, like the cloud backup solution, Backblaze, rents data center spaces in multiple locations:
As you can see, both of these options require a big investment upfront, creating a data center from scratch requires the space, licenses, internet providers, and backbone structures besides power delivery and backup power solutions, not to mention the staffing.
It may seem that renting a data center space is a more safe and less investment cost solution, but most of the time the leases are negotiated for several years and expected business, meaning you might get a cheaper price with the promise that your business will grow and you will acquire more resources. So this means that it is also a long-term investment.
Now you have your physical location and hardware resources, you need to build your cloud, meaning creating your software solution and setting up your DevOps operation.
Again, Backblaze has a very good blog post on behind the scenes of what is need to run their services:
Building the software, maintenance and monitoring require a fully staffed team working 24/7/365, so it is also expected that these types of costs are also quite considerable.
The last needed part, now that you have hardware and software, is to sell your product/services, so you will need a marketing team to make sure that you will have enough customers to have a return on your investment and pay off your investors.
It is possible, but for the majority of people, these types of investments are a bit outside of the realm of possibilities.
So let’s look at another approach that requires considerably less investment…