I am building a private Blockchain cluster DAPP envisaged to have 5 to 10 parties owning their own nodes (or node clusters). At this moment, there is no specific mandate to incentivize miners, though we would like to do so in future DAPP releases. In fact, the only reason mining is done is because there is no other option to validate and commit transactions onto the Ethereum Blockchain. In this context - a.) What good are the Ethers that are produced due to the afore-mentioned mining? b.) Is this an Ethereum usage anti-Pattern, in that - am I doing something that Ethereum was not built for. Aspects of Blockchain such as Immutability/ decentralized ledger / P2P nodes / Encrypted data : all of these are very germane to the work that I am doing, in that sense - Ethereum is a good fit. So, happy to hear comments .. Thanks
When it comes to private blockchains based on Ethereum, i don't really see any useful way you can actually benefit from it. Since you only have 5 or 10 nodes, making mining your only way of validating blocks won't be the best idea since mining was meant for large amout of nodes in competition to get the prize of minign a block, so it would be better to have some kind of protocol between your nodes that defines the validating process (e.g. the node with the most number subnodes, in case of clusters, can validate or veto the validation of one block).
It would be better if you learned more about the blockchain and how it works and what it can do then try to find the propper implementation to try.
If you already done that, i would advise to see Hyperledger for it's subNetwork feature where i think your node clusters would work better or try Chain (i don't know a lot about this one but it looks promissing).
What good are the Ethers that are produced due to the afore-mentioned mining?
Ether incentivizes good behavior in a setting where there is no pre-existing trust between the nodes and no accountability.
Is this an Ethereum usage anti-Pattern, in that - am I doing something that Ethereum was not built for.
There are other ways to reach consensus when the nodes do know and mostly trust each other. You can use a PoA network (Kovan runs this way), consider Quorum which is JPMorgan's Ethereum variant or Hyperledger Sawtooth Lake which includes Hyperledger Burrow (an Ethereum Virtual Machine implementation). Those platforms all use trusted validators to share the responsibility of creating blocks without mining, and they all support Solidity.
If you're not committed to Solidity, then Hyperledger Fabric, Corda and others are worthy of consideration. There are numerous criteria to think about. It's about suitability for a purpose.
Hope it helps.