What Am I Doing Now?

What am I doing now? This is a question I am asked quite a lot at the moment, so I thought I’d take the time to answer it.

While some people may know bits and pieces, I am now summarising it in its entirety:

I have just started a new company called “StartSwitch” where I am working both as the CEO, but also as a Cloud Architect. To best explain my role, I should first introduce the company: StartSwitch helps enterprises to embrace Open Source cloud technologies such as OpenStack, CEPH and Kubernetes by planning, deploying and maintaining private cloud infrastructure.

In practice, this could mean that we are being approached by a typical German Mittelstand company producing, for example, agricultural machinery. They found a compelling case to innovate by digitising processes their customers are following, for example gathering specific intelligence of the work as it is carried out and offering additional value to their customer by automating processes and giving unique insights, cost savings and more.

This company may have a well sized IT department and a small development team they took on recently, but they don’t have experience with operating a service. StartSwitch then helps them to identify the needs of their developers for the infrastructure, plans a private cloud deployment and implements the pilot together with their teams. The teams are then trained on the environment to maximise its effectiveness and learn how to scale it as requirements change.

Like this, they can utilise experience they do not have in house for a limited time and not just train their staff, but also finish with a completed project in the same amount of time otherwise solely devoted to figuring out and staff training.

Compared to using traditional IT workflows, they can now adopt a DevOps strategy which helps them react faster and with more flexibility to customer requirements and outpace competition while still maintaining control of all data and interlectual property, safeguarding it from competitors and criminals behind their own firewalls and protected by their trusted security and operations teams.

But why?

The reasons I decided to specifically enter this industry are many fold: First of all, I really enjoy working with the technologies at the core of my new business. Further more, I felt there was a need for a partner that companies undergoing a digital transformation can lean on and take over my experience in the area. Overall, I am looking to help customers optimise resource utilisation, both time and resources such as electricity and hardware, but also maintain competitiveness over much larger global competitors and, not least, safeguard the information by enabling full transparency and data ownership through Open Source solutions.

On the front of resource utilisation, one should add that data centres are responsible for some 10 per cent of global electricity consumption, and due to IoT and the Digital Transformation, this is projected to rise further. My intention is to help companies reduce their share as much as possible and heavily profiting from it in many other areas by making better use of their existing assets and planning new projects so their also also less resource intensive.

So, what is the plan moving forward?

Next up, I am planning to grow the company as quickly as I can, so I can bring these services to more and more companies, and ideally, once the company is big enough, I want to be able to look at another problem in this world and tackle it as best I can, which is always my plan with any company I start. There are still a lot of things I want to do and a lot of problems I want to solve during my  lifetime, this is just one way to move further down this list.

To summarise, StartSwitch allows me to bring some of my favourite subjects, technology, privacy, information security, the Digital Transformation and climate change mitigation together and enabling others to embrace all these areas at the same time.

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