The Cloud Operating Model & your Technology Ecosystem

08 Feb

The “cloud operating model” also known as “Agile IT” has been explained in a hundred different blogs, but effectively it means an organization designed with your new more agile infrastructure in mind. The point is that legacy IT organizations are unable to truly benefit from the use of cloud because of the designed in delays. Execution on tasks in legacy IT from purchasing to spinning up new images has historically been measured in weeks or months, and in a cloud operating model it’s available in minutes or hours.

Why is the Technology Ecosystem Important to your Cloud Operating Model?

Under the assumption that you’re adopting a cloud operating model, it will likely mean that you will be using more than one cloud provider of public and private solutions. It will also likely mean that you’ll be in a position to test and adopt new tech at an accelerated pace.  In this environment of rapid adoption across varying platforms and providers, having proximity to some of the key resources can be a huge benefit to cost, complexity, and time.

Hurdles to Cloud & New Solution Adoption

You wouldn’t think in today’s “connected” world that distance could still play a serious role in the adoption of new technology solutions, whether it’s cloud, big data, or anything else. However, strange as it may seem the Wide Area Network (WAN) and distance still cause IT folks serious headaches.  Consider using a Big Data as a Service offering, how will you get your data to the provider, and will you leave the data there, or resupply it whenever necessary? Depending on the service, it could mean that you either FedEx your updates or you buy a fat pipe of bandwidth between you and the provider. This bandwidth has cost, takes time, and creates one more item of overhead. How about running hundreds of VMs on a service provider’s IaaS or PaaS? Wouldn’t it be great if you could try the IaaS service out for a day, a week, or a month at no risk by just having a 10 GB cross connect installed between you and the provider within the same data center or between highly connected data centers on a campus?

Why the Technology Ecosystem Changes the Game

When you consider the scenarios listed above you might start to accept that proximity creates real opportunities for the customer and the provider. The provider benefits by being able to provide services without the fear of network charges and delays, while the customer benefits from speed, reduced complexity and lower costs.

At Switch we are huge believers in the technology ecosystem model as are our partners. The Switch ecosystem started with the network provider options associated with CORE, which then led into multiple cloud providers, and all are combined with innovative integrators and value added resellers.  This ecosystem is being further developed by our creation of INNEVATION for technology startups. This co-located ecosystem creates a very powerful tool for everyone involved and we strongly believe it will be a model for others moving forward.

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  1. Steve Chambers

    February 13, 2012 at 3:29 am

    When I asked the panel @ a recent CloudCamp “how do you get your ‘big’ data in/out of the cloud” and “date=money, so how do you protect my data (or do I have to do it?)” they all thought I was mad.

    It doesn’t surprise me that *you* care about these requirements, being the level headed super brain that you are, and I hope that because someone like you has raised them then perhaps some more blinkered cloud commentators might start giving a damn about some of these cloud practicalities!

    The plumbing may be out of sight, but the plumbing still counts!

    Great post!

    • mthiele

      February 22, 2012 at 2:26 pm


      I really appreciate the feedback, and I’m getting the same blank faces when I ask the question about data movement with Big Data solutions. To be honest, I hesitated to write about it because I thought it was too easy, that I must be missing something.


  2. Rik Harris

    March 3, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    I was talking to a researcher at a CloudCamp session who was concerned because the building of the research IaaS systems they were supposed to use had been given to two different organisations: storage to one group and compute to another.

    They had chosen different physical locations, so a lot of his time was being spent figuring out how to get subsets his data to the compute facility and cached so the models could run efficiently.

    I’m not convinced “it’s called cloud, so I don’t have to think about how it’s all plugged together” is going to get the best outcomes…


  3. Mike

    May 7, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    So stoked to read this post! Found it via your article in GigaOM, (Cloud is a corporate strategy, not a tactical solution). This is exactly the discussion us Government Technology Infrastructure Architects are working to convey. It’s like walking into a Zen Garden. Thanks Mark, I’ll be back often.

    • mthiele

      May 7, 2012 at 2:59 pm

      Mike, Thanks for the nice comment, I really appreciate the feedback. All the best.

  4. Raymond

    November 2, 2013 at 3:01 am

    Sir just read your post. I’ve no clue what exactly a technology ecosystem is and how does it work. can you explain it to me because I’m going to give a presentation about it. My class is technopreneurship by the way thanks. :)

    • Mark Thiele

      November 6, 2013 at 6:01 pm


      A technology ecosystem is a collection of products and services from various providers that when combined bring additional value to your technology solution creation and selection. The ecosystem works by in effect leveraging a community of partners and participants who can contribute to helping build solutions specific to your business needs. The bigger and more diverse the ecosystem, the better your options for getting exactly what you need vs. settling for something less.

      • Raymond

        November 7, 2013 at 3:16 am

        Thanks sir Mark Thiele! :) , I understood what you said, If I may add what are the components that an technology ecosystem must have? the basic ones?, does the government and laws included in the cycle?