11 February 2021

Interconnection is the basis for solutions: An interview with DE-CIX’s Mr. Cloud – Harald Kriener

Harald ‘Hacki’ Kriener aka ‘Mr. Cloud’ is Director Business Development Cloud Services at DE-CIX and has worked for the Internet Exchange operator since 2016.

Tell us about your personal history with/at DE-CIX.

My first contact with DE-CIX was in the early 2000s. Later, I met Ivo (Ivanov) in Dubai around 2015 on the DE-CIX peering cruise. That is when we started to discuss and brainstorm what a new kind of service around cloud connectivity could look like. At first, cloud connectivity was an island project. Now it is connected into everything at DE-CIX. A while back, it felt like there was a pivotal change; the potential of cloud connectivity became a core part of DE-CIX’s business mission. It’s so exciting to be part of that development.

What are your main daily/regular tasks?

I look after cloud connectivity. I get partners to join the DE-CIX cloud ecosystem and keep track of developments at our partners to motivate them to think about new approaches to connectivity. My daily tasks include creating new ideas and starting new services and bringing these to market to provide better services for customers.

What motivates you to come to work every day?

There are customers from all over the world, all with different perspectives and different approaches and who need different types of support. I love the mix of cultures and personalities on the DE-CIX team. We all work so well together. I like being a piece of a jigsaw that is able to change something.

There was a pivotal change; the potential of cloud connectivity became a core part of DE-CIX’s business mission.”

How has the Internet been a part of your life?

The Internet has been a huge part of my life; in fact, it has been my professional life. My first computer had a blue and green screen; an Olivetti 8068 with MS-DOS. I trained as a software developer, programmed a lot, and played around with what could be done. I did programming work early on for friends and family.

When just 17, I founded my own company. As I was still a minor, my father had to sign contracts for me. My parents really trusted and believed in me. I learned a lot about dealing with banks, financing, and taking on responsibility for employees etc. I worked a lot and had great friendships. Around 25 years ago, I founded HAPPYnet, one of the first ISPs in Austria, with Bernd Spieß and Marco Brandstätter. Now we all work together again at DE-CIX.

A very recent milestone is the massive change to teleworking over the past year.”

What – for you – are the Internet’s key moments; the highlights, the peaks, the milestones etc.?

A major milestone, from my perspective, was the introduction of DSL; more speed, more bandwidth and many many more users. It brought the Internet to the masses. 

A very recent milestone is the massive change to teleworking over the past year. It’s now standard to have video meetings. So many people are working from home. It’s how my 15-year-old daughter can still socialize during the pandemic. All of this is only possible thanks to the Internet.

What are your thoughts on the future of the cloud and the Internet?

Interconnection is the basis for solutions. It will solve issues we have today, and it will be a base for new services, workloads, and ideas. I think that in around just five years, we’ll have a cloud ecosystem internationally, not only in Germany. In five years, we will have cloud connectivity in all locations. Closed User Groups will be standard.