Atlanta, Georgia: home of the oldest portable steam engine in the United States, short-term residence of Blackbeard the pirate (seriously), and host of OpenStack Summit 2014.

Ok, so Blackbeard didn’t actually ‘hang with his crew’ (see what I did there… ‘hang’) in downtown Atlanta. However, a) Blackbeard Island is in the state of Georgia, and b) I’m running short on local facts – and this one seemed more interesting than, “Cordele claims to be the watermelon capital of the world.”.

There weren’t any keynotes on day three, which freed up time to talk with other guests, and what an array sorts there were. From die-hard open-source community members with all the stereo-types accounted for – one attendee taking it to the next level and going barefoot (coder-level: ninja) – to senior architects from multi-national carrier service provides.

What remained consistent, albeit from the different contexts of positions held and philosophical standings, was the need for speed. These typically came from three common drivers:

  • the deployment of new services to either customers or employees.
  • reacting to unforeseen circumstances effecting application delivery.
  • implementing new datacenters in the field.

The requirement to deploy new applications and services efficiently and rapidly is a significant driver behind OpenStack, as it is for any SDN, SDDC, SDx... strategy, and with the increasing reliance upon Internet technology to do business comes the requirement to be more competitive and agile in how organizations address demand.

The requirement to react quickly to unforeseen circumstances can be driven by a number of circumstances, including:

  • The good problem: launch of a new product or successful sales/marketing campaign
  • The bad problem: capacity planning being insufficient to meet company growth
  • The ugly problem: a cyber attack preventing customers and/or employees form accessing resource

Lastly, the speed to deploy new data centers, with an ever-increasing list of use cases from oil exploration sites popping up in deserts or out at sea, to production companies like DigitalFilm Tree, from whom we heard on Day 2, needing on-site deployments for short periods of time.

In all three of these drivers for speed, the solution arises from an architecture that supports agility, and this theme resonated across the OpenStack Summit keynotes, presentations, workshops, and right down to the conversations in the Expo hall. The focus for 2014 is architecture that promotes fast time-to-market and time-to-react.

The data center has become exciting once again. No more shall the network be in the way!