Atlanta, Georgia: located near Stone Mountain, one of the largest single masses of exposed granite in the world, host to the International Poultry Trade Show, the largest poultry convention in the world, and home of the 2014 OpenStack Summit.

Opening the event with his keynote address, Executive Director of the OpenStack Foundation, Jonathan Bryce, announced huge growth in support from 1800 attendees only a couple of years ago to 4500 attendees today. Bryce talked of the ‘software defined economy’ and what its doing to businesses both in and out of the tech industry. Explaining that today every company in every industry is competing with a startup because the barriers towards entering a market are gone in a software defined economy. It has reduced expense which allows organizations to innovate and experiment with lower risk and investment.

Bryce then went on to introduce some real world implementations of OpenStack where we heard from Glenn Ferguson, Head of private cloud enablement at Wells Fargo who announced that Openstack gave them agility, and improved speed to market. Following Fergusson was Chris Launey, Director Cloud Services & Architecture at Walt Disney Company.

Chris drew attention to the gaps between the developments of consumer services versus business technology, saying that its now easier to acquire services from at home than from the workplace. He went on to say that we must focus on making the workplace more productive so that we can return to innovation.

Launey shared his opinion of ‘Shadow IT’ stating that, contrary to the belief of many, it is awesome because it, “shows you where your opportunities are”. 

Next up, and with a distinct change in approach, Bryce introduced, Troy Toman of Rackspace and his session titled, "Just Rebels? Or a Rebel alliance?". Two clear takeaways from Troy’s session: 1) He REALLY likes Star Wars. Seriously, a lot!! And yet, to my frustration, he talks just like Jeff Bridges in Tron – saving the world one pixel at a time. And 2) a Planet Scale Cloud requires interoperability.

Lastly, we had Sam Greenblatt, VP & CTO Enterprise Solutions Group. Sam talked of Dell's vision for SaaS, PaaS, IaaS & MBaaS - Mobile Backend-aaS. A term recently coined by IBM.

Jonathan Bryce then closed out the keynotes by announcing the Openstack marketplace, offering consulting services, hosting, flexible billing, etc. for those wishing to join the OpenStack movement.

All in all, an interesting start to the day with a good range of stories from openstack developers, integrators and end users, and it’s all about DC agility – a strategy F5 is passionate about.