Last week I attended Australia’s largest technology expo in Melbourne Australia. The show was called Connect Expo and it brought eleven diverse technology areas under the same roof. Attendees could listen to world experts on such topics as cloud, big data, future health, connected education, digital marketing and UAV/drones…well I did say diverse… and I can vouch that if you put a drone the size of a car in a booth you generate a lot of foot traffic.
Nuage Networks supported the event with keynote speakers in both the Openstack and Cloud & Big Data conferences as well as displaying our solutions in the expo area. The event ran over two days with the Openstack conference on day one and Cloud & Big Data on day two.
Day one for me involved a fair amount of booth duty and an offsite event to brief Australian media on Nuage Networks but I did manage to sit in on a couple of the OpenStack sessions.
I’m interested in OpenStack, both as a technology eco-system and as an open source alternative to the proprietary cloud systems. As such I’ve served booth tours of duty at the large OpenStack Summits where everybody (3000+) are deeply entrenched in everything OpenStack. So I was intrigued by the conversation level at the Connect OpenStack conference.
The day finished with a who’s who of OpenStack (Randy Bias, Tom Fifield, Michael Still, Benjamin Hickey, Tristan Goode and Nuage Networks own Australian based solution architect Marten Hauville). This panel discussed the future of OpenStack with a natural level of enthusiasm expected from key supporters of the technology. As the fireside chat conversations evolved, the issue holding back OpenStack in Australia emerged; finding OpenStack qualified and experienced resources.
There was no doubt that the key inhibitor for OpenStack in Australia was people. The technology had emerged as a viable alternative to build new cloud infrastructures but the lack of in-house and vendor-supplied resources was the key constraint. So OpenStackers, I guess the moral of the story is, if you like sun, sand and BBQ’s, maybe you should seek fame and fortune in Australia.
The second day of Connect Expo involved the Cloud & Big Data summit. For Nuage Networks this included keynote presentations from Marten, and Scott Sneddon heading downunder from his base in California.
The audience was more business oriented on day two and a number of booth conversations revolved around interest in Software Defined Networking (SDN) from Australian Enterprises. Most had heard of the technology but had not made the connection that to drive the best return on virtualized compute and the move to the cloud, that SDN is a fundamental necessity.
We had a number of large Enterprises make that initial step into the booth for an icebreaker conversation about SDN. A lot of the conversations started softly, along the lines of… I’ve heard of SDN but I don’t know why I need it.
As a technology marketer, I find these conversations great, so much easier than when a developer comes up and asks me if my solution supports ‘quorum redundant hadoop clustering’ (which of course we do….).
I get a real buzz out of welcoming these Enterprises on to the stand and watching them ‘get’ SDN.
For the majority, an alternative to the slow and laborious network configuration processes they wait for today has never been a possibility.
So watching the booth team explain in plain business language that there is an alternative, that its fully automated and completely aligned to their cloud based application deployments is great to see.
Let’s park SDN technology to one side for a moment and focus purely on the business impacts. Taking anything that’s currently resource intensive and laborious and replacing it with something that’s automated and instant the resulting benefit is time. That’s exactly what a good SDN based network solution will deliver; network configurations that normally take days and weeks can be rolled out in hours or even minutes.
For a first time, I think the Connect Expo did a great job in bringing a divergent group of technology subjects under the same roof. The great southern land is beginning its journey into the cloud and I’m sure that SDN will play a big part in driving the networks of today into this new dynamic environment.