Action shot of the SolidFire survey-by-rocket during OpenStack Summit in Vancouver. SolidFire CEO Dave Wright asked for it.
Action shot of the SolidFire survey-by-rocket during OpenStack Summit in Vancouver. SolidFire CEO Dave Wright asked for it.

Now that the OpenStack Summit is behind us and the dust has settled, it is always good to look back at the key takeaways since the last Summit. I have a tendency to think in both numbers and feedback from customer conversations. Let’s start with the numbers. According to the OpenStack Foundation:

  • 6,000 attendees (up from 4,700 in Paris and 4,500 in Atlanta) — the largest OpenStack Summit to date
  • 54% were attending a Summit for the first time
  • 71% of attendees were developers, architects, or operators


Trend #1 – OpenStack is hotter than ever with a focus on quality.

It is great to see the majority of the OpenStack Summit audience attending for the first time, but also possessing a hands-on technical background. The OpenStack Summit was an audience of creative problem solvers looking to provide value to their business. My conversations throughout the week reinforced this premise. The level of conversation moved from “What is OpenStack?” at past events to “How do I best operate OpenStack?” It is great to see this level of maturity and increased interest in efficient operations of OpenStack clouds.


Trend #2 – Customers want to do something different.

That brings me to SolidFire’s keynote. If you weren’t there in person I’ll give you a little background on it. The fundamental question behind our keynote was one simple thought: “Where would people take their cloud if storage weren’t in the way?” But rather than just making it a hypothetical question, we performed a real-time survey, SolidFire style. Dave Wright, our CEO, asked everyone in the first 10 rows of the audience to reach under their chairs to find a survey sticker, a pen, and a foam finger-rocket. Those folks completed their surveys, stuck them to their rockets, and then proceeded to fire away at the stage — 1,000 surveys in all — right at Dave.

Our team worked so hard to pull off our “rocket survey,” and they really did an amazing job. It takes a long time to tape 1,000 rockets under chairs when nobody’s looking (actually twice because the first time the tape didn’t stick!) The Foundation of course gave us the final keynote on Monday since we were going to make a big mess of the stage. As the keynotes were starting to run behind we were afraid of losing the crowd, meanwhile folks were finding the rockets before it was time. Then our kickoff video started, and you will just have to see the rest for yourself:



As Dave mentioned in his keynote, storage is the cornerstone of every successful cloud. Too often when I talk to customers about existing legacy storage, storage efficiency is one of their top challenges. The issues I see range from lack of scale-out capacity and guaranteed performance to operations that are increasingly difficult and complex. What if storage weren’t a limitation? What if you could do what has never been done?


Trend #3 – OpenStack solves problems. Customers want to know what’s next.

As OpenStack matures, the next logical question is “what’s next?” As the number of projects within OpenStack continues to grow, so do the number of use cases where an OpenStack solution will provide benefit to your organization. The risk here is as the number of OpenStack projects grows, who will integrate and operate your OpenStack cloud? We at SolidFire will continue to streamline both the provisioning and operations of OpenStack through our Agile Infrastructure offerings.


In case you haven’t had a chance, check out the opening video from our keynote and ask yourself, are you ready to take your cloud places others can’t?


Aaron Delp

Aaron is the Director of Technology Solutions for SolidFire, specializing in cloud based solutions, reference architectures, and customer enablement. In his vast experience in high tech, Aaron has been a leader in the Citrix Cloud Platforms Group; Cloud Field Enablement for VCE; in the management, orchestration, and automation products from VMware, Cisco, EMC, and CA Technologies; and has led the design and publication of the configuration of Cisco Unified Communications (UC) on the VCE Vblock Platform. Other past responsibilities include enabling a top 50 technology value added reseller (VAR), serving as the Data Center Practice Lead, and over 10 years at IBM.