The first Software-Defined Data Center Symposium (SDDC) is being held on Sept. 10 in Santa Clara, Calif, presented by SDNCentral and the Tech Field Day crew. To kick off our interview series preceding the event, we asked our co-organizers — Stephen Foskett and Tom Hollingsworth — to explain the event.
Many networking stalwarts are familiar with the successful and well-respected Networking Field Days and other Tech Field Day events you have run in the past. So what’s the deal with the Software Defined Data Center Symposium? How does this differ from other Field Days you’ve organized in the past?
Foskett: “Tech Field Day is truly a unique event, bringing a panel of a dozen independent influencers together with key companies. But Tech Field Day is invite-only, with the rest of the world participating via live streaming video and social media. We’ve always wanted to do in-person public events, too, so the Symposium format seemed a natural addition. We spend a day with key companies, but the public is invited to attend, too. Plus, in addition to short presentations, the Symposium includes panel discussions with companies, independents, and analysts. The Symposium is our twist on a technology conference, while Tech Field Day is something totally different.”
What prompted you to co-organize it with SDNCentral?
Foskett: “We’ve been aware of SDNCentral for a while, back to our early Networking Field Days and our first SDN Symposium. As we got to know the folks behind SDNCentral, we realized that we shared an interest in open technical discussion without the “sales-y” flavor usually found at trade shows. As SDN evolved, co-hosting a Software-Defined Data Center Symposium just seemed a natural fit.”
What’s your view on how the data center is evolving? What key trends are you seeing that you aim to cover in the symposium?
Hollingsworth: “There’s an interesting dynamic in enterprise IT, a constant push-pull between radical revolution and stable reliability. But the data center is really changing, spurred by server virtualization and cloud computing. After years of “big PCs,” we’re finally seeing radical new ideas like platform-as-a-service and devops, leading to true programmable infrastructure. I worry about buzzword bingo, but I know software-defined infrastructure is the real deal: It’s coming and I’ve seen it work. We’ll be focusing on the reality of SDDC: What is it, how does it work, what are the key enabling technologies?”
Who cannot afford to miss SDDC? What can they expect to learn, and how will they benefit?
Foskett: “If you’re skeptical about SDN and SDDC, this is the event for you. We’re going to talk real technology and implementation, and it won’t be boring. We’ll have end users from key companies like Coca-Cola, Boeing, Facebook, and UBS talking how they’re really “doing” SDDC. They’ll share the stage with outspoken industry personalities like Greg Ferro from the Packet Pushers podcast and Ivan Pepelnjak of ipSpace, as well as the companies that are disrupting the data center: NEC, Nuage, Nutanix, Plexxi, and more.”
Hollingsworth: “Plus, like all Tech Field Day events, we’re focused on people as much as technology. The room will be filled with key folks in the industry, and this is a great way to meet up, network, and discuss. Symposium attendees will walk away with a real understanding of the technology behind SDDC as well as contacts with key innovators and fellow technologists.”
What do you view to be the key highlights of the event?
Foskett: “I’ve heard so much blue-sky nonsense at industry conferences, I’m really looking forward to the real-world perspective of our end-user presentations. And as a bit of a revolutionary, I’ll be listening in as our corporate technologists present new ideas and products. Plus, Greg Ferro and Ivan Pepelnjak are always entertaining!”
So, how do people sign-up? And do you have something special to offer SDNCentral readers?
Hollingsworth: “It’s easy to sign up and attend: Just purchase a ticket at our Eventbrite page and head over to Techmart in Santa Clara on September 10. We’re charging $25 to cover the cost of lunch, but we’d really like to get SDNCentral readers to the event. So anyone reading this can get $5 off by using the promo code ‘SDNCentral.'”