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Wednesday, May 14 • 2:40pm - 3:20pm
EvolutionStack at USDA - Building a Bazaar in the Cathedral

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In the beginning…
The USDA National Information Technology Center traces its lineage back to 1957 with the mission of reducing IT costs by pooling resources of multiple USDA agencies.
Our existing virtual hosting environment wasn’t designed to be a Cloud. It was built in continuance of our traditional mission – share stuff to keep computing (hosting) costs down. On top of that, we built in everything that govt customers are required to do; layers of security, compliance, backups, DR, etc.
Then our customers started asking about this Cloud thing. They were seeing their private industry peers using fast, agile, and cheap hosting services to change their IT processes; they failed-fast, iterated quickly, and spent less to do it than they could even in their own relatively new virtualized hosting environments. Our customers wanted to use the same methodologies to accomplish their public sector missions.
Enter OpenStack!
  • Hallway convos around this new OpenStack thing, realization that this could be just what NITC needs to offer real cloud services. Zach believes!
  • Zach wagers his parking space for 5 minutes with NITC’s top guy to talk OpenStack.
  • A team is selected evaluate Zach’s ideas. Leadership’s vision is aligned, as evidenced by the unlimited access to personnel for the team.
  • Excitement over the idea of OpenStack and what it means for hosting centers like NITC.
  • We started looking into what all could be done w/ OpenStack, and what our wants/needs were for our prospective cloud customers.
  • Feature Greed sets it! We over-ran the docs pretty badly.
  • But we kept at it. Late nights, re-installs, 500 ways not to build a cloud discovered.
  • Stayed about 2 days behind Nicira NVP (now VMware NSX) guys during our Quantum build.
    The Cathedral is completely freaked out.
  • Main feature collection working – VMs being deployed form Horizon. Much rejoicing.
  • Demo delivered to exec leadership – overwhelmingly positive reception.
  • Direction from leaders to build the real deal.
  • Beers
  • We needed stability and sustainability, and we couldn’t hire like RackSpace. So we looked around for some vendors that seemed to understand our vision.
  • In our search we arrived at VMware NSX for our network
  • We were bowled-over by Piston's approach to provisioning and operational philosophy,
  • And Silicon Mechanics’ approach to hardware lifecycle was a perfect fit with Piston.
  • Now we had to figure out how to get them all together.
  • So we brought them out to Kansas City for some BBQ from a gas station

avatar for Zachariah Bullard

Zachariah Bullard

Security Architect-USDA/NITC
Zachariah Bullard - Former BBS Sysop, wISP builder, and eDirectory lover. Former self hated Windows administrator and appreciative of most automation. Currently a Security Architect and aspiring cloud builder.
avatar for Rick Kundiger

Rick Kundiger

Branch Chief-Enterprise Architecture-USDA/NITC
Rick Kundiger was born in Milwaukee Wisconsin and moved to Kansas at age 7. He was in the US Navy from 1993 - 1998 and has traveled and worked and lived all over the world since then. Rick has been working in government IT since 2000. He has worked on complex projects for the Department... Read More →
avatar for Mike Meskill

Mike Meskill

CTO & Founder, Awnix
Mike Meskill is Founder and CTO of Awnix and spearheading the technology direction of Awnix with OpenStack and SDN. Previously, he was Network Architect at the USDA's National Information Technology Center (NITC). During his eight years at the NITC, Mike held various positions, including... Read More →
avatar for Justin Palmer

Justin Palmer

Open Systems Lead-USDA/NITC
Justin is a Linux team lead working for the USDA. Having been there for 5 years, Justin enjoys automating all the everything and steering the tools stack to things that rhyme with Python.
avatar for Matt Reiss

Matt Reiss

Cloud Architect, USDA-NITC
Matt Reiss is an Enterprise (Cloud) Architect at the National Information Technology Center (NITC). Over the past eight years he has been a leading force behind data center consolidation & migrations, virtualization, and open source everything for the USDA. At the ripe old age of... Read More →

Wednesday May 14, 2014 2:40pm - 3:20pm EDT
Room B206

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