The team from USDA discusses the evolution of their OpenStack implementation, from concept to production


At the 2014 Atlanta Summit, a panel of four USDA enterprise data center workers discussed the evolution of their OpenStack implementation — from concept to production.

For background, their primary goal has been to consolidate the USDA as a whole and migrate the department to two primary data centers. They support a lot of important farm services in the United States, including subsets within the Department of Agriculture, the White House, the FDA and the Department of Homeland Security. Historically, their primary focus has been on PaaS and SaaS offerings, but they realized a shift in customer needs and wants. They realized a need for a true IaaS offering to adapt to this change and empower the customer as best they could.

Security architect Zach Bullard found OpenStack in his research one night, and brought it up with the Deputy ACIO. He emphasized, “…don’t be afraid to approach executive management to try and pitch your idea for using private cloud.” After 90 days of tedious research and hard work, the team built a functional demo/POC using SDN, OpenStack and Ceph.

This first step resulted in a series of iterations including “HopeStack”, “AngryStack”, “AwesomeStack” and “SolutionStack”.

For a deeper dive into the narrative behind each piece of the EvolutionStack project from the USDA NITC team, check out the panel footage above.