Having recently completed its third year, the 2017 Data Center Austin Conference (otherwise known as DC/AC) is a relatively new event for the data center industry and attempts to set itself apart from other trade shows. Founded by Kirk Offel, Executive Vice President of Platform Delivery for Aligned Energy, the conference’s vision is “to bring together the most respected thought leaders in the Data Center industry to effectively bridge the gap between the current state of the industry and future needs and trends.” To accomplish this noteworthy goal, the educational sessions at DC/AC take the form of panel discussions whose members are comprised entirely of end users.
Having heard a little buzz about the show over the last few years, and because one of Milldam PR’s clients was sponsoring DC/AC for the first time, we thought the time was right to have a presence at the 2017 conference.
Home to a robust music scene, DC/AC is held at Austin City Limits (ACL) Live at the Moody Theater in Austin, Texas. ACL Live is a state-of-the-art, 2,750-person capacity live music venue that hosts around 100 concerts each year. It serves as the permanent home for the taping of the acclaimed KLRU-TV produced PBS series, Austin City Limits, which is the longest running music series in American television history. In keeping with that theme, live music is almost always present at DC/AC. After a golf tournament and data center tour on day one, Aligned Energy hosts a welcome event featuring local band The Spazmatics.
To everyone’s (pleasant) surprise, a variety of brightly lit individuals in exo-suits arrived midway through the band’s set to mingle with the crowd. Their participation was thanks to one of the event’s “surprise entertainment sponsors.”
Day one of DC/AC wrapped up with an evening networking session offsite that featured what can be best described as a “boy band tribute band.”
Day two of the conference began with the keynote by Luke Nosek, Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Founders Fund as well as PayPal, where he served as the company’s VP of Marketing and Strategy. While Nosek admitted that he wasn’t a data center expert, his address focused on the insights gained from taking chances within the broader technology industry and the importance of breaking with established business models to spur innovation.
Following the keynote was Bo Bond, Data Center Solutions Co-Lead for JLL. Bo gave a Data Center Industry State of the Union address that focused on the impressive M&A activity in 2016, a synopsis of current activity, and ended with a report on the growth within various Texas data center markets. Texas, and the Dallas/Fort Worth region in particular, is seeing tremendous growth for a variety of reasons, most notably the cheap cost of power in the area.
DC/AC featured panels on a variety of issues relating to data centers, including: sustainability, cloud & enterprise, strategies to get more women into the mission critical industry, and private equity. Above, the Operator panel pokes fun at the oft overused terminology used by data center professionals (especially at conferences), turning their discussion into a drinking game for panelists and attendees alike.
Overall, the third annual DC/AC event was a worthwhile event, not just for the interesting aesthetics and abundance of live music, but because of the end user-driven discussions that are helping to shape the direction of the data center industry. We’re curious about your impressions. Did you attend the 2017 DC/AC or would you like to hear more about our experiences? If so please reach out. Milldam PR attends a wide-variety of trade shows in the mission critical and energy industries each year and is always happy to share our insights and help you plan your strategy.
Brendon Stellman authors the column “Pure BS” and is Vice President, Director of Client Relations for Milldam Public Relations.