Yotta is a brand new event platform I’m putting together this October at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. And after spending the best part of a year developing the idea, I’m starting to think it’s going to be a big hit. I’m getting a lot of buy-in, not just from the good folk I’m lucky to know after two decades as part of the data center “tribe”, but perhaps more importantly, from people I don’t. In fact, people that don’t necessarily “talk” data center at all.

I’m billing Yotta as a catalyst for an important conversation about what I’m calling the “jet engine moment” for the digital infrastructure industry.

I use this analogy every day when talking to people about why I’ve seen the need to spin up a new event alongside our already very successful DCD>Connect series. Connect brings together more than 10,000 data center professionals at multiple locations around the world, so why a new event? There is a good reason I can assure you.

Let’s just imagine for a moment that you are a pilot delivering the first Airbus A380 - the world’s largest airplane - to a new customer.

As you approach the airport you check in with air traffic control to confirm they are ready for you to land. You assume that the extension to the runway, the strengthening of the runway and the double decker gate modifications have all been made. But it appears they have not! You’re not going to be able to land the plane!

An impossible scenario.

Why? Because the aviation industry has been vertically integrated. It had to develop a much longer term collective view of the future for all its constituent parts in order to function properly.

In the 1960s a new technology was born that changed everything. The jet engine. From the first flight of the Wright brothers and all the way through two world wars, aeroplanes all had iterative designs of the same propeller engine. Smaller regional airports sufficed, some people could even have landing strips in their gardens.

The jet engine required a whole new scale of thinking and made such an impact that a whole new layer of infrastructure was needed. The dimension of the money required also changed. Huge new international airports like JFK in New York and London’s Heathrow had to be built at an enormous cost. These investment requirements needed new capital structures. And to make such large investments a much longer time horizon was needed.

The type of timescale that allows Rolls-Royce the decade needed to design and build the Trent engine that provides the lift to get the Airbus A380 airborne.

Now let’s imagine you are shipping the latest AI compute hardware to new customers and they aren’t ready to deploy it; it’s too dense, they don’t have the connectivity, they don’t even have the power. They effectively can’t “land the plane.” This is a big problem, and it's not going away.

It's time to develop new, more inclusive conversations

I think this warrants a much bigger conversation than the one we are having at our tribal gatherings. I think it's the “jet engine” moment for digital infrastructure. And I believe it’s an intersectional problem, one that needs the many tribes that together form the digital infrastructure industry to come together, to see the world from each other's perspective and discuss how we scale to the yottabyte era.

The thing about tribes is that they stick together, they form their own language, they go to their own events. They become siloed. I’ve spent years trying to get compute, network, telecoms and others into the same room, but it's not easy. This time it’s different with a hundred expert speakers from all corners of the industry committed and hundreds more delegates already registered.

A “jet engine moment” is pretty compelling, especially if you are a systems thinking type of person.

If you want to come and play, get in touch.