Interop 2013 - NYC Edition

Thankfully, with the Acela working again, I was able to spend the day at the Javits center with the newest member of ESG networking team, Will Reich, speaking with IT decision-makers and practitioners, attending presentations, and visiting with vendors (and see demos) at the Interop Show. While not the same size and scope as the spring show, the trip to NYC is far easier than Vegas and there were a good number of attendees for the show.

After a nice walk from Penn Station to the Javits Center, we were able to hear John Chambers’ standing room only keynote speech. A couple of things in particular stuck out to me from his presentation: 1. Mr. Chambers is a great presenter and can really command a room. 2. Cisco continues to expand its presence as an IT solutions provider i.e., more than just the network. 3. Last but certainly not least, it sounds like the detailed announcement around Application Centric Infrastructure and Insieme Networks is almost here. Towards the end of the keynote, Chambers—much like General Doug MacArthur referring to his return to the Philippines—declared that he would return to New York next month with a significant announcement (ed. note – it took MacArthur over two years). So stay tuned for that announcement.

Another presentation we took in was presented by the Enterasys CMO, Vala Afshar and CIO, Dan Petlon. It might sound odd to many, but they were not there to talk about Enterasys products, but rather how they were leveraging technology and social media to improve their company's support and sales efforts. Vala—who writes for the Huffington Post, published a book, hosts a weekly Google Hangout that has attracted Guy Kawasaki, Aaron Levie, and others, and has what seems to be a billion twitter followers—stressed the need to create a social business. What was really interesting is how social media may be transitioning the traditional B2B marketing role to more of a P2P or person-to-person effort.

Roaming the show floor and venue hallways, we had time to meet up with several vendors including Cisco, CloudSigma, Emulex, HP, Huawei, Interface Masters, Plexxi, and Riverbed. A few updates include:

Cisco – In addition to the keynote, we were able to sit down with the mobility team to hear about the expanding product line like the 3650 unified wired and wireless switch for smaller, branch environments where it could be deployed initially as a wired switch and then add wireless capability when needed. They also covered the modular APs, which will provide investment protection when upgrading to 802.11ac. The unified access portion was also interesting as CMX is now integrated with Facebook and can leverage those login credentials to accelerate access and even hotel or event check ins. Also the ability to collect analytics from this solution will help to deliver smarter solutions – based on location etc.

HP – I wrote about the HP SDN App Store earlier this week, but was able to see the demo in the HP booth. Again, this is a really cool concept and reflects an overall shift in how technology is being consumed. HP is embracing this shift (consumerization of IT) and by adding an SDN App Store, will simplify the way enterprises consume network services in the future. This is not just a store front however, HP is rolling an SDK tool kit with training and certification to help ISVs and network services vendors leverage these tools and accelerate the time to integrate useful and working applications. HP will also provide certified app status to eliminate quality concerns.

Given its recent partnership announcement with Radware, perhaps some early front runners for the app store may include its DefenseFlow and ElasticScale services.

Plexxi – This company continues to make progress and has been busy building out its innovative and scalable platform. It focuses on delivering optimized networking solutions based on applications or workloads leveraging something it refers to as Affinities – an open model that expresses application requirements in non-networking terms. Expect to hear more from this company shortly.

Overall a good day – even managed to grab a couple of NY deli sandwiches at the Stage Door Restaurant.