Looking Forward to Interop 2014

Only a few days ‘til I head out to the glittering lights of Vegas to attend Interop. If you are interested in networking, this is one of the highlights of the year for you as it marks one of the major events for announcements. So many in fact that you may have a hard time keeping up with all of them! Keep in mind that is a good thing.

As one might expect, SDN will continue to be a major theme. However, as the market matures, expect to hear about how many of the SDN announcements of 2013 are materializing into working products with actual customers testing them. So, most likely this means that 2014 will be a really busy year for proof of concept testing and pilots. Not only are the building blocks for SDN materializing, but we are also witnessing more SDN “applications” coming to market as well – for the data center, campus and branch. A big part of some of the announcements last year in SDN related to ecosystems and how the collection of vendors would work together to develop end-to-end solutions – this is a good check in point to find out how those are developing. To use an iPhone analogy, this allows us essentially to find out how many SDN apps are in the app store. The SDN finalists include Cisco’s ACI APIC, VMware’s NSX and the OpenDaylight Project Hydrogen release. HP has an SDN app – a network optimizer for Microsoft Lync, as a finalist in the network category.

And while everything is becoming software-defined, network vendors continue to take advantage of Broadcom’s Trident 2 to drive even higher levels of port densities into smaller packages. I expect there will be a number of announcements related to increased port densities in smaller form factors. Again, this is all good. More in Less is the continuing theme for network hardware vendors. It looks like Cisco and Arista (best of show last year) both made it to the finals in the data center with their latest and greatest switches. Cisco also has the ISR converged brand infrastructure solution as a finalist in the network segment.

Let’s not forget the importance of being able to monitor and manage these environments, especially with data center consolidation driving much larger and more complex network environments. This year’s group of finalists spans SDN management (NEC), network visibility (Gigamon) and wifi/network analytics(Extreme). Quite a diverse crowd, but it indicates how diverse this category truly is. Last year I believe it was ExtraHop that took home gold in the cloud category for its ability to provide visibility into AWS. Also notable is Avaya’s Fabric Attach as a finalist in the network category.

And this is only scratching the surface of what is going on next week – I will provide my thoughts on the event next week and see how some of these finalists made out, until then – have fun at the show and good luck at the tables!

Topics: IT Infrastructure Networking ESG on Location