Now that a few days have passed since returning from Interop and Las Vegas, it seems like a good time to recap my visit. As expected, there was a lot going on, and not just new product announcements. There were announcements from both Aerohive and Arista stating their intentions to go public with IPOs. Both companies have reported tremendous growth and are now looking to get to the next level.
One theme that resonated throughout the week was “transformation” – especially from a number of end-users that I spent time with. These organizations were transforming not only their IT infrastructures, but also their people and processes. A few examples of this transformation included a data center company that was taking a new approach to connecting with its customers by extending scalable optical networks into their data centers by leveraging technology from Plexxi. Another large organization related to me how management software from Extrahop was enabling them to transform their processes and people. This included creating a completely new role on their operations team that helps to drive continuous improvements (more on this later). The transformation wasn’t limited to just the data center either--a few Riverbed customers I shared a meal with related how they are transforming their remote and branch offices by deploying Granite technology. This has enabled organizations to further consolidate both infrastructure and processes at central locations while retaining application performance and availability at the edge.
As organizations continue to transform their IT environments, it is important to recognize that it will require changes in people, process, and technology. Like most organizations that I have spoken with, this type of transformation is not a quick sprint, but rather a marathon that requires a deliberate and thoughtful approach. In fact, many of these organizations have created “transformation teams” specifically for the purpose of evaluating new technology and processes and developing new skill sets.
Software-defined Networking and the “Open” concept was also very popular at Interop. The latest release from OpenDaylight Project – Hydrogen -- garnered a Best of SDN Award. From a management perspective it was the NEC Unified Network Coordinator. Cisco added to the “Open” theme by announcing Opflex, a new open source standard (submitted it to the IETF) to support its SDN efforts.
Cisco also took home honors for its new Nexus 9516 switch in the data center category and wrapped up the network category with its ISR 4451-X converged branch infrastructure solution. It would appear that transforming the branch is going to be a hot topic this year. Not to be left out, VMware also garnered a few trophies as well with its VMware vCloud Hybrd Service for the cloud category and VMware Virtual SAN in the storage category. The latter also took home the overall winner trophy. This helps to lend credibility to VMware’s SDDC story that now covers compute, networking, and storage.
Wireless and mobility were also a hot topic at the show. It resonated for me personally as the hotel I was staying at, the one that looks like a pyramid, didn’t even have in-room WiFi. Sure they had an Ethernet cable, but in my own personal transformation effort, I travel with a tablet and smartphone and didn’t even have the ability to connect! Kind of ironic to be at a networking show and one of the hotels connected to the event is so far behind! Hopefully this presented an opportunity for a number of wireless vendors at the event. Ruckus supplied WiFi for the event (thank you) and was even able to demo WiFi density heat maps of the expo floor – that made it easy to see when 7 time all pro SF 49er Patrick Willis was signing autographs in the Extreme booth! Extreme was celebrating their recent selection as WiFi analytics partner for the NFL. HP launched a number of SDN apps targeted at wireless users, ranging from optimizing unified communications, security, and location-based solutions. Cisco also announced new wireless capabilities to facilitate creating and integrating custom apps and better location and analytics, and introduced new lower price points for their APs. And it was Dell that took home best of award for mobility with the Dell Enterprise Mobility Management solution.