NYC Interop Puts NAC in the Spotlight

Interop reflects a networking industry realigning around the theme of network access control.

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted Sep 19, 2006
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What's new in the world of networking? That's the question on the table this week at the Interop conference in New York.

The last Interop, held in Las Vegas earlier this year, yielded a rash of network security, platform and acceleration-related news. The latest iteration shouldn't be much different.

In Las Vegas, Cisco CEO John Chambers outlined a powerful vision for networking, saying that the network is the platform.

The ripple effects of that vision, manifested in Cisco's Network Access Control (NAC) initiatives, are still likely to be one of the central, if not the central, theme at Interop New York.

Chambers isn't speaking this time around, but his competitor Scott Kriens, CEO of Juniper, will be delivering the kickoff keynote.

Juniper will be showcasing its own competitive vision for access control, called Unified Access Control.

Dozens of other vendors will also be showing their their respective NAC-like solutions, some of which will comply with the Trusted Network Connect (TNC) standards from the Trusted Computing Group, which will be doing a full-court press at the show, as well.

With TNC the vision is to allow a degree of interoperability with NAC solutions from different vendors.

In what is likely to be an event highlight, TNC backers will square off against Cisco and Microsoft in what is being titled, a NAC expert panel.

Perhaps they'll all just claim that they can just all "get along." InteropLabs, which showcases different networking technologies, will in fact be holding a NAC class, letting participants get a hands-on feel for NAC and how it get works.

Application Acceleration is also once again a topic of conversation.

Citrix is expected to unveil its latest products, which it claims boost performance by 300 percent.

A panel discussion on Tuesday titled, "Slimming Down the Branch Office: WAN Optimization vs. Thin Client" will hopefully shed some light on whether acceleration/optimization is a better approach than going with the client/server thin-client approach.

Convergence remains an issue for networks as well as management. Plenty of talk and announcements in both of those areas, though little in the way of what those that cover the space closely would consider to be new.

So what's changed in the world of networking since Las Vegas Interop?

At first glance, not a whole lot. Then again it would be really strange if there had been a lot of change.

Networks are critical pieces of enterprise infrastructure and, as such, can't evolve as quickly as some vendors might like.

The key trends of networking evolve over long arcs of time with certain milestone flashpoints to highlight the way. Whether this Interop will be one of those flashpoints remains to be seen.

Article courtesy of internetnews.com

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