Interop: Networking Goes Virtual and Mobile

Every year, the networking world descends on Las Vegas for the annual Interop conference. It’s the place where new networking technologies debut and broad industry movement trends are exposed. For 2012, new General Manager Jennifer Jessup, is running the show as the software defined networking (SDN) and BYOD revolutions are heralded from vendor booths and conference sessions alike. The event boast keynotes from the CTOs of Cisco, VMware, Zynga and Rackspace as well as the Networking general managers for Avaya, HP and Dell.

The mobile world: BYOD

A key highlight of any Interop Las Vegas conference are the keynote speaker sessions, which bring top executives to the podium to talk about industry trends. This year, the stellar keynote lineup includes Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior talking about the BYOD revolution. Warrior’s keynote follows a long-standing tradition of Cisco execs delivering Interop keynotes.

In 2006, Cisco CEO John Chambers used the Interop stage to deliver his vision for the network as the platform, which has formed the basis of Cisco’s core strategy for the last six years. The movement towards BYOD in modern networking leverages the strength of the network and overlays policy to enable the vision that Chambers laid out over a half a decade ago.

The movement towards BYOD is also the topic of a panel discussion titled, How BYOD is Driving Change in the Campus Network. Panelists from HP, Cisco, Brocade and Juniper will debate and discuss how they see the BYOD revolution playing out. The new face of networking: SDN

The movement toward a software defined data center will be the topic of VMware CTO Steve Herrod’s keynote. Legacy networking has long been tied to physical hardware, but server virtualization is forcing the network to change. In order for IT to take full advantage of and fully enable server virtualization optimization, the network needs to be more agile and programmable. Software defined networking is one way of the latest approaches to do this and, as such, will be discussed in multiple sessions as at a show flow demo area for hands on exploration.

An adjunct to the SDN trend is the movement toward application driven networking (ADN), which is the topic for Avaya General Manager Marc Randall’s keynote session. While the network is the platform, it is the applications that run on the network that deliver business value. Optimizing application traffic is also the topic for a panel discussion among WAN optimization vendors Blue Coat, Citrix, Cisco and Infentia in a session titled, Breakthroughs in Network and Application Optimization .

Customers in the cloud

It is nearly impossible to have an IT conference or discussion of any type in 2012 without mention of the cloud, and Interop will not be an exception. Among the cloud sessions this year is a keynote panel including representatives from Netscout, Terremark and Rackspace titled “Clouds and the Enterprise: Revolution, Evolution, or More of the Same?”

While cloud is something that vendors have been pushing for years at Interop, they’ll also be bringing their customers on stage to talk about how it actually works. HP’s General Manager for Networking, Bethany Meyer, is bringing Dreamworks on stage to talk about how the cloud is helping the movie business. Dell’s General Manager for Networking Dario Zamarian will bring Dr. Spyro Mousses from Translational Genomics Research Institute to talk about cancer research and the cloud.

The idea to bring customers on stage is part of the larger Interop effort to engage the networking community in a more positive way.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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