5 Key Interop 2012 Takeaways for CIOs and Other IT Pros
As everything from application delivery to security and monitoring is seemingly shifting to the cloud, IT faces a chaotic and difficult to manage world. The good news is the tools are there, but you just can't go to a single provider as you did in the past. Given this shift, it's no surprise that Interop returned to its interoperability roots last week.
Mon, May 14, 2012
CIO — Big trade shows like Interop can be confusing. So many vendors, so much noise, so much spin, so little clarity. Searching for technology trends among the tchochke seekers, spokes-models and aggressive PR reps can feel like a hopeless task.
However, as these shows drag on, people let their defenses down, and by day two or three, you can discover what the real top-of-mind concerns are for CIOs, security professionals, mobility managers and other key IT professionals tasked with moving technology forward in their organizations.
Keep in mind that any one reporter can only cover so much ground at shows like Interop. Topics left out that could have easily made this list include BYOD, social media management, OpenFlow and Big Data.
After dozens of meetings and a slew of informal conversations, here are five key takeaways from Interop 2012 that CIOs should be aware of:
1. Interoperability is making a comeback.
If you've been around for a while, you may remember that Interop was originally called Networld+Interop. The focus of the show was originally interoperability and improvements in networking. In the intervening years, key standards have been ironed out and, on the proprietary side, vendor lock has been tolerated.
The focus on interoperability was lost.
However, as organizations move to new computing models, old issues like interoperability are becoming current again. This isn't necessarily a step backwards. For instance, in the cloud, vendors have the opportunity to do things better this time around by, for instance, baking security into key networking devices, rather than bolting it on later.
The best example of this I saw at Interop 2012 was the Extreme Networks-Fortinet partnership. Normally, partnership announcements aren't very exciting. They're rarely as important as the partners seem to think. In this instance, though, the two have combined to bring to market a high-performance cloud switch designed for multi-tenant data centers. What's unique is that Fortinet security (firewall, IPS, AV, content filtering, app control) is built into the switch.
A solution like this removes many of the risks associated with multi-tenant environments, while also giving service providers the capability to offer advanced features as value-added services.
2. Security needs to be throughout the network, and that's no longer empty talk.
Another vendor seeking to wed security and networking is Vyatta. Its new vPlane technology seeks to relieve the traffic bottlenecks that are emerging in virtualized datacenters. Application density and multi-tenancy are creating networking challenges that can't be solved with legacy tools.
Vyatta vPlane is a Layer 3 router forwarding plane that is architecturally separate from the network controller. Leveraging the new fast-path architecture on an Intel Westmere-class system, Vyatta contends that vPlane is capable of delivering more than 8 million packets per second per core, which the company says is more than a 10x improvement over the norm. Additionally, since vPlane scales linearly with the addition of cores, an entire Westmere system can deliver 35 million packets per second in only a single rack-unit of datacenter space.