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AI World Conference & Expo · Boston, MA · December 11-13, 2017

Posts Tagged ‘Interop Las Vegas’

There’s a Katy Perry Song called “Waking Up in Vegas” in which the young Miss Perry sings “Shut up and put your money where your mouth is / that’s what you get for waking up in Vegas.” That first line, “Shut up and put your money where your mouth is,” should be the theme for Interop. Vendors all across the network market come to Mandalay Bay to show off their latest products and impress buyers, channel partners, media and Wall Street. The following is a list of vendors that I thought did indeed put their money where their mouth is (listed alphabetically):

Arista: Putting your money where your mouth is can be difficult most of the time, but it’s even more difficult when the mouth belongs to the enigmatic Doug Gourlay. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Doug, he’s the marketing equivalent of Terrell Owens. He talks a lot, but normally delivers. Arista and Doug are constantly yapping about performance and the new 7500E Data Center switch certainly didn’t disappoint. This is one monster of a switch with off-the-charts high-speed port density. In a quarter rack, the 7500E has a port density of 1,152 10 Gig-E ports, 288 40 Gig-E ports, or 96 100 Gig-E ports. Remember, these densities are in a quarter rack. The product is also optimized for the virtual data center with VXLAN termination and a bunch of other features.

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Well, the 2013 version of Interop is now in the books and while conventional wisdom dictates that “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” I thought there were a number of themes at the show that rose above the general noise of the event and are worth sharing. In no particular order, these themes were:

  • Software Defined Networking (SDN) needs a better definition. It’s amazing to me the number of vendors that now claim to be in the SDN market. It seems that if a vendor is programmable, virtual or software-based, it can claim to be an SDN vendor. When you look at these attributes, who doesn’t fall into one of these categories? And when a definition is so broad that it means everything, it actually means nothing. There’s certainly a common theme that all the vendors talk about – legacy networks are complicated and rigid and this is out of alignment with the rest of IT. How this gets solved is still up for debate, and SDNs will not become a pervasive technology until the debate is at least partially answered.
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If you remember the old Austin Powers movies, Mini-Me was a full replica of Dr. Evil in every way. Just as evil, just as cunning, and just as powerful. Today, Riverbed announced a “mini-me” version of its Stingray application delivery controller (ADC). Stingray came into Riverbed through the acquisition of Zeus so, in a way, Riverbed’s latest product is Mini-Zeus.

In the Austin Powers movies, Mini-Me really didn’t seem to have much of a purpose other than to laugh evilly and scream once in a while. That certainly isn’t the case with the mini-ADC, or Stingray Services Controller, as the product opens up new markets for ADCs.

Historically, hardware-based ADCs have been deployed on a “per-application” basis. Rolling out a new application? Buy a new ADC. Migrating to a new hardware platform? Buy a new ADC. Customers would sometimes repurpose older hardware, but given how fast hardware evolves, this was more the exception than the norm. Lately, the hardware platforms have evolved to where a single ADC could be shared and support multiple applications, but this still doesn’t give a true one-to-one ratio of ADCs per application.

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In the movie “Back to the Future,” Dr. Emmit Brown built a Delorean-based time machine that when the “flux capacitor” was powered with 1.21 gigawatts (pronounced jig-a-watts in the movie), it would allow someone to go back in time (or ahead). I just got back from this year’s Interop conference and it started me thinking about the past. So let’s set the old time machine to the spring of 1995 and we’ll attend an Interop conference. Remember those days?

If you can recall the really old days of Interop, the pre-Vegas days when the event was held in D.C., the purpose of Interop was actually network interoperability. During those days interoperability in the network was a huge problem as there were many competing protocols, such as Banyan-Vines, AppleTalk, IPX and a host of other network protocols. Additionally, there were many different connection types such as FDDI, CDDI, Token Ring and the like. So buyers went to the show to figure out what worked with what and how to actually a build a network. The John Chambers proclamation that everything would move to IP seemed a bit far-fetched and Interop was in its heyday.

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