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Anticipating what's on tap at Interop

The Interop conference next week will center on all things networking, so what can we expect? Analyst Jon Oltsik offers his top five list.

The RSA security conference is a distant memory and the industry buzz has shifted to all things networking at Interop next week. What can users anticipate in Las Vegas?

  1. Green networking: I find it just a tad ironic that the industry will tout high-density/low-power networking gear in perhaps the least green city in the world. Nevertheless, expect to hear green messages, especially from Cisco Systems.

  2. 802.11n: Since wireless networking vendors like Aruba Networks, Meru Networks, and Trapeze Networks announced their products last fall, this will be the first Interop to trumpet the bandwidth benefits of 802.11n. Look for messages like "enterprise wireless networking" along with hyperbole like, "LAN access switches are dead." There is actually a nugget of truth in each of these.

  3. 10-Gigabit Ethernet. Yes, we've been talking about this for years but the discussion will shift this year from the network core to data center switching. Good for vendors like Extreme, Force 10, and Foundry. This also could help Juniper Networks and its new line of Ethernet switches.
  4. Branch office networking. This is really code for multifunction networking equipment that can be centrally managed. Branch office gear consolidates networking, security, and WAN (wide-area network) optimization in a single package. Some vendors are even talking about traditional storage topics like file access and centralized backup. Finally, lots of IT dollars are flowing in this direction.
  5. Server virtualization. This is a bit of a stretch for the networking crowd but, hey, the IT industry always finds the hot issue du jour. Besides, server virtualization plays into green IT and dense data centers anchored by 10Gb Ethernet switches. That's three industry buzz messages for the price of one.

There are others as well, such as network identity, application acceleration, and software as a service. See you next week. Viva Las Vegas. Viva Interop. Viva TCP/IP. Enough.

Jon Oltsik is a senior analyst at the Enterprise Strategy Group.