Oct 14, 2014
Interop New York wrapped up 2 weeks ago at the Javits Center. I’ve always found Javits to be an odd location for the Fall Interop show given the relative size of the event compared to the capacity of the venue. Even with a well-attended event, the enormity of the Javits Center sucks much of the energy out of Interop and makes it feel lackluster. Because of this, I wasn’t surprised to hear that this was the last year for Interop New York and the spring show will be the only US-based Interop in 2015.
I’ve actually had some concerns about the relevancy of the Spring Interop show as more and more people tell me that the show seems more like vendors just scoping out other vendors rather than network professionals coming to learn things that can help them run their organizations better. One of the challenges Interop has had is that the show itself has no unifying theme. Instead, there are several networking related “tracks” creating several events within a single event. At Interop New York, there were 8 tracks: Applications, Business of IT, Cloud Connect Summit, Collaboration, Infrastructure, Mobility, Risk Management, and Security and Software-Defined Networking.
I do have a suggestion though that can give Interop a big kick, bring back the mojo, and make it one of the premier IT shows: bring “Interop” back to Interop. Back in the day, when the event was known as Networld+Interop, the value of the show was that it was the only place to go for interoperability testing. At one time, there were huge interoperability issues in the world of networking. There were probably a dozen or so LAN protocols both at layer 2 and layer 3. WANs were evolving and network managers had to go somewhere to understand how all of the emerging technology could actually interoperate. But then something happened: the industry standardized on IP and Ethernet, and it killed off the need for a large-scale interoperability show.
Not so today though. There has been more innovation in networking in the past five years than maybe the previous 20 years prior, leading to interoperability issues that leave buyers scratching their heads as how to proceed. Interop could even keep the tracks in place and look at the interoperability challenges within each sub-conference. For example:
IT is shifting to a network-centric model and that’s driven the need for network change. There are plenty of solutions available today, but customers are confused as to which may work best in their current environments. Interop should take a leadership position and once again become the place to go for interoperability issues around the network.
Image credit: bugeater (flickr) / CC-BY
Zeus Kerravala is the founder and principal analyst with ZK Research. He provides a mix of tactical advice to help his clients in the current business climate and with long term strategic advice. Kerravala provides research and advice to the following constituents: End user IT and network managers, vendors of IT hardware, software and services and the financial community looking to invest in the companies that he covers.