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Acceleration, Security to Dominate Talk at Interop

It's that time of year again, when networking professionals gather at the Interop conference to get the lowdown on their industry.

This time, it's the East Coast, New York City version of the show -- the little brother of the Las Vegas event that draws a significantly higher pedigree of headliners. In fact, among the keynote speakers at the New York event, only one is a C-level executive, that being XenSource CTO Simon Crosby. In contrast, the Vegas event had Cisco CEO John Chambers, Nortel CEO Mike Zafirovski and Dave DeWalt, president and CEO of McAfee.

Though the keynotes in New York will be lacking executive-level luster, the networking world will still have plenty to discuss. WAN acceleration will once more be a hot topic as vendors line up in a race for application speed supremacy. Multiple panel sessions will debate how best to optimize traffic and a slew of new acceleration products are expected from a number of vendors.

Network Access Control (NAC) again will take up a lot of discussion, with an entire day ("NAC day") dedicated to the topic. In what has become an Interop tradition, competing NAC vendors Juniper, Cisco and McAfee will square off and debate the realities and the myths of the technology.

IT security in general will also continue to be a hot topic this year, with vendors of all sizes expected to announce new products to combat old problems. Expect, too, a lot of discussion on how to better understand the threats facing networks using improved measurability.

In particular, John Pironti, security track chair for Interop and chief information risk strategist for Getronics, will speak about the development of metrics and measures for information security.

"IT security has developed a stigma within organizations -- that it will prevent businesses from being successful instead of enabling them," Pironti told InternetNews.com. "This is why I have been driving a new concept in the industry to transform information security into 'information risk management.' This is more than a change in title; it is a change in perception and behavior."

Pironti said traditional IT security focuses on telling enterprises what they "shouldn't do." As he envisions it, information risk management could help transform organizations' mentalities from protection to risk mitigation.

"We also will be discussing how to use information security as a business enabler as well as the current trends and technologies that are being utilized to protect information infrastructure," he said.

Moving beyond just securing IT infrastructure, discussions at Interop are also expected to delve into the world of IT service management (ITSM). It's a topic that is often misunderstood, according to Hank Marquis, director of IT service management consulting at Enterprise Management Associates.

"IT commoditization has made IT critical to business success and reduced the costs of acquisition and usage," Marquis told InternetNews.com. "The net result is more work for IT and that work has less tolerance for variability in service delivery. IT has to work smarter, not harder as IT budgets cannot keep up with commoditization pressures which are growing by Moore's law."