Interop 2011 keynotes: Where's the networking beef?

Interop Las Vegas 2011 keynotes were heavy on cloud talk, but light on what counts for engineers: beefy networking news. HP and Citrix brought a little nutrition to the table.

Tuesday morning Interop 2011 keynotes were heavy on cloud-washing and CIO-focused presentations, but short on the meaty networking topics engineers came to hear about.

Only a few little interesting golden nuggets of information emerged:

HP's Interop keynote gets 'gutsy' with Cisco

HP's Dave Donatelli, executive vice president and general manager of enterprise, storage and networking, rehashed HP's Interop news, running down the FlexNetwork vision and the smattering of products, such as the A10500 series of campus core switches. Unfortunately, HP continues to benchmark these new switches against the Catalyst 6500, a decade-old platform (which perhaps speaks to the need for Cisco to do something new in the campus core).

The highlight of the HP Interop presentation was HP distinguished architect Les Stuart's live demo of Intelligent Management Center (IMC), HP's beefy network management product. Stuart apparently demonstrated IMC with his home network, showing how IMC has multivendor support and is capable of managing 1,000 different Cisco devices, which according to Greg Ferro of EtherealMind was "gutsy."

During the demo, Stuart clicked into a Cisco router that was kicking up an orange alert on his dashboard, and gained visibility and manageability over the firmware and configuration. "I can modify that configuration and push it out to this device or to many devices," he said.

Stuart also showed IMC's visibility into virtual infrastructure and the federation it has with server orchestration technology. He took the audience from a global topology map in IMC and drilled down to a virtual server view, then down to a virtual workload/virtual machine view, and finally showed how to view all the physical assets associated with a virtual machine. He also demonstrated how to initiate a virtual machine migration (vMotion) from within IMC.

Citrix Interop keynote: Service delivery controllers

Citrix Systems CEO Mark Templeton tossed around a lot of cloud buzzwords before getting into product specifics, including the release of the new NetScaler SDX series, a "service delivery controller." Citrix is trying to contrast application delivery controllers from service delivery.

The SDX series is a single piece of hardware that can be upgraded through software license to three different versions, the 17500, the 19500 and the 21500. The top-of-the-line SDX 21500 version has 50 Gbps of HTTP throughput.

Templeton said the SDX uses Citrix's hypervisor software, Xen, to partition the physical box into as many as 16 virtual instances so that enterprises can run specific virtual versions of the SDX – with different settings, configurations and software versions  – tuned to work with specific services within the enterprise.

Templeton also announced AppFlow, a new protocol he describes as "NetFlow for Apps." AppFlow is an open protocol from the start, which basically provides rich Layer 4-7 information in a flow-based form.

And then there was CIO ramble...

The conversation between Internet inventor and Google Chief Internet Evangelist Vint Cerf and Interop founder Dan Lynch was charming, but nothing worth reiterating here. They reminisced about the Wild West days of the 1970s and 1980s with funny stories about MCI's early attempts at inventing commercial email services, the reasons behind the lack of native security on the Internet, and a partial strip-tease that Cerf did during a contentious meeting of engineers during the very early debates over what would eventually become IPv6.

Cisco CIO Rebecca Jacoby and Cisco senior vice president Brett Galloway presented a good-natured amble through high level concepts better suited for a CIO-level presentation. They spoke about the development of Cisco's internally-facing private cloud infrastructure (a presentation that focused more on total cost of ownership and provisioning lead times than on actual implementation details). They also did hypothetical high-level rundowns of the business benefits of deploying their mobility and policy control capabilities in a healthcare environment and their video and telepresence capabilities in a global bank. Again the details focused on business benefits rather than implementation, something more appropriate for a CIO conference. Perhaps I'm wrong, but are there more IT executives than engineers at Interop this year? You tell me.

To learn more about Interop, view our 2011 Interop Las Vegas conference page.

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