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NAC, collaboration to be highlights at Interop Las Vegas

Folks in the networking industry are gearing up for the Interop conference, which floors in Las Vegas next week. We offer a behind-the-scenes look at the hot topics and trends attendees can expect to see (minus the showgirls).

Network access control (NAC) and collaboration tools will be two major areas of focus as the Interop conference takes over Las Vegas next week. Also on the radar will be green computing and a host of hot networking topics.

Interop general manager Lenny Heymann said this year's Interop, like those of previous years, will focus strongly on a breadth of topics that help leaders in IT put technologies together to drive business. Everything from security, collaboration, network management and wireless will be covered for all facets of IT, including large enterprises, SMBs, the channel, government and service providers.

"Business solutions require interoperability," Heymann stressed, reiterating Interop's main focus.

But this year, there are a few topics that seem to be attracting great interest and will have a strong presence at the show.

NAC, which played a major role in the past few Interop shows, will again show its face. Heymann said many companies and IT pros are still looking at NAC with a critical eye, unsure whether to deploy an NAC framework, like Microsoft's Network Access Protection (NAP), Cisco's Network Admission Control (NAC), Trusted Computing Group (TCG)'s Trusted Network Connect (TNC), or one of a host of point products offered by a plethora of startups.

On Monday, the show features NAC Day, a day-long event focused on the ins and outs of NAC, Heymann said.

NAC is still a hot topic, he said, because companies of all types and sizes are concerned with network security and are trying to be proactive when it comes to making sure that once users are on the network the session is secure and safe.

"That can't be handled in sort of a just-in-time basis," he said.

Also, NAC is still a relatively young technology, Heymann said. Though it's been hyped for the past few years, most companies are in the early stages of deployment, if they've deployed at all, and the battle between the major NAC players is intensifying, creating further interest.

Collaboration catching on
Along with NAC, collaboration will take center stage at Interop. Heymann said collaboration is a topic that "really jumped out at us."

"Businesses are still scrambling to leverage the ability to work from anywhere at anytime," he said, adding that collaboration tools and mobility solutions are top of mind.

Unified communications and the use of wikis, blogs and video in the enterprise, along with Web 2.0, are key areas of interest for many companies seeking to benefit from the idea of an "anywhere worker," he said.

"These are things that are really getting people excited," Heymann said.

Many users are still wondering exactly what goes into a unified communications implementation. At the same time, a survey of Interop attendees found that many are still a bit confused about exactly what Web 2.0 is and what it will mean to their business.

According to Heymann, the survey found that 45% of attendees feel they "don't have a good definition of Web 2.0," while 31% expect it will have an impact on how they do business.

IT goes green
In addition to NAC, collaboration and a host of other technologies, this year's Interop is also "going green," Heymann said, offering sessions and lessons on energy-efficient and environmentally friendly networking.

A Wednesday session titled "Green to Gold: Eco Advantage Strategies for a Changing IT World" will focus on environmentally friendly IT initiatives and their practicality.

IT pros with titles such as director of sustainable computing, vice president of corporate environmental and social responsibility, and head of energy strategy -- from such companies as Sun, HP and Google -- will discuss and outline environmental pressures that are forcing many companies to go green and explore strategies and tools they can use to profit in an environmentally sensitive world. They will also delve into how environmental stewardship can be a strategic competitive advantage.

"There's a real value to caring about going green in IT," Heymann said. "Energy is on the list of priorities people care about. We're going to see a lot of products."

Along with dozens of sessions focusing on hot networking topics, hundreds of vendors will also converge on Interop, announcing their latest products and services designed to ease interoperability and drive business.

The list of vendors and exhibitors is long, but here is a small snapshot of announcements that will come out of Interop Las Vegas 2007:

  • A10 Networks will announce general availability of its AX Series, a new high-performing application acceleration switch.
  • ADTRAN will announce the NetVanta 1335 Multi-service Access Router, which adds wireless capability to its series of all-in-one platforms.
  • ARC Wireless Solutions will unveil the ARC IES (Integrated Enclosure Solution), an IP-67 aluminum enclosure with many antenna options (900 MHz to 6 GHz) that can be embedded, bolt-on or standalone.
  • Alcatel-Lucent will introduce its networking security products, OmniAccess 3500 Nonstop Laptop Guardian -- providing 24/7 management, security, encryption and theft protection for corporate laptops -- and OmniAccess Safeguard, securing networks based on user access control.
  • Apposite Technologies will unveil the Linktropy 7500 series WAN Emulators. The Linktropy 7500 emulates network impairments across multiple gigabit-speed WAN links up to 4 Gbps.
  • Array Networks will showcase SPX Universal Access Controllers. This product combines VPN and NAC capabilities, delivering intelligent, secure access and control aimed at dramatically improving productivity.
  • Bluesocket will introduce a new unified software platform for its BlueSecure WLAN solution. Central to this platform is a distributed Edge2Edge architecture for flexibility in managing data flow for process-intensive functions.
  • The N-Series TeraFrame Network Cabinet will be unveiled by Chatsworth Products Inc. The TeraFrame is engineered to combat thermal challenges related to network switches using side-to-side airflow in a hot aisle/cold aisle layout.
  • eTelemetry will announce Metron EBA, an appliance-based solution to leverage eTelemetry's real-time Organizational Network Analysis (ONA) in order to discover informal collaborative groups and identification of anomalous employee network behavior.
  • Exinda Networks will debut Service Delivery Point (SDP), an SaaS tool for centrally managing WAN optimization solutions. SDP simplifies installation, configuration and monitoring of WAN optimization appliances distributed throughout corporate networks.
  • Extricom will introduce the EXRP-40 UltraThin AP, a device containing four 802.11 a/b/g radios that can operate on any combination of four non-overlapping channels in any band, in any Wi-Fi mode (a/b/g).
  • Firetide will demonstrate its latest mesh solutions for wireless video, VoIP and data.
  • Hexago will demonstrate its leadership in IPv6 deployment with an announcement that spells out how fixed and mobile service providers can offer their customers a new category of services based on IPv6.
  • IBM will unveil a high-speed intrusion-prevention appliance designed to operate at the network core and meet the needs of large enterprise or carrier deployments.
  • Itheon Networks will introduce Itheon Network Emulator for Windows -- simulation software that allows network professionals and developers to create realistic network scenarios such as WAN, wireless and more for applications testing prior to deployment.
  • Lanner Electronics will announce its new high-performance network hardware, FW-8890. Utilizing the Intel 5000P chipset, coupled with a Cavium VPN accelerator and PCI-express network traffic bus, the FW-8890 enables customers to deliver faster, flexible and more feature-rich security applications.
  • MXI Security will demonstrate Portable 3-Factor Devices for Secure Remote Access and a centralized deployment solution. Remote ACCESS allows mobile workers to securely access corporate networks. ACCESS Enterprise allows organizations to manage large deployments and device usage.
  • Mazu Networks will announce the new 10 Gbps Mazu sensor. The sensor provides complete visibility of 10 Gbps environments, monitors network traffic, and provides statistics to the central Mazu appliance for aggregation and analysis.
  • Mistletoe Technologies will announce the SlimLine series of network appliances. The products consist of compact, high-performance in-line appliances that address network and security challenges with an application-specific approach based on patented RDX technology.
  • Neon Software will introduce the latest release of its award-winning automated network discovery, diagramming and CMDB documentation tool -- New LANsurveyor 10.0. Among the new features are AD Domain Controller diagrams, enhanced Visio output and SNMPv3.
  • Netcordia's NetMRI network management solution will debut new real-time analysis capabilities for network configuration, performance, application flows and policy. With real-time analysis, enterprises can leverage Netcordia's built-in "Expert Rules" to ensure consistent business uptime.
  • Netreo will showcase OmniCenter Flow, a simplified system for NetFlow traffic monitoring. It allows IT managers to quickly gain visibility into network traffic patterns in order to improve infrastructure architecture, better allocate network resources, and monitor traffic volumes.
  • Network Instruments will launch a new portable version of its award-winning GigaStor appliance, which captures terabytes of network-level data for retrospective analysis to identify and resolve network, application and security problems.
  • Samsung Enterprise Network Business will introduce its vision for the Enterprise network business in North America. The Samsung Ubigate platforms leverage Samsung's end-user devices in converged enterprise communications solutions.
  • TerraWave Solutions will introduce its quad antenna: a four-in-one solution consisting of two diversity antennas in a single unit. The antenna features two integrated 2.4 GHz 2 dBi elements and two 5 GHz 4.5 dBi elements arranged in one enclosure.
  • Thales will be announcing Datacryptor 10 Gig Ethernet Layer 2 optical encryptor. Datacryptor employs cryptography to protect the confidentiality of sensitive data traversing ultrahigh-speed, point-to-point WAN backbones.
  • WildPackets will announce OmniAnalysis Platform version 5.0, with new tools, dashboards and interfaces for troubleshooting and optimizing virtual servers, 802.11n WLANs, and converged networks carrying VoIP, video and mission-critical applications.
  • XRoads Networks will unveil its newly updated EdgeXL Traffic Shaping Firewall. This product builds on XRoads' existing network load balancing and UTM security with new traffic-shaping and network-visibility features.

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