LAS VEGAS--After three days here--about as much time as any sane person should spend in this town--I bid adieu to Interop.
I heard that there were 21,000 people in town for the Interop conference. Judging by the hoard of people leaving the Mandalay Bay convention center yesterday (and headed for the saloon for a little geek speak), I believe it. My takeaways from the show are as follows:
The buzzwords this year were network access control, wide-area network optimization and security. Security is a must-have. NAC is real and will go from concept to strategy in the next 12 months. WAN optimization is also a requirement. Why? Enterprises networks and applications have been designed in isolation and don't work very well together. WAN optimization adds intelligence to bridge this gap.
Networking folks are really smart technicians, but few can talk about business processes and solutions. Cisco Systems sure can, and until another vendor can match John Chambers and Co. on business chops, it will continue to dominate.
Wasn't network security supposed to be baked into the infrastructure by now? This certainty didn't really happen, and I still see real value in layering security on top of the network. Companies like IBM's Internet Security Systems, McAfee and TippingPoint Technologies continue to prosper in this space.
Finally, a friendly dig to old Enterprise Strategy Group friend Dave DeWalt, CEO of McAfee, one of the Interop keynote speakers. Dave's picture appeared next to other industry dignitaries like John Chambers (Cisco), Bob Muglia (Microsoft), and Tom Noonan (ISS/IBM) all over the show. Unlike these others, however, Dave's picture was more casual (no tie, open collar, etc.) and thus made it look like a personal ad. I can see the text now, "I enjoy walks on the beach and the Sunday paper. Looking for long-lasting relationship with as many enterprises as possible."