A View From the Interop Show Floor

Analysis: The clear focus of Interop 2006 was security, but wireless, VOIP and storage were all hot topics as well.

While the clear focus of Interop 2006 was security, technologies including wireless, voice over IP and storage were the subject of chatter at the show, held here from April 30 to May 5.

While walking the show floor, at the Mandalay Bay Conference Center, I noticed that the Security Zone was the biggest specialized area and was populated with many of the usual suspects. Intrusion prevention and detection systems and anything with "SSL" in its name were all wedged in. On-demand application access vendor Citrix Systems was there, for example, with its Citrix Access Gateway—an SSL VPN appliance that provides access to protocols and applications.

This underscored a theme that I also saw in many of the education sessions I attended at the conference: controlling access. While the RSA Security Conference offers a heavy dose of high-level cryptography and vendor-to-vendor business development, Interop ladles out practical access management information to front-line IT managers.

Also at the show, VOIP was still, after all these years, a hot topic. Siemens introduced a SOHO VOIP phone system with a sweet-spot market of two to 60 users. Siemens is normally associated with very large telephony installations, primarily in Europe, and its newest foray into VOIP will raise the profile of POTS alternatives for small business.

We got a chance to take a look at Siemens new phone handsets, which contain all the system data needed to handle calls, including the entire number plan for phones on the system.

The ongoing debate around the role of IP wasnt limited to voice communications. Sessions covering Fibre Channel, IP and InfiniBand continued the conversation about the best way to implement a SAN. Developments such as iSCSI and other IP-based protocols were put forward for consideration by Interop attendees.

Technical Director Cameron Sturdevant can be reached at cameron_sturdevant@ziffdavis.com.

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