Interop 2011 Looks Ahead to Cloudy Future

by Sean Michael Kerner

Networking's premier conference will emphasize cloud infrastructure more than ever, as well as the standards battles shaping up behind the scenes.

This year's Interop will feature a heavy emphasis on cloud computing from vendors large and small, with heavy hitters like Cisco, HP, Citrix and Juniper appearing to tout advances in the network architecture that makes cloud implementations possible. InternetNews.com's Interop preview says that all these major players are competing for more than just market share: They're also jockeying for position in an unfolding standards battle, with vendors working hard to make the case for their own take on existing networking standards.

After reading the InternetNews preview, be sure to check out the Interop 2011 preview podcast, where senior editor Sean Michael Kerner is joined by Interop GM Lenny Heyman to discuss the major themes of Interop 2011, OpenFlow, and how conference keynotes are planned.

While the cloud is all the rage this year, fundamentally the cloud is an evolution of Internet enabled infrastructure. When Vinton Cerf, Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist at Google helped to invent the Internet, the cloud was not a topic of discussion. At Interop, Cerf is scheduled to deliver a keynote, where the Internet luminary will give his views on what's wrong and what's right with Internet today and where it should be going.

The cloud and the data center technologies behind it, is also a new battleground for networking standards. One such area is in Data Center Bridging standards for multi-path Ethernet networks. Networking giant Cisco uses its own FabricPath technology which is based on the emerging TRILL standard. Cisco will be on a panel including HP, Avaya and Brocade in discussion around standards and what the best approach is to create a lossless, low-latency converged network.

Another key emerging technology standard that will be showcased at Interop is OpenFlow. OpenFlow is a technology backed by multiple vendors and there will be an OpenFlow lab as part of the Interop NOC.

"OpenFlow is a set of technologies that will help create efficiencies within data center networking," Heyman said. "OpenFlow has not been a huge story, but it is an important one and it's an indication of the role that we can play in terms of bringing emerging technologies in front of a mass audience."

Read "Interop Previews the Future of Networking" at InternetNews.com

This article was originally published on Tuesday May 10th 2011