This is a guest blog post from Jim Rapoza of Aberdeen Group.
Interop 2012 in Las Vegas, with a focus on trends and technologies that will change the future of networks and the applications that run on them, was easily one of the most interesting in recent memory.
As was predicted in Mindy Powers’ pre-Interop blog, there was much focus on key emerging technologies such as cloud computing; mobile applications and devices, including the “Bring Your Own Device: trend; and the need to understand and secure these technologies. However, of special interest to me was the focus that many products and vendors gave to these and other network technologies.
A common theme across booths and presentations was the importance of applications and how they stand at the center of networking technology. Of course, you’d expect some products to be application-focused, especially among the application performance management systems. But the idea of the centrality of applications was often discussed in surprising areas:
- Among data center and traditional networking hardware vendors, who spoke about the potential for improved application performance and reliability
- From cloud computing vendors, who focused on the ease of deployment and management of applications
This was good news. In my research at Aberdeen Group, I have seen this trend emerge from the responses and needs of organizations: In the end, almost no one in a business cares about the network, data center or cloud systems; all they care about is whether the applications they rely on are performing well and are reliable. It was clear at Interop 2012 that this point of view has taken hold across networking technology areas.
Another interesting focus was the frequent reference to Software Defined Networks, or SDNs, and related technologies such as OpenFlow. This is a new technology, and more than a little of the SDN talk was hype-driven. But, to engage in a bit of hype myself: No technology right now has the potential to massively change and disrupt networking technology like SDNs. By making it possible to program networks almost as if they were applications, this technology opens the door, not just to improved network performance and management, but also to potentially completely new uses for network technology. With SDN technology, an inventive programmer could come up with a new program or system that no one could foresee, sort of in the way that the growth of smartphones and mobile apps has led to new and previously unseen apps and technologies.
I’ll be excited to see how the trends discussed at Interop 2012 play out by the time the next conference rolls around.
Did you attend Interop 2012? What trends intrigued you most? What do you think about the SDN technology potential?
Jim Rapoza, a senior research analyst with the Aberdeen Group, has been to several Interop conferences, starting from when it was called Networld + Interop and was held in Atlanta. He has been using, testing and writing about the newest technologies in software, enterprise hardware and the Internet for almost two decades.