INTEROP - Vendors a little light on product announcements.

New York show big on content, light on announcements

It must be time for Interop New York. Yes, the little sister to the humongous show in Vegas in the northern spring begins this week, and while not as large or lavish, it nonetheless will host content key to enterprise network architects.

Themes include mobility, unified communications/collaboration, and NAC. High-profile additions to the 200-plus exhibitors -- about half as many as the Vegas show -- include Cisco, IBM and Microsoft.

At 7,500, expected attendance is up 36 percent from last year and exhibition space is up 33 percent. Attendance at the conference is usually in excess of 20,000.

Keynoters will be executives from Google, IBM, Microsoft and XenSource, discussing topics such as how changes in virtualization will reshape enterprise IT and the competitive battlefield; as well as the increasingly vital role interoperability and data privacy play as network connections expand and are relied upon more and more by businesses and governments.

Mobile Business Expo and VoiceCon -- where the latest issues, trends and products for VoIP, unified communications and collaboration will be highlighted -- will be collocated with Interop New York in Manhattan.

Mobile Business Expo will review hot topics such as implementing fixed/mobile convergence (FMC), deploying mobile business applications and experiences with 802.11n, voice over Wi-Fi and wireless LAN security. Read up on the wireless market's most burning questions.

"A lot of the smaller [vendors] may be pulling the trigger on 11n draft 2.0. You'll see a lot of applications building off of the infrastructure," says Mike Brandenburg, enterprise network systems analyst at Current Analysis.

Security will also be big at Interop New York, with one day-long seminar dedicated to NAC concepts; architectures from Cisco, Microsoft and the Trusted Computing Group; and issues in planning for and deploying NAC in enterprise networks.

Announcements, however, may not live up to the highbrow content. None of the major infrastructure vendors is expected to unveil significant products.

Of the announcements being made, though, here is a rundown of the more interesting:

  • Polycom is announcing that some of its Wi-Fi phones will support location tracking so organizations can find the person nearest to a site where help is needed. The new feature comes via a partnership with Ekahau, a Finnish company that makes Positioning Engine software.

  • InfoExpress will announce support for Microsoft Vista in its CyberArmor personal firewall, which can be centrally managed for deployment on large numbers of business machines.

  • Service provider Positive Networks is introducing new features for its PhoneFactor two-factor authentication service. The service employs a software agent running on business Windows servers, and when users try to log on, triggers a call to a phone number designated for that user.

  • Trigeo, a security information management (SIM) vendor, is set to unveil a software module called InSight that the company says will add business-intelligence data to the company's flagship software, Trigeo SIM 4.5. Trigeo is able to add this analysis and event correlation through an OEM deal with QlikTech. InSight installs on a dedicated server and taps into the data collected by Trigeo SIM 4.5 to perform analysis on network security events in real time. Trigeo executives say InSight adds a real-time element to the company's security data collection and can alert and take action based on events to prevent security breaches. And InSight integrates with Microsoft's Active Directory so it could enable or disable accounts. InSight starts at US$9,000 for the server edition, which comes with two seats.

  • GigaFin Networks will introduce its FlowLine 500 appliance, which the company says helps network managers better secure networks by monitoring traffic flows at Gigabit speeds. The appliance, priced at US$3,495, detects peer-to-peer traffic and monitors Cisco's NetFlow to help administrators identify bandwidth consumption and security policy violations. The device is also equipped to perform network access control functions in accordance with network security policies and protect against denial-of-service attacks.

  • Riverbed is announcing software and hardware upgrades that are focused on optimizing traffic between data centers. These include a new Steelhead appliance that has more than double the storage of previous Steelheads for more local storage of data that improves performance across the WAN. It also includes a software module to optimize Oracle 11i database traffic in particular and other software that boosts the speed of data-center replication traffic in general.

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