InteropNet provides the IT infrastructure and network connectivity to attendees and exhibitors of the Interop conferences. While InteropNet is about technology, the most important component of any network is the people who design, operate and maintain it. Without good people, the best technologies are just an incoherent set of building blocks. The folks that come together to build the InteropNet are, to me, the difference between success and failure.
The organizational structure of the InteropNet team is what I call a democratic dictatorship; input is welcome, but there are times when one person must make final decisions and take responsibility.
The structure is relatively flat by design. We have a Leader, Team Leads and then the working teams that include the Sponsor Vendors and Volunteer Team Members (ITMs). The goal of the team is to build something together while being willing to teach and learn. It is a place where competitors in the open market set aside their egos and work toward a common goal.
The Team Leads ensure that InteropNet stays on track. There are eight Team Lead positions across a variety of IT disciplines. These roles are filled by volunteers who offer up their time and expertise in return for the opportunity to learn from different vendors and develop knowledge of new concepts to take back to their daily roles. The Team Leads play major role in fine tuning the design and also in the implementation and operation of InteropNet.
Most of the Team Leads started InteropNet life as a team member, terminating cables, troubleshooting booth connections, helping exhibitors and supporting their teammates. They now operate in high places within their own organizations and the networking industry in general--not because they are involved in the InteropNet (although I suspect that has something to do with it), but because they contribute, learn and teach.
I want to recognize the Team Leads who are building InteropNet for Las Vegas 2013.
Brandon Ross: Logical Network Utility Force
The Logical Team Lead is responsible for managing and working with the switching and routing vendors to ensure a stable, reliable network at the logical level. Duties include internal and external routing, Openflow and Fabric-based networking, VLAN assignments and some IP Addressing.
Mark Sullivan: Infrastructure Ascent Technical Group
The Infrastructure Team Lead is responsible for the overall planning, installation, troubleshooting, and operation of the network cable plant. The key areas of focus include deployment and connectivity of the fiber backbone, interconnect links and copper drops; deployment and connectivity of the fiber backbone, interconnect links and copper drops;
The Infrastructure Teal Lead also provides connectivity for meeting rooms, conference sessions, hallway booths, attendee connecting points, and any external facilities. Other duties include the design, documentation and installation of cabling, and the distribution/return of networking equipment.
Nicola Foggi: Systems and Management/Monitoring DePaul University
This Lead is responsible for the integration and operation of application services within the InteropNet. Services include DNS, RADIUS authentication and VoIP services. Requirements for the role include an understanding of the core network and the design of integrated systems, as well as the ability to manage multiple tasks. This Lead also provisions traffic monitoring and management systems.
Andrew Hoyos: Wireless Hoyos Consulting
The Wireless Lead is responsible for the integration and operation of all wireless related systems and services within the InteropNet. This includes attendee secured and unsecured access, secured NOC access, secured show management access, an opt-in BYOD demonstration and the creation of wireless policies.
Gilly Canty-Ross: Troubleshooting Subspace Communications
The Troubleshooting Lead is responsible for coordinating all troubleshooting efforts of the internal network, but is not responsible for equipment configuration, or external troubleshooting and connectivity.
This Lead works with the network team to ensure that all routing, filters, redundancies and management functions are in place within the network. The lead establishes coordinates, and leads the individual troubleshooting efforts of the volunteer team. The lead also works with staff and other leads to ensure that adequate education and leadership is provided for the volunteer team. Finally, this position works closely with Infrastructure, Wireless and Monitoring Leads to help designate resources to the appropriate areas.
Bill (WEJ) Jensen: Generalist Department of IT, University of Wisconsin, Madison
This lead bridges multiple vendors to pro-actively prevent interoperation issues. Requirements for the role include an understanding of the core network and the design of integrated systems, as well as the ability to manage multiple tasks. The key areas of focus of this lead are to be knowledgeable and capable enough to lead or assist in any of the areas of the network. This Lead will also help guide teams that are having difficulties or are not yet completely integrated with the overall project.
Brian Chee: Education University of Hawaii, ANCL
The Education Lead is a new role for 2013. Education is an important focus within the InteropNet, both through our attendee-facing program and our volunteer program. This role has been created to develop our internal team education program. A key value add to volunteers (Team Leads and ITMs) by using Team Leads and Sponsor engineers to coach and mentor the ITMs in a semi-formal setting.
Fr. Robert Ballecer, SJ: Messaging TWiT
As most business people know, engineers are great at getting the job done, but lousy at letting people know how things are being done or that the job is complete. Therefore, this Team Lead has a very simple brief: Get the message out about the InteropNet and its people in any way possible.
If you'd like to see the InteropNet for yourself, tours of the NOC are available Wednesday, May 8, and Thursday, May 9, on the expo floor at 11:00, 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. at the Las Vegas show. Team leads and volunteers host the tours.
Glenn Evans, founder and CEO of Acrux Consulting, is the lead network engineer for the InteropNet project. He brings more than 25 years of systems and networking experience in both management and technical operations, including 15 years in the event space.