Upcoming Events

Where the Cloud Touches Down: Simplifying Data Center Infrastructure Management

Thursday, July 25, 2013
10:00 AM PT/1:00 PM ET

In most data centers, DCIM rests on a shaky foundation of manual record keeping and scattered documentation. OpManager replaces data center documentation with a single repository for data, QRCodes for asset tracking, accurate 3D mapping of asset locations, and a configuration management database (CMDB). In this webcast, sponsored by ManageEngine, you will see how a real-world datacenter mapping stored in racktables gets imported into OpManager, which then provides a 3D visualization of where assets actually are. You'll also see how the QR Code generator helps you make the link between real assets and the monitoring world, and how the layered CMDB provides a single point of view for all your configuration data.

Register Now!

A Network Computing Webinar:
SDN First Steps

Thursday, August 8, 2013
11:00 AM PT / 2:00 PM ET

This webinar will help attendees understand the overall concept of SDN and its benefits, describe the different conceptual approaches to SDN, and examine the various technologies, both proprietary and open source, that are emerging. It will also help users decide whether SDN makes sense in their environment, and outline the first steps IT can take for testing SDN technologies.

Register Now!

More Events »

Subscribe to Newsletter

  • Keep up with all of the latest news and analysis on the fast-moving IT industry with Network Computing newsletters.
Sign Up

InteropNet's Live Wire Act

InteropNet is the technological backbone of the Interop conferences in Las Vegas and New York. InteropNet provides the IT infrastructure and network connectivity to attendees and exhibitors, and also serves as a real-world lab to test interoperability among different vendor products. It highlights emerging network and data center technologies, and serves as a live exhibit that attendees can explore while at the show.

The InteropNet team has a daunting task: to assemble a working network operations center on-site in four days. This NOC will manage a network that provides Internet access and other IT services for 10,000 attendees and over 300 exhibitors in Las Vegas. It must cover 360,000 square feet of exhibition space and 330,000 square feet of conference space for the week-long event. Volunteers make up the majority of staff that build and run the NOC.

More Insights


More >>

White Papers

More >>


More >>

In addition, InteropNet is designed to provide a practical demonstration of the concepts and technologies that will be discussed and presented at Interop. At Interop 2013 in Las Vegas, these concepts include software-defined networking, BYOD and security.

While the actual construction of InteropNet takes four days, the process starts much earlier. The InteropNet team organizes the design and implementation of the NOC into eight steps that are implemented over a period of six to seven months. The steps are:

1. Identification of Concepts and Constraints

2. RFP Process

3. Vendor Selection

4. Engineering Planning

5. Design Tuning

6. Pre-Staging and Practical Tuning

7. Installation and Delivery

8. Operation

Vendor Participation

The infrastructure of InteropNet consists of switches, routers, servers, wireless APs and controllers, cabling, monitoring tools, traffic analysis tools and other equipment, all of which is donated by vendors. The complete list of vendors donating equipment and software is posted at the end of this blog.

Vendors are chosen based on an RFP created by the InteropNet staff. The RFP gives prospective vendors the ability present ideas based on their current and future equipment inventory, and to demonstrate how they can illustrate concepts such as software-defined networking. The RFP process also gives new vendors the opportunity to participate.

The RFP we used for Interop 2013 Las Vegas was published prior to the 2012 conference in New York. This allowed us to discuss options with prospective vendors at the New York event and in some cases get a demonstration of the technology. It also let us target new vendors that were showcasing interesting products at the event.

The selection process accounts for a number of factors, including commitment to Interop and the ability to provide both technology and support. We also look at why the company is offering to participate--that is, what it hopes to get out of the experience. For some vendors it's an opportunity to demonstrate new features and capabilities. For others it's a first-hand opportunity to see how well its products perform in a multivendor environment. The promotional element doesn't hurt, either.

Vendors that participate must provide equipment, systems and support for eight months, and in some cases even longer. Vendors must also provide value for all Interop participants. For exhibitors, this means delivering a reliable service. For attendees it means being able to discuss concepts and technologies with the engineers who design and build the NOC. The volunteer team that helps assembly and deploy the NOC also gets value from the experience, including opportunities to get hands-on experience with the technology in a live setting.

After selections have been made, the team moves into the engineering phases. This includes the engineering planning meeting where the initial design is worked out, the tuning of the design, and hot staging of all the equipment offsite prior to the event. The final phase is the installation and operation at the event.

You can see InteropNet for yourself at Interop Las Vegas; 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. InteropNet team leads and volunteers host the tours. Sponsors do participate as required to answer questions from attendees.

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.

InteropNet Providers




CloudPath Networks


cPacket Networks




Net Optics


Network Hardware Resale




Server Technology




Wild Packets


InteropNet Supporting Providers


Fluke Networks


InteropNet Hotstage Support Providers


Related Reading

Network Computing encourages readers to engage in spirited, healthy debate, including taking us to task. However, Network Computing moderates all comments posted to our site, and reserves the right to modify or remove any content that it determines to be derogatory, offensive, inflammatory, vulgar, irrelevant/off-topic, racist or obvious marketing/SPAM. Network Computing further reserves the right to disable the profile of any commenter participating in said activities.

Disqus Tips To upload an avatar photo, first complete your Disqus profile. | Please read our commenting policy.
Vendor Comparisons
Network Computing’s Vendor Comparisons provide extensive details on products and services, including downloadable feature matrices. Our categories include:

Research and Reports

Network Computing: April 2013

TechWeb Careers