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Kurt Marko
Kurt Marko
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Interop 2012 Preview: 12 Cool Products

Cloud computing, big data, and mobile lead the big themes at the Interop 2012 enterprise IT event. Get a sneak peek at some of the innovative products we expect to see.
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Beginning on May 6, thousands of IT professionals will descend upon Las Vegas for the Interop 2012 conference at the Mandalay Bay hotel. Interop, as you may know, is to enterprise IT managers and data center engineers what that other Vegas mega-event, the Consumer Electronics Show, is to consumers and gadget lovers. This year, Interop attendees will find technologies focused on some of enterprise IT's biggest pain points. Since it's Vegas, you might even call them enterprise IT's "very bad things."

Like last year, cloud computing will be everywhere at Interop 2012. This time, however, we expect to see more actual products and less "cloudwashing" slideware that attempts to put a new cloud spin on old products.

But since Interop is all about enterprise IT, expect to see a focus on virtual server environments and bridging on-premises systems to public clouds. Such hybrid environments are breathing new life into the WAN optimization and application acceleration market as network traffic is increasingly crossing the Internet.

Private clouds aren't affecting just virtual server farms, but also enterprise networks, as virtualization dramatically reshapes traffic flows and capacity demands within the data center. So look for plenty of new switching hardware as 40-gigabit becomes the new 10-gigabit, and 10-gigabit Ethernet goes mainstream, via low-cost top-of-rack (ToR) switches and integrated 10-GbE interfaces as standard equipment on new servers and blades.

While fabrics were all the rage for the last couple years, this year the buzz will be around software defined networking (SDN), which for most vendors means OpenFlow. To see if SDN is more than just hype, look for products at the show that actually support OpenFlow--and not just obvious products like edge switches and network controllers, but also test and measurement equipment, and monitoring and management software.

Interop isn't only about servers and networks. There will also be plenty of storage hardware on display, including products that use distributed, scale-out designs that allow you to easily add capacity without buying a whole new storage frame, and gateways linking on-premise with cloud storage, making the cloud look like another storage tier in your data center.

Of course, there's also guaranteed to be plenty of wireless collaboration and security hardware. On Tuesday, the Best of Interop award winners will be announced. Meanwhile, join us for a sneak peak at some hot new products debuting at the Interop 2012 show, including some Best of Interop finalists.

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