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Networking Struts IT's Stuff At Interop Las Vegas

Next week, the IT industry's largest and longest-running independent conference and trade show, Interop, will explore all things network-related. Celebrating its 25th anniversary, Interop Las Vegas--which will be held May 8 to 12, at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center--is expected to draw thousands of professionals and more than 350 exhibitors, and will feature extensive network-related education and training opportunities, says Lenny Heymann, Interop general manager. The event is produced by UBM TechWeb, publisher of Network Computing.

This year's theme, "The 'Future of IT," focuses on the rush of new technology developments, interoperability and how to leverage innovations to create real business value, he says. "Interop is the only large-scale event that is independent to the IT space. We play a really important role as the level playing field for the entire IT industry."

Leveling the playing field is an essential part of the event's legacy, says Heymann. "Interop's most important accomplishment is giving users more of a voice, more of a say in the shape of the industry." This year's edition will focus on cloud computing and the future of work, which hopefully both go together, he says. "The cloud is changing how people provide access to information, with an equal revolution going on on the user side, with all the cool toys that have come into business, such as tablets, smartphones and video. We see a lot of potential, a lot of energy around all these themes in describing how people will work in the future."

Interop's role has never been more vital as technologies such as cloud computing and mobile challenge traditional IT strategies and spur a new wave of innovation and reinvention, says Heymann. "IT pros are gaining a wealth of new tools to drive business value, all while under pressure to maintain high levels of service, security and management in an increasingly virtualized environment. Like in any transformation, the risks are big, as are the rewards."

The future of networking will be on display at Interop, says Mike Fratto, Network Computing editor, in a recent blog post: "Saying there is a lot of change in networking is like saying the sun is hot. Virtually every aspect of networking in the LAN and the WAN is developing new core protocols and technologies to meet growing demand."

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