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Storage in Context

Storage is a specialized niche in IT, albeit one that's more important than ever before. It's easy to get insular about it, particularly when fighting for one's budget against other groups and departments.

But this week, IT pros get a chance to think outside the storage box or, to put it more aptly, beyond the perimeter of the storage network. Interop Las Vegas 2007 will be a great chance to see how storage operates in the broader universe of IT. From routing to security devices to telecom-linked CPE, storage managers will get a chance to dwell on how all aspects of the technological infrastructure affect their particular fiefdoms.

The Interop event, which is owned by CMP Media LLC, the parent company of Byte and Switch, is in Las Vegas for a reason: It's a bit of a spectacle and, as such, will fit right in alongside choreographed fountains, Celine Dion's high notes, and tables with a $10,000 minimum. So what's in store? We'll let you know when we get there. But a few highlights have already emerged, based on our contacts:

  • Ethernet, Ethernet, and more Ethernet. Ten-gig, copper-based, linked to InfiniBand, linked to storage – you name it, this show's got it covered. There will be a 10-Gbit/s Ethernet switch from Woven Systems; 10-Gbit/s Ethernet adapters from Mellanox, NetXen, and others; iWarp adapters from NetEffect and others; and a meeting of the Ethernet Alliance to demonstrate a range of new technologies, implemented in demos coordinated by the University of New Hampshire Interoperability Lab (UNH-IOL).
  • Security. Security will be prominent at this year's show. One PR contact says security vendors now represent 25 percent of the 450+ exhibitors. Watch for security frameworks, authentication solutions, partnerships between security vendors and other IT players – and plenty of prognostication.
  • Green IT. Numerous presentations will deal with ways to reduce data center resource consumption. Case in point: IBM's Big Green initiative. (See Big Blue Launches Big Green.) Expect every vendor you meet to have a power-saving story to tell.
  • WAN optimization. WAN optimization technologies will figure prominently this year. We've heard from Blue Coat, Expand Networks, and Riverbed already, but there should be plenty of noise coming from other suppliers.
  • Enterprise 2.0. Expect to hear plenty about how Web 2.0-based interactive technologies will be adapted to enterprises. You'll see a bandwagon here, but at least one session track is devoted to defining and describing recent developments.

There's more: My colleague Terry Sweeney and I will be chairing three of Interop's storage panels.

Maybe we'll see you there. Either way, we'll keep you posted.

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