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15 Infrastructure Experts to See at Interop ITX

  • Each year, Interop brings together some of the best and brightest minds in the IT community to share their expertise, and this year is no different. While the name has changed somewhat – it's now Interop ITX – this year's conference will provide the same high-caliber roster of speakers. These technology experts, some of the most respected in the industry, will provide in-depth sessions and workshops across six tracks: infrastructure, data and analytics, cloud, security, DevOps, and leadership/professional development.

    Since our focus here at Network Computing is infrastructure, we thought we'd put the spotlight on some of the infrastructure pros you can expect to see at Interop ITX May 15-19 in Las Vegas. These experienced and innovative IT practitioners and analysts will speak on topics like network automation, wireless networking, storage, hyperconvergence, and containers.

    You're probably familiar with many of these IT experts – they're some of the more well-known names in infrastructure and some, such as Ethan Banks and Greg Ferro of Packet Pushers, are top-rated speakers at past Interop conferences. This year's event also features some names you may not be as familiar with, but who have deep knowledge in their domains, like Shawn Zandi, a principal network architect at LinkedIn.

    Interop ITX prides itself on its independence, so you can expect these experts to provide objective insight on issues that are critical in today's fast-changing IT environment.

    The following pages are a sample of the infrastructure experts scheduled to speak at Interop ITX. Check out the Interop ITX schedule to see the full roster of infrastructure speakers, as well as presenters in the other tracks.

  • Greg Ferro


    Greg Ferro is a freelance network architect and engineer based in the UK. Co-Founder of Packet Pushers and a blogger, Ferro is renowned in the networking community for his irreverent sense of humor and willingness to provide candid opinions. He specializes in the design, security, and deployment of data centers, including network fabrics and cloud. At Interop ITX, Ferro will reprise the highly rated two-day Packet Pushers' Future of Networking Summit with Packet Pushers Co-Founder Ethan Banks.

  • Ethan Banks


    Ethan Banks, CCIE #20655, is a hands-on networking practitioner. He's well-known in the networking community for providing objective insight into networking trends and technologies. In a recent interview, Banks outlined some of the key emerging trends in networking, which Interop ITX attendees can expect to hear more about in the two-day Packet Pushers' Future of Networking Summit he will present with Ferro.

  • Keith Townsend


    Keith Townsend, SAP infrastructure architect at AbbVie and founder of The CTO Advisor, has more than 18 years of experience. His resume includes several years with a "Big 4" firm helping set the infrastructure strategy for Fortune 500 companies. Townsend is a prolific writer on topics such as virtualization and cloud.  

    At Interop ITX, he will talk about how enterprise IT needs to transform itself in, "Holistic IT Operations in the Application Age." Townsend also will present "Integrating Serverless Computing into Your Hybrid Infrastructure."

  • Eric Wright


    Eric Wright is a principal solutions engineer and technology evangelist at cloud and virtualization company Turbonomic. Wright, a VMware vExpert and Cisco Champion, is a regular contributor to community-focused groups such as the VMware User Group (VMUG) in Toronto, Canada. If that all wasn't enough, he pens the blog.

    Wright will moderate an all-day Open Source Summit, which will examine how the open movement is changing the way businesses use technology and how IT professionals work with it. He's also presenting, "Leaping the Major Hurdles to the Private Cloud."

  • Jennifer Huber


    Jennifer Huber, mobility solutions architect at integrator World Wide Technology, is a highly respected wireless networking expert. A CCNP and CWNE, she has a knack for translating complex technology into easily understood terms. Huber will cover best practices for securing WLANs in "Wireless Security Gotchas to Avoid."

  • Matt Oswalt


    A self-described "automation junkie," Oswalt focuses on building quality software for automation initiatives across technology disciplines. A software engineer at StackStorm, he's also a blogger, and writes about his experiences at Keeping It Classless. At last year's Interop, he presented a provocatively titled session that proved popular, "The 'Network Revolution' is a Lie." This year, he will present "Fundamental Principles of Automation," which is designed to help IT pros understand automation basics. He also will co-present the half-day workshop "Hands-on Practical Network Automation," which includes an introduction to Python.

  • Mike Pennacchi


    Mike Pennacchi is a perennial favorite at Interop. The owner and lead network analyst for Network Protocol Specialists, a network analysis and training company based in Seattle, Wash., he has more than 16 years of experience as a troubleshooting consultant and trainer. A longtime Interop instructor (since 1997), Pennacchi has received Interop's Instructor Award as the highest ranking instructor multiple times. This year, he will lead a half-day workshop, "The Killer Troubleshooting Toolset Revisted," covering Wireshark, iperf, Cacti and more.


  • Sonia Cuff


    Sonia Cuff, co-founder of The Missing Chair, is a systems administrator and architect with more than 20 years of experience in IT. She describes herself as a "cloud realist" and runs a managed service provider in Australia, but is a New Zealander at heart. She's a blogger, speaker, and trainer.

    Cuff will present "Cloud Thinking: IT Skills for Managing Cloud Environments," which will cover the skills and tools necessary to shift to a cloud-based strategy. She'll also appear on a panel, "Digital Transformation in the Real World" that will discuss topics such as what DevOps really means from an operations point of view.

  • Snehal Patel


    Snehal Patel is a network architect at Gap Inc., where he is a subject matter expert on software-defined WAN. He leads the design and deployment of WAN architectures at Gap Inc.'s more than 3,000 stores, corporate offices and distribution centers. Patel also is a Network Computing contributor. His SD-WAN presentation at last year's Interop was highly rated by attendees. This year, he is a panelist on software-defined networking, "SDN: What is it Good For?"