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Interop: Dog Fooding IT

Interop is like a box of chocolates and my chocolates are filled with nuts. I spend the better part of my day talking with vendors about their product plans and what I see happening in IT and the market. My view doesn't always jibe with what they see in the market. Whether it's Cisco who still hasn't deployed NAC too deeply, HP who is crowing about their all-HP data center, or F5 who was also bitten by McAfee's dat-file debacle last week, it's good to remember that these companies are themselves IT shops and they feel the pain of supporting users.

It's always amazed me that Cisco corporate IT has dragged its feet in deploying their NAC appliance. Three years ago when I was visiting the San Jose campus, it was barely deployed within their own department. Now they have finally laid out plans to deploy it on a broader scale in 2011. Why so long? Cisco is a sprawling, complex network and it takes time to plan. OK, but a lot of companies have complex networks, perhaps not on the size of Cisco's, but just as complex, just as mission-critical. Maybe Cisco's corporate IT didn't like the bolt on NAC and is waiting for Trustsec to roll out, for which Cisco seems to have a clearer vision and road-map.

HP isn't eating Cisco's dog food either. Cisco did HP a huge favor by rolling out UCS because after HP stopped blinking the sand out of it's eyes, the company noticed that it had this little division called Procurve that made switches. It's clear to me, and anyone else listening, that HP -- in particular HP services -- is going to be pushing HP switching where it can. Oh, HP isn't going to abandon their Cisco customers, and the two companies will most likely find a way to sell Cisco gear when customers want it (negotiations are still underway between Cisco and HP), but HP is certainly favoring competition in the Cisco-HP "co-op-petition" relationship. I am going to be really interested in how HP is going to integrate the 3Com/H3C gear into their overall data center offering.

Amid the questions of "What did you see that was cool?" it was refreshing to meet with two vendors who are not targeting the Fortune 500 and are rather targeting the much larger opportunities found in the SMB (roughly up to 5000 users) market (you know, the majority of companies that make up the workforce in the US). Vizioncore, which makes disk image-based back-up software (think backing up virtual machine disks), and Appriver, a SaaS (not cloud!) vendor that proudly claims SMB customers in the tens of thousands. I find that remarkable because the last few years, nearly ever vendor I spoke with from start-up to established was targeting the Fortune 500. Do the math, 500 of them, a bazillion vendors.
Since I don't get time to attend the sessions, we bought in some graduate students Jay Sumresh Bhansali, Ashutosh Tusharbhai Bhatt, Paridhi Nadarajanm, Benson Mathews Poikayil, from Syracuse University's School of Information Science and Technology attend the show. It's a good opportunity for them to learn what currently going on in IT. Here's the skinny on what you missed.

Evolution of Green IT with Doug Washburn, Forrester Research Analyst, Infrastructure & Operations
We were really eager to attend this session especially since SU has shown great interest in Green IT innovation and recently inaugurated their own Green Data Center (GDC) off at South campus. SU was recently named as one of the 2010 Green 15 by GDC's InfoWorld for the University's innovative GDC. The awareness of Green IT is increasing and driven by corporate wide greening efforts as well as practical IT concerns like running out of space, power or budget. 

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