Virtualization Rises as the Star of Networking Event

By Chris Talbot  |  Print this article Print

Switches and routers and groupware solutions used to rule the networking-centric technology trade show Interop. But the world is changing, and the trade show formerly known as N+I is no different. Now virtualization technologies have taken center stage at the networking event. Vendors including Brocade, Cisco, F5, SonicWall and D-Link are among those rolling out new products and initiatives.

More than 80 percent of the products and solutions unveiled at this year's Interop networking trade show are related to virtualization, representing a seismic shift in the culture and future of a technology space that has been dominated by switches, routers, and, well, networking technology. Today it’s about the data center.

The three C's of virtualization are dominating the show floor of the Interop IT Expo and Conference in Las Vegas this week, according to industry analyst Charles King, who said that more than 80 percent of the products and solutions are virtualization-related, whether as consolidation, collaboration or cloud computing technologies.

The networking industry-focused show has evolved in the years since Sun Microsystems co-founder Scott McNealy made his famous "the network is the computer" remark. The network has become a robust, secure and highly resilient architecture that is the critical glue that keeps all the pieces of a business or service provider together, said King, president and principal analyst at Pund-IT, an IT industry analysis firm.

But Sun is now part of Oracle, and networking has become part of a greater whole as well.

Although King noted there are a good number of feeds-and-speeds announcements around the importance of 10G-bps Ethernet and converged network infrastructure, virtualization is a theme of this year’s event.

"Virtualization's been around for four decades, and I would say for 35 of those years it really was a fairly arcane, even obscure, corner of the technology market," he told Channel Insider. "It started in the mainframe space, and it really stayed in the mainframe space until about 10 years ago when companies like IBM and HP and Sun started developing more robust virtualization capabilities for their Unix platforms."

Among the new product announcements is Brocade's enhancements to the Brocade ServerIron ADX Series of application delivery controllers that are designed to help organizations "realize the promise of on-demand, elastic data center computing."

Three products were part of the announcement, including the new Brocade Application Resource Broker software module that provides visibility into application performance across the network and virtual machine infrastructures, the new Brocade ServerIron ADX 1008-1 module for on-demand capabilities in Brocade's entry-level ServerIron ADX 1000 Series products, and the introduction of the ServerIron ADX v12.2 software release.

Ixia, Cisco Systems and Emulex are demonstrating an end-to-end converged data center at Interop that features server virtualization and I/O consolidation over a converged fabric. The proof-of-concept converged data center is built on a lossless Ethernet infrastructure powered by Cisco and Emulex hardware and Ixia's IxVM virtual switch.

D-Link announced several new business products at the show, including the D-Link xStack Chassis Series (DGS-8000, its first chassis line), the D-Link DSN-5000 Series of xStack SAN Arrays, and the D-Link L2+ Unified Wired/Wireless Gigabit Switch (DWS-4026). D-Link also took the opportunity at Interop to announce its revamped VIP Channel Partner Program.

Cloud computing was a major part of F5 Networks' series of announcements at Interop. The company announced BIG-IP Version 10.2, which is software that enables enterprises to extend their data center architectures into the cloud and get the benefits of on-demand IT.

SonicWall's big announcement of the show was the impressively named Project SuperMassive, which the vendor is touting as a next-generation security platform and technology that can detect and control applications, prevent intrusions, and block malware at up to 40G bps without creating network latency.

That's just a sample of the announcements being made at this year's Interop. In addition to virtualization, King said other popular announces revolve around network tools for disaster recovery and compliance, security (such as McAfee's converged security announcement, McAfee Firewall Enterprise Version 8) and technology built on Intel's Nehalem Xeon 7500 microarchitecture.