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10/28/2014
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A CIO’s Interop Takeaways

From IPv6 to DevOps to insider threats, here's what stood out at Interop New York 2014 for one CIO.

Interop New York 2014 is in the books, but attendees still have plenty of information to process and strategies implement after five days of workshops and sessions.

Of course, every attendee has different needs and interests. Evan McCutchen is CIO at TechnologyAdvice, a technology research and marketing company outside Nashville, Tenn.

McCutchen has to expand his IT infrastructure while managing growth and staying on top of emerging trends. Here’s McCutchen’s biggest takeaways from his time at Interop:

IPv6 Keeps Coming, But IT Isn’t Keeping Up
Ed Horley, principal solutions architect for Groupware Technology, presented an IPv6 boot camp that hammered home the value of properly implementing the protocol within your company.

The problem: There aren't enough experts and trainers to teach that skill. Horley said that many organizations may not realize IPv6 is already in their networks if they’re using the default configuration of Windows 7, so it’s imperative for system admins and engineers to get up to speed.

For those needing a boost, Horley went over the basics of IPv6 addresses. He also covered planning for IPv6, transition technologies, and the impact the protocol has on a variety of technologies.

He also shared many of these thoughts in a podcast interview shortly before the event.

Don’t Forget The Threat Within
Much of the media coverage around information security focuses on external breaches. But Jason Straight took time to remind IT pros they can’t ignore the “threat within.”

Using a variety of alarming statistics, the session highlighted everyday examples of ways well-intentioned but unaware employees expose a company to serious risk.

Straight, the senior vice president and chief privacy officer of UnitedLex, offered guidelines for developing an infosec strategy that focuses on assessing insider risk. He also shared steps organizations can take to turn this potential liability into a security asset through training that fosters a culture of security.

Adding Value With DevOps
DevOps was a hot topic at Interop, with a variety of sessions, workshops, and panels addressing the popular emerging concept. The overriding message: When executed correctly, DevOps can be the key to achieving operational excellence.

One panel in particular discussed both the benefits and potential pitfalls of deploying the concept in an enterprise. In order to develop DevOps effectively within the company, full buy-in is required not only from the development teams, but from operations and executive leadership as well.

By examining its impact on network programmability and deployment process optimization, among other areas, a group of five DevOps experts aimed to clear the cloud of confusion that currently surrounds the model.

Wireshark Goes Deep
Mike Pennacchi took a deep dive into deep packet inspection using the Wireshark protocol analyzer. The owner of Network Protocol Specialists, whose workshops were among attendee favorites, used packet capture replays to demonstrate proper troubleshooting techniques for the tool based on initial reports of trouble in the network.

The workshop’s exploration of in-depth protocol analysis included segments on advanced filtering techniques, IO graphs, and data interpretation.

Pennacchi was incredibly knowledgeable and engaging throughout. The session also took time to explore basic security concerns, demonstrating how network security could be tested--or exploited--using tools like Wireshark.

In addition to sessions and workshops, Interop New York showcased two mornings of compelling keynotes, including how and why to embrace shadow IT, innovation driven by the open source ethos, the future of cloud computing, and more. If you missed any of the top talks, or just want to see them again, Interop has a full video archive.

While the New York show is behind us, work is already underway for a new slate of sessions and workshops at Interop Las Vegas 2015. Mark your calendar for April 27 - May 1 for your next chance to connect with and learn from the world’s IT community.

Clark Buckner is a content marketer and new media strategist podcasting about technology and entrepreneurship at TechnologyAdvice.com. He enjoys the tech conference scene and discovering innovative ways to create new opportunities from emerging technologies. View Full Bio

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