The Interop IT conference and exhibition hits New York City's Jacob Javits Conventon Center Nov. 16-20, and organizers say the pre-Thanksgiving event will offer up a bounty of news and information on the year's hottest tech trends—including cloud computing, virtualization, security, and network infrastructure management.
"So many innovations have come to market this year," said Interop general manager Lenny Heymann, in an interview. "These are technologies that are going to grab people's attention, starting in New York," said Heymann.
Perhaps more than any other new architecture, cloud computing is in the spotlight this year. A host of major vendors, including IBM, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Salesforce, and others have rolled out new cloud offerings that promise to revolutionize the way IT resources are delivered to the enterprise.
To give attendees a full understanding of the possibilities and limits of cloud computing, Interop New York is offering a one-day, intensive workshop, called CloudCamp, on Thursday, Nov. 19, from 3:15 to 7:00 p.m. "It allows everyone to play catch up on cloud computing," said Heymann.
Regular conference sessions on cloud computing include, "Should SaaS Be Your Next Development Environment," (Wednesday, 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.); "Never Buy A Server Again: Should You Move Everything To On-Demand," (Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.); and "The Right Approach To Cloud Storage," (Thursday, 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.).
Interop's keynote speakers will focus on other topics that will be top-of-mind for CIOs and IT managers in the coming months.
Citrix Systems president and CEO Mark Templeton kicks off the conference portion of the show on Wednesday, Nov. 18 at 9:00 a.m. with his keynote, "Transforming Enterprise IT: From the Datacenter to the Desktop."
Templeton's talk will focus on how enterprises can simplify their IT environments to allow for greater centralization of management, how virtual appliances can be harnessed to enhance network load balancing, acceleration, and security, and how desktop virtualization can offer a more effective path to desktop deployment.
Templeton will also focus on how organizations can best leverage cloud services, and which areas of cloud computing are "not yet ready for prime time."
Templeton will be immediately followed on stage by Marie Hattar, VP for Network Systems and Security Solutions at Cisco. Hattar will discuss how a "borderless" network architecture can help companies deal with today's 24x7, always-on corporate computing environment, where employees increasingly are using a wide range of computing devices—in the office, at home, and on the road—to accomplish business tasks.
Hattar will also unveil for the first time a new Cisco security innovation designed to help IT professionals ensure network security in the borderless world.
Wrapping up the keynotes will be New York Times technology columnist David Pogue, who reviews more than 200 products a year for the newspaper. "If anyone can identify the breakthroughs, he can," Interop organizers note. They describe Pogue's presentation as "half talk, half magic show."
Pogue's past keynotes have included demonstrations on how to get free directory assistance on your cell phone, a pocket camera that instantly beams photos to Flickr, and a music player that can wirelessly download songs from a catalog of more than 2 million tracks.
For those unable to attend the keynotes in person, the talks will be streamed live over Interop's Web site.
Beyond the keynotes, Interop offers seminar tracks devoted to other key trends, products, and technologies. One such hot topic is networking, the crucial backbone of enterprise computing. Interop offers more than a dozen conference sessions, workshops, and free seminars devoted to this key technology.
Sessions include "The Next Generation Data Center Network," (Wednesday, 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m); "The Impact of Cloud Computing on Network Management," (Thursday, 10:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.); and "IPv6: No Longer Optional," (Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 10 a.m).
Security, which 53% of Interop attendees identified as their top priority for this year in terms of IT projects, is also front and center at Interop New York. Among the security track sessions are, "Five Common Mistakes in Securing Web Applications," (Wednesday, 2:45 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.); "Your Employees Are Roaming—Is Your Confidential Information," (Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.); and "What's Wrong With The WAN Firewall," (Friday, 10-15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.)
Those interested in virtualization, which can dramatically reduce hardware and power costs, might want to catch the "Virtualization Technology Primer," (Wednesday, 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.); "Virtualization—Life In The Trenches," (Wednesday, 2:45 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.); and "The Impact of IT Virtualization on Applications & Networks (Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.)
Interop New York also features tracks dedicated to application delivery, the data center, Enterprise 2.0, governance, risk and compliance, Green IT, mobile business, storage, video conferencing, and VoIP and unified communications.
On the news front, more than 20 exhibitors plan to make major announcements at the show. HP ProCurve, for instance, will unveil new solutions designed to improve the efficiency of network applications for customers. Riverbed Technology will demonstrate new WAN optimization solutions for consolidating IT assets and building private clouds, while Geist plans to show off the EnviroNet line of infrastructure management tools it recently acquired from RLE Technologies.
"This year was more about the economy, next year is going to be about buyer choices," said Heymann.
Numerous other vendors will make significant announcements at the show—and the timing is good, said Heymann. "In terms of cloud computing, virtualization, network infrastructure, and other areas, we're seeing resurgent interest in buying," he said.
44% of Interop attendees said their organizations plan to increase IT spending in 2010, according to a survey by show organizers (Interop is operated by InformationWeek.com parent United Business Media).
95% of pre-registered attendees described themselves as "active purchasers" within their companies. Attendees' top spending priorities, according to the survey, are cloud computing, virtualization, wireless and mobility, security and network infrastructure.
Heymann said the survey results are consistent with his belief that, although Interop New York attendance will be down slightly compared to 2008, the individuals who do show up will be there for more than just tire kicking. "The quality of the attendee coming to events now is very strong," said Heymann. "They're active buyers; if they're not interested in spending they're not going to events," he said.
"The majority of attendees are in IT, but there is also a good percentage of business leaders as well," Heymann noted of Interop show-goers. Attendees can send live Tweets about their conference experience over Twitter by using the #Interop hashtag.
Interop New York also offers plenty of opportunities for socializing and networking with colleagues and new contacts.
The main social event for paid conference attendees is a night of bowling and other fun on Wednesday evening at Lucky Strike Lanes & Lounge, 42nd Street and 12th Ave. Also on Wednesday, the exhibition show floor will host a Booth Crawl where attendees can tour the various booths while having a drink and other refreshments.
The show flow also will offer a significant amount of free programming for attendees with Expo-only passes. "Some people don't have the budget to attend the entire conference, but we still want to serve those folks," notes Heymann.
Attendees can get a free drink on Wednesday at booths operated by Astara, Avocent, Force10 Networks, InteropNet NOC, OPNET, Qwest, Riverbed Technology, Thales e-Security, Xirrus, and others. For offsite networking, the Javits Center's location on Manhattan's West Side offers quick access to many of New York City's most famous lounges, restaurants, and entertainment venues.
Attendees who make a donation of $25 or more to Science Buddies, a 501(c)(3) charity that provides support for K-12 science education, will receive a $100 discount on their registration fee.
Register for Interop New York and see the full range of IT solutions to position your organization for growth. At the Jacob Javits Center, Nov. 16-20, 2009. Find out more and register.