Last week I had the opportunity to spend another few days in New York City. I’m a big fan of the city, especially at night, and NYC is definitely the place to absorb that experience. But it wasn’t all touristy; in fact, I spent most of my time at the Interop New York trade show, which was held in the Javits Convention Center in Midtown West.


The show covered five days, and also included co-locations with a number of other smaller shows, including  the Mac & iOS IT Conference, the InformationWeek CIO Summit, and LightReading’s Ethernet & SDN Expo. As a result of the convergence of all four of these events, there was quite a cross-section of ITPros present. I talked with CIOs, VPs, VCs, IT Directors/Managers, as well as Network and System Administrators working in the trenches every day (and working even on those four days, compliments of our 21st century remote access technologies).


As perhaps expected, a significant theme of the show was the growing interest around Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Software Defined Data Centers (SDDC). SDN and SDDC are all about “the cloud” and methodologies for managing the cloud, but thoughts about the cloud still have notable polarization: Why does IT fear the cloud?


In the expo hall, the two most notable groups of vendors I saw were those who build products for network monitoring (including SolarWinds, of course), and vendors selling refurbished Cisco hardware.

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The coolest thing I saw at the show was a “big screen” touch screen by nuPSYS. They build technologies for NOCs, including a multi-touch plate that sits on top of existing screens, effectively converting the display into a multi-touch display. This big screen consists of 40 individual rear-projection display units, synchronized together, with a touch screen mounted on the front of each projector box. In the photo you can see the first 12 panels removed.


For those who are attracted to keynote presentations at these events, you can find the entire InterOp archive online, but Interop New York offered a couple of very interesting presentations: John Chambers, Cisco’s Chairman and CEO talked about networking and “the Internet of everything”, and William Murphy, CTO, The Blackstone Group revisited the ongoing question “Is IT Irrelevant?”. Recently on Thwack, we had a similar conversation about The Future of IT Jobs. Where is your IT job headed?


For me, half of my duties included setting up and tearing down the tech equipment for the SolarWinds booth, which included a humbling lesson about remembering to plug in the network cables before freaking out about why the network doesn’t work right. The other half, the half I enjoy the most, is hanging out in the booth and talking to customers and not-customers about SolarWinds products, and technology in general. One thing unique about Interop, less so than other shows such as TechNet, Cisco Live!, or VMWorld, is that there’s a higher number of executives and affiliated professionals (such as venture capitalists), and while they’re not the primary people we generally talk to, it’s always interesting to have conversations about our products with them.


All in all it was a great week in New York, and I’m looking forward to the next opportunity to come out and mingle with the people who are doing the real work in I.T.