Doing The Interop Bop

Every spring, Elvis impersonators and networking vendors converge on the desert oasisthat is Las Vegas. And every spring, as they desperately try to define a niche in thenetworking market, they convert it into a battlefield of sideburns, hype and technicalbombshells. You guessed it. I'm just back from Networld+Interop.

SIMPLE TRADESHOW MANAGEMENT

Day one found me in the SNMP Research booth talking SNMPv3 with Dr. Jeffery Case, SNMPResearch's founder, and one of the original authors of SNMP. He was excited about SNMPv3.You might say he's betting the farm on it. He was introducing a new "super" SNMPagent specifically designed for systems, applications and service management. Moreimportantly it speaks all versions of SNMP including SNMPv3. After a somewhat flawlessdemo and some SNMP reminiscing I moved on, hungry for more.

I spent much of the remaining day on the show floor looking and absorbing. After adinner with friends, I felt "lucky." The feeling of good fortune passed quickly.I was "lucky" that I only lost $120.

Day two started at HP's booth. I wanted to come up to speed on HP's Firehunter (servicemanagement) ManageX (NT management) products. Firehunter seems to be competing with manyother products out there that work better and faster. On the other hand, ManageX isthorough and well thought through. I especially liked the application management plug-inmodules such as Microsoft Exchange management.

SELF-PROPELLED

Next came the Loran Technologies booth. Loran has a product called Kinnetics, which isa Web-based management product they call a "true network appliance." It's aturnkey solution that you plug into your network, provide an IP address, subnet mask anddefault gateway and it's off. From the demo it appears to live up to its promises. I willbe investigating this product more in the coming months. The rest of the day I spentwalking the remainder of the South Hall in the convention center.

Day three, the last, is always the most important. Time to finish the last half of theshowfloor. That's only about 400 small booths in six hours. Lot of literature and businesscards (for Palm Pilot giveaways) later, I was talking with Dr. Case again about SNMP andthe network biz. He hasn't missed an Interop in the United States for over 10 years. Heclaims the industry is brighter now and has more potential than it ever has.

I still don't know when Windows NT 5 is going to be released. But OK, I admit it. Ididn't quite make it to Microsoft's booth. But I did snag two personally autographedpictures of Elvis.

-- Charles Hebert is President of Southernview Technologies, Inc. (Marietta, Ga.)and the Chairman of the Program Committee for the 1999 OpenView Forum & UniverseConference.