What verse are we on? The fifth! Back at Interop ITX Las Vegas

I’m back in Las Vegas for my fourth time this MLife season, and my fifth time at Interop (now Interop ITX). And it’s a little bit different this year. [Disclosures below]

Quick takes:

The most obvious change is the venue; they announced at the end of Interop 2016 that the event would move to MGM Grand’s Conference Center, one  Las Vegas block down the Strip from its previous home at Mandalay Bay. This means a smaller, more focused event, as MGM has a smaller facility than Mandalay, but it likely also means more affordable accommodations at the event hotels. (I would have enjoyed an extra Amex FHR stay at Delano, but Signature at MGM is good enough.)

Some staff changes have happened, particularly Meghan Reilly taking the reins of the event from Jennifer “JJ” Jessup, who moved on to a different company and role after last year’s event. JJ and the team encouraged me to stay involved with the event even after going to the Dark Side, and I’m grateful for her influence over the past few years. But I haven’t seen any fallout from the transition yet. The staff keeps things going, even with the traditional Monday hiccups on food and beverage logistics.

There also seems to be more of a focus on the educational content as opposed to the expo floor. Well over a dozen in-depths events will occupy each day Monday and Tuesday, with prominent names from various corners of the IT ecosystem. The “Business Hall” is still there, and will have about a hundred exhibitors according to the Interop website, but people have noticed many of the big names of past years scaled back or passing on the event altogether.  I’ve also seen some of my perennial favorites sit this one out.

I would say both of these items are good, for various reasons. While it was beneficial to have the Monsters of IT(tm) on the floor pitching their latest wares, I would expect this year to allow more of a focus on new, more agile, more adaptable players in the market. And with what seems (to me at least) to be a stronger focus on content vs exhibitors, the event becomes even more of a unique, substantially community-driven, substantially vendor-independent tech conference.

It’s true that if you want to see Cisco, Dell, and HP side by side, you’re mostly out of luck unless you find a third party proprietary conference (like VMworld or SAP Sapphire), but I expect that increased exposure to the new and rising players will have a positive effect on some of the larger companies. As each of the giants realizes they can’t differentiate based on their own true believers alone–and to be honest, that’s the core of each vendor’s own conference–perhaps they’ll come back to the table.

It’s also true that, if you are looking for more general IT and technology coverage than the USENIX events offer, especially around the business and culture side of IT, Interop ITX is pretty much the only game left in town.

Where do we go from here?

I’ll be heading into some content today and tomorrow, in between working on some other slides and writing. If you’re brave, follow me on Twitter at @gallifreyan for realtime observations, or if you’re attending Interop ITX, follow me on the app.

Disclosure: I attend Interop as independent media, on personal vacation time, not under the auspices of my day job. Tech Field Day generously brought me here my first two years, but for the past three years inclusive, I have attended on my own dime (although Interop does provide media attendees with lunch and coffee as well as full access to the conference). Any opinions in my coverage of the event are mine alone, and have not seen prior review by anyone involved in the event.

Further disclosure: autocorrect is being religious as I write this on my iPad. JJ’s last name became Jesus quite often, and apparently Apple wants Interop to have a stronger focus on convent. I’ll have nun of that, thank you.

Internet on the Road, part 2 – how to optimize your travel connectivity

rsts11 note: This is the second of a two-part series featuring mobile internet routers. The first part is posted over on rsts11travel.com, as it is a bit milder technology. The second part appears on #rsts11 since it’s a bit more POHO than random travel, and will be cross-promoted on the travel side. 

When you travel, you probably have a number of devices that demand connectivity.

Many venues limit your allowed devices, and maybe you don’t want your devices out on the open network. Additionally, you may want to use streaming devices or shared storage in your room, and that may not work with typical public network setups. Last time we looked at some battery powered routers with charging functions and other network features.

Today on rsts11 we’ll look at some choices for sharing a wired connection as well as a cellular modem. We’ll briefly revisit the Hootoo and Ravpower routers from part 1, and then dive into Meraki, Peplink, and Cradlepoint devices for the higher-power user.  Continue reading

Portable power for your mobile devices, and more to come, from #rsts11travel soon!

As you’re heading into the weekend, you may be leaving home for a day or two, or thinking ahead to upcoming travel and remembering a dead phone or tablet that dented your day on a past trip.

People have the power!

Our rsts11travel blog has two posts you may want to check out to prepare for any of the above.

2017-01-18-16-39-49-battery-packs

Part 1, the cable edition, helps you upgrade your charging adapter and cable collection to handle modern devices.

Part 2, the battery edition, helps you separate from the wall with chargers that may get you 7 or more full charges on your phone, or three full charges on your tablet.

We have product recommendations for various categories, based on what we’ve bought and carried with us to road shows, conferences like Interop and Cisco Live and Strata+Hadoop World, and vacation getaways. Depending on  your shoulders, you might even choose some of these for everyday carry. We do.

So where do we go from here?

Coming up in the next two weeks, probably sooner, will be a two parter on mobile Internet connection handling, with the starter part (Hootoo, Ravpower, and more) on rsts11travel and the advanced part (Cradlepoint, Meraki, and more) here on rsts11.

Probably a couple of weeks past that, the travel side will have a hands-on review of the Invizbox Go travel VPN/TOR router, and over here we’ll try an interesting method for connecting up your Opengear Resilience Gateway. In the mean time, check out our friend John Herbert’s write-up on Opengear’s Remote Site Gateway (ACM7004-5).

Have a safe weekend, and we’ll see you on rsts11 and rsts11travel again soon.

Rolling Your Own NBase-T Network – NBase-T and the Modern Office part 2

We’re continuing our look at NBase-T after several visits with the NBase-T Alliance and some of their partners at Interop in the past couple of years. This post’s focus is going from theory to practice, and what’s on the shelf for the SOHO/POHO deployer in the audience.

If you haven’t read the first part of this article, check out When speeds and feeds really matter from last week.

What is NBase-T and Why Do I Care?

As a quick refresher, NBase-T is a technology standard that allows a range of connectivity rates from 100 megabits to 10 gigabits, specifically introducing support for 2.5 and 5.0 gigabit rates, over Cat5e or Cat6 cabling. With this technology, most enterprises can grow beyond Gigabit Ethernet at typical building cable run distances without upgrading to Cat6A.

What’s on the market today for NBase-T?

As we discussed last time, it’s taken a while for NBase-T gear to become generally available. Wave 2 Wireless-AC has made it more of a need in many environments. But it wasn’t until mid-2016 that you could find a selection of system-level products to fulfill your 2.5/5 gigabit needs. Continue reading

When speeds and feeds really matter – NBase-T and the Modern Office part 1

Welcome back to rsts11. With the conference season on pause for a bit, we’ll be catching up on some coverage from last fall. Look for fresh homelab posts, a couple of device reviews, and more. The who-I-work-for disclosure is at the end of the post. The second part of this topic is at Rolling Your Own NBase-T Network.

What is NBase-T and Why Do I Care?

Before I get into my story, let’s cover a couple of the basics.

NBase-T is a technology standard that allows faster-than-gigabit but not-necessarily-10-gigabit connectivity over Cat5e or Cat6 cabling. The NBase-T Alliance website says “close to 100%” of enterprises run Cat5e or Cat6 as their cabling plant. So with this technology, many to most enterprises can grow beyond Gigabit Ethernet at typical building cable run distances without upgrading to Cat6A. Continue reading