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Emily Johnson
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Meet Eric Hanselman, Interopís SDN Track Chair

Eric Hanselman's SDN track at Interop will help IT pros understand what they can do with SDN now to solve real problems.

Eric Hanselman is the chair of Interop’s SDN track and Chief Analyst at 451 Research. He began his relationship with Interop in 1996 as an exhibitor performing booth interconnection. “My team got everything connected to the show network and, hopefully, made the demos work,” joked Hanselman. 

As SDN track chair, Hanselman is investigating what organizations can do with SDN today. “As we start looking at greater utilization of the cloud, and as enterprises start looking at hybrid deployments of their infrastructure, SDN becomes really key,” he said.

“All of the steps to a more flexible computing environment depend on a more flexible networking environment. We’re getting to a point today where that’s really happening.

Prior to 2014, SDN was considered more of a concept than a technology. “This year, we’re finally starting to see practical implementations of SDN,” said Hanselman. It’s beginning to prove that it can solve real problems and improve the way IT services are delivered.

“The real tipping point in SDN,” said Hanselman, “is that now the management infrastructure has become mature enough and the integrations are mature enough. It’s become a practical tool to give more flexible interconnection.”

The practical aspects of SDN are driving Hanselman’s track. Sessions include Getting the Most Out of Your SDN and and Unlocking the Network Operational Environment of the Future.

The workshop Software-Defined Networking and Network Virtualization, which he’s co-hosting with networking expert Ivan Pepelnjak, discuss ways in which SDN is helping solve operational problems, specifically in the data center.

Though well versed in networking, Hanselman is actually a chemist by schooling.

“It all kept wrapping back to how we move bits from here to there. I got tied up in interconnecting instruments. That was my first start in networking,” said Hanselman.

“I spent a lot of time on network security, and as virtualization started to take a larger and larger share of networking, I started working in virtualization as well.”

Currently, Hanselman’s  focus at 451 Research is on integrated and converged infrastructures, as well as the operational impact for enterprise and service providers. “Basically we’re opening up the thorny question: Does mashing storage, compute, and networking together have any value?” said Hanselman.

That answer, he said, is yes. “As long as your organization is mature enough to take advantage of it.”

At the same time, Hanselman understands the hesitation around the adoption of new technology. “IT teams are reluctant to adopt a technology that might result in job loss, there’s a serious amount of fear of change,” said Hanselman.

Join Eric Hanselman for the Software-Defined Networking track at Interop New York from September 30 to October 3 at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City.

Emily Johnson is the digital content editor for InformationWeek. Prior to this role, Emily worked within UBM America's technology group as an associate editor on their content marketing team. Emily started her career at UBM in 2011 and spent four and a half years in content ... View Full Bio

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