If you’re not already planning to attend Interop this year (May 20 – 23 in Las Vegas), here’s my plug: Go. Branded as “The Unbiased IT Conference,” it’s a yearly gathering of thinkers who offer a vendor-agnostic view of the world of IT. Attendees can walk away with mind-bending ideas about the future of technology or practical tips they can implement right away back home.
Or, you know, both.
But big conferences can be overwhelming. There’s so much on offer, it can be hard to know which events to attend for maximum impact. Here are five I’m excited about.
1: The 2-Day Networking Summit
Start the conference off with a bang by spending Monday and Tuesday in this two-day intro to network automation. While the biggest of the big organizations out there have already deployed network automation technology, it’s still mostly untouched for the rest of us.
This summit should be useful for network architects with medium to large deployments who are looking to learn how network automation might help them. From the looks of it, the takeaways will likely be useful even if you know next to nothing about network automation.
One thing I’m most excited about: While it’s hosted by Network to Code, a network automation vendor, they’re bringing in experts from a number of other companies, including Cisco, Juniper, Visa, and Major League Baseball. Truly, something for everyone.
2: Introduction to Network Reliability Engineering
My last recommendation fell more on the mind-bending side of the spectrum. This panel (An Introduction to Network Reliability Engineering, on Wednesday) is pure practicality. If you haven’t thought too much about network reliability engineering, this is your chance to start.
The panel will offer tips for provisioning and setting up “more programmable, resilient, and reliable networks” by applying the principles of site reliability engineering (SRE) to the entire network.
3. Not Your Mother’s Cloud
If you’re a networking guru who wears multiple hats (helping customers in the hybrid cloud decision process, educating them on how to use new technologies (Containers, anyone? And so on), this Wednesday afternoon session is for you.
It will offer insight on using a unified approach to select the best form of hybrid cloud to deploy for your customers. This won’t be a pure networking talk. Think of it more as a get-to-know-you session for understanding the trade-offs between multiple cloud approaches so that you can more confidently offer them as solutions to your customers.
It’s aimed at enterprises interested in managing complex or hybrid infrastructures (on-prem, co-lo, public cloud, containers, etc.). If you’re looking for insight into how to make sure service level agreements (SLAs) are met or how to increase IT efficiency while grappling with cloud infrastructure, this is one to put on your schedule.
4: The Network Orchestration Hands-On Showcase
It doesn’t get more practical than this, folks. The Network Orchestration Hands-On Showcase promises hands-on demos, cookbooks, and recipes around network orchestration. Show up to this Tuesday-evening event to talk to experts about the tools you’re already using and the ones you’re thinking about. It should be a great chance to rub elbows with some of the greatest minds in the field.
5 and 6: Two Takes on AI
I’d be negligent if I didn’t mention some of the non-network-focused sessions I’m excited about. In particular, I have my eye on two panels about AI. The first, Artificial Intelligence: Past, Present, and Future is a three-hour Tuesday-morning workshop designed to give you a solid grasp of where AI has been and where it’s going. This one is presented by the IEEE, so it will probably be pretty AI-positive.
The other (on Wednesday afternoon) is called Is Artificial Intelligence Real Or Is It Fake News?
I’m guessing one or the other will call to you based on whether you’re a glass-half-full or glass-half-empty kind of engineer.
No matter which sessions sound most intriguing to you, I hope to see you in Las Vegas!
Rob Coenen manages global business development operations at InterOptic, a global independent leader in optics technology. InterOptic helps enterprise companies and government institutions meet increasing bandwidth, complexity and interoperability demands in their modern IT networks.