Interop Hot Stage: Building An Enterprise Network - InformationWeek

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3/31/2015
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Interop Hot Stage: Building An Enterprise Network

The InteropNet comes to life at Hot Stage. For the first time, InformationWeek is there to cover the creation of this complex temporary network.
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Behind The Scenes At Interop Hot Stage
Cable is just the beginning of the InteropNet.
(Image: Curtis Franklin, Jr. for InformationWeek)

Behind The Scenes At Interop Hot Stage

Cable is just the beginning of the InteropNet.

(Image: Curtis Franklin, Jr. for InformationWeek)

When attendees pick up their badges at Interop Las Vegas, they'll immediately be able to join the wireless network and be productive. Exhibitors will find their booths cabled and ready for high-speed network demonstrations. It's no surprise that the network is key to Interop.

What many attendees don't realize is that, like any good Vegas show, the entire InteropNet is built and tested long before it appears live at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. InteropNet first springs to life in a Silicon Valley warehouse at an event known as Hot Stage.

Large networks are complicated. There's no news value in that statement. When people attend a conference about cutting-edge networks, they expect the network to, well, work. That's also a statement that carries no surprise. Put the two together, and you have the reason that engineers, network architects, and technicians representing a wide range of technology vendors have gathered in advance of Interop each year for decades. Hot Stage is where new ideas are tried and mistakes are made. It's also where the ramifications of all those new ideas and mistakes are dealt with and corrected, long before the first attendee or expo floor vendor connects to the network. The entire undertaking holds lessons in collaboration and flexibility that can benefit CIOs and IT professionals of all stripes.

For the first time, Interop has welcomed a journalist to Hot Stage. I've spent a week in the warehouse talking to the engineers and taking photos of the action. The slides here are the first few in a large group of photos we'll be bringing you of the back-stage action. In addition, InformationWeek and Interop are cooperating in a daily radio show, the Hot Stage Diaries, on BlogTalkRadio.

What questions do you have about Hot Stage and the InteropNet? Let me know in the comments section below, and I'll take your questions -- and comments -- to the InteropNet team. We're less than a month from Interop Las Vegas. The network is getting ready.

Curtis Franklin Jr. is Senior Analyst at Omdia, focusing on enterprise security management. Curtis has been writing about technologies and products in computing and networking since the early 1980s. He has been on staff and contributed to technology-industry publications ... View Full Bio

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Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
3/31/2015 | 12:44:57 PM
Re: Backstage pass
@Sue. it's been impressive to watch the teams from various vendors come together with the InteropNet Team Leads (some from vendors, some consultants, and some from universities or government agencies) to build this networks.

While there have been some hiccups (including an early wireless LAN issue that was rather painfully detailed in last Tuesday's Hot Stage Diaries radio show), they've all been technical rather than inter-personal. I think one of the most impressive things about the entire process is the degree to which people check their egos at the door and pitch in to do what's necessary to make the network happen.

When you see the chief solutions architect from one of the larger systems integration firms racking servers, you know that things are different in the warehouse!
Susan Fogarty
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Susan Fogarty,
User Rank: Author
3/31/2015 | 11:16:49 AM
Backstage pass
Curt, thanks for taking us behind the scenes so we can see details of how the InteropNet is built. I've seen the network in action (and taken the tour) at the live event many times, but the immense amount of work and expertise that goes on ahead of time is hard to imagine until you look at these visuals. It looks like everyone is working together seammlessly -- did the teams run into any snags?
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