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Interop 2007: Video Highlights

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The Interop 2007 trade show in New York was a place for tech vendors of all sizes to tout their wares. Over 200 companies showed up to promote themselves, from global giants like IBM and Microsoft to fledgling start-ups hoping to win some major clients.

Their offerings ran the IT gamut: wireless gear, network monitoring solutions, video conferencing, spam-filtering software – the list goes on. The huge convention hall at the Javits Center was cram-packed with booths, all staffed by sales reps eager to give their pitch.

Here are some highlights from the show, which took place Oct. 23-25:

Avistar: Desktop Video Conferencing

Avistar, based in San Mateo, Calif., delivers desktop video calling and multi-party conferencing, enabling staffers anywhere in the world to see each other as they converse.

The company offers a turnkey solution, bundling the software, camera, and head set. Connectivity options include a private line, metro Ethernet, or a T-3 link. Also available are Avistar’s partner IP networks, with a VPN gateway provided and managed by Avistar. The cost per seat for the hosted solution ranges from $60 to $80 per month.

Simon Moss, president of Avistar, demonstrates the company’s desktop video product:

ServerLift: Lifting Your Heavy Gear

Lifting a heavy-duty server up to its rack space can require some serious muscle, so a device designed to lift and press these cumbersome computing boxes comes in handy.

Based in Phoenix, Arizona, ServerLift sells, in essence, forklifts that are customized for servers. The devices are rated to lift up to 500 pounds, placing weighty severs into a rack space eight feet above ground.

David Zuckerman, the company’s operations manager, shows off one of the machines:

A Server that Fits in Your Hand

Since the days of the hulking mainframe, servers have gotten smaller and smaller. A Japanese company, Plat’Home, has taken that trend to its logical extreme: it makes a server so small it fits in your hand.

Martin Killmann, a company representative, (who, incidentally, is a German who speaks both English and Japanese in addition to his native language) provided a glimpse of this Linux-based, palm-sized unit:

Microsoft and the Interop Vendor Alliance

Since the theme of the Interop trade show was interoperability, it’s no surprise that Microsoft was there to tout its efforts to make its products work well with other vendors’. After all, it’s only good business: the better its applications interface with those of partners and competitors alike, the better positioned the software giant is to maintain market share.

To that end, Microsoft has formed the Interop Vendor Alliance, an organization that includes the likes of Red Hat, Novell, XenSource, Brocade, AMD, and dozens of other tech companies. (The full list is here.)

Sam Rosenbalm, a business development manager for Microsoft, gave an example of how the vendor alliance works:

Next page: Wi-Fi, virtualization, network monitoring

Xirrus: Wi-Fi for Large Facilities

Wi-Fi equipment maker Xirrus provided the wireless coverage for the last two Interop trade shows (as well as this one) and generally earned good reviews in the process. Founded in 2004, the Westlake, Calif.-based firm offers a veritable cornucopia of enterprise wireless LAN (WLAN) gear, designed for large offices and educational institutions. The company touts its combination of WLAN switch/controllers with “thin” Access Point architecture.

John DiGiovanni, regional sales director, shows off the newest Xirrus product, an 802.11n Wi-Fi array:

Network Critical: Monitoring Communications Networks

Network Critical sells high performance network TAP (test access point) solutions – gear designed to monitor and secure communications networks. A TAP unit constantly checks the status of a network device, enabling data flow to bypass a failed module.

Network Critical offers a full menu of TAP boxes, including passive fiber breakout units and multi-link aggregation and regeneration modules. Founded in 1997, the company has offices in Buffalo, New York and the U.K.

Sales director Christopher Bihary provides some background:

Avocent: Infrastructure Management

There may be no hotter buzzword in IT today than virtualization, and Avocent is positioned to benefit from the upswing in this emerging technology. The Huntsville, Ala.-based firm first earned a name in enterprise tech by selling KVM switches and serial console management devices to many Fortune 500 outfits. Now boosting its profile in the virtualization market, the company makes infrastructure management solutions that allow sysadmins to monitor both virtual and physical data center components with a single dashboard.

Avocent recently launching an upgrade to its flagship DSView 3 management software, which (among other features) helps lessen the headaches of moving data between real and virtual boxes.

Here’s Dave Fahey, Avocent sales director:

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