InteropNet and the NOC Team

core - interopLast week I participated in the InteropNet hot stage and deployed and configured the NetBeez instance for Interop. InteropNet is a critical part of Interop because it will provide connectivity to the exhibiting companies as well as the attendees of the tradeshow that is taking place in Las Vegas from April 27th to May 1st.

(If you don’t know what InteropNet is, read this blog post Panos wrote.)

During hot stage, the network equipment is racked, configured and interconnected following the network design that was set during the planning meeting in January. After hot stage, the 30+ racks containing the equipment are wrapped and shipped in trucks to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.


This was my first time participating in InteropNet and I have to say that hot stage has been a very interesting experience for me. As a recovering network engineer, I have designed and deployed several enterprise networks but I have never worked on a project like this, where a network infrastructure has to be built in less than two weeks. I believe that the biggest challenge of InteropNet is the fact that there are a large number of applications and services running on top of it … and many engineers are working at the same time at the staging facility to configure their own systems. It’s definitely the definition of organized chaos.

In this environment, tasks that normally would be done sequentially are executed in parallel. A project manager would freak out and have a mental breakdown: “Where is my Gantt chart?!?!” Yet, although it looks like a total mess on the surface, hot stage is a well-oiled machine, thanks to the lead architect of InteropNet, Glenn Evans, who is able to keep tasks on track and everyone under control, myself included. 🙂

Dilbert

But there is more. I was happy to discover that InteropNet is not just an opportunity to exchange ideas and perspectives on networking and learn new cool technologies that will shape IT. InteropNet is a tradition that goes back to the early 90s and the team behind it is really proud of being part of this event, as it should be. They like doing this so much that they meet every year and put in their expertise, passion, and time to build together this network. I believe that this is what differentiates Interop from other tradeshows and, for a company like NetBeez, it is a great opportunity to establish relationships and get great feedback on our product.

Some of the volunteers that I met at this edition have done this for over twenty years. They are veterans and have seen it all in terms of technologies, vendors, and industry trends … Pink Panthers included!

What the heck is the Pink Panther doing at the hot stage facility Come to InteropNet and ask one of the team leads, then stop by our booth (#2344). If you get it right, we will give you a NetBeez t-shirt.

What the heck is the Pink Panther doing at the hot stage facility Come to InteropNet and ask one of the team leads, then stop by our booth (#2344). If you get it right, we will give you a NetBeez t-shirt.

I want to close this post with a big thank you to the team leads of the NOC team. Here they are:

Glenn Evans – Lead Network Architect – Acrux Consulting

I owe Glenn many thanks for giving us the opportunity to participate in InteropNet and also for letting me drink his beers during late hours at hot stage

Andrew Hoyos – Management and Monitoring – Hoyos Consulting LLC

Andrew is already a power user of NetBeez and found a problem with the DHCP scope that I will explain in my next blog post

Bill Jensen – SDN Labs – University of WI-Madison

Bill that has already given me tons of great feedback and input on NetBeez … as Bob McCouch said, we could “fill a roadmap from here to Mars”

Brandon Ross – Routing/Switching – Network Utility Force

Brian Chee – Education – University of Hawaii SOEST

Check out one of the many projects that Brian is working on – very cool!

 Chris Stradtman – SDN Labs – Independent Contractor

Chris is an expert engineer who has created a homegrown script-based solution similar to NetBeez

Chris Wopat – Systems – WiscNet

Mark Sullivan – Generalist – INFORMATIK GROUP

Mark has given me a lot of help and guidance in the initial days of InteropNet

 Nicola Foggi – Infrastructure I – Google

Tyler Wells – Infrastructure II – City of Lakewood

A special thanks also to Valerie Bojarski, the Event Operations manager at UBM, who has assisted the entire team with logistics, including feeding us for lunch and dinner.

So that’s all for now, folks. I am looking forward to seeing you all at Interop in Las Vegas the last week of April.