From The Expert Feature Article
May 14, 2013

Interop Vegas Travelogue: MSP News in Spades, Part 1

I spent the bulk of last week in Las Vegas at the Interop (News - Alert) show, a gathering of those deeply interested in the art of networking. If you are interested in reading more about Interop Las Vegas, click the link. There is also additional information about MSPs at Interop at this link. And you can read my final thoughts on this technology event by clicking this link.

I just wish my hotel and the show organizer knew something about the art of networking. The Luxor Hotel where I was stationed has no wireless, and as one who uses nothing but wireless, I had no idea I had a bum Ethernet port on my Toshiba (News - Alert). This thing was more hosed than Betty White’s calves.

The show Wi-Fi wasn’t much better. They advertised an open wireless net, but even without insane attendance, this thing was constantly saturated. At one point a helpful vendor let me sneak onto his network to check my e-mail.

But that didn’t crush my mood too much. I was here to formally meet with no less than 23 vendors, and press them on matters near and dear to MSP Today. I went through all this trouble so you wouldn’t have to. Instead of wearing out your shoe leather in Sin City, just read my report!

First, nearly everyone has an MSP hook these days. In recent years everyone had a cloud hook. Now IT and vendors are looking for more from the cloud than raw services, simple applications, and slices of storage, all of which still need to be closely watched and managed by IT. Why put it in the cloud if it is still so much dang work?

IT wants out of this grunt work, to be almost purely strategic if possible, and that’s where today’s MSPs step in.

The first company I ran into -- quite by accident as there was no appointment -- was SpectorSoft, which lets enterprises see what employees are up to, even to the point of recording their on-screen actions. This tool, which can be deployed by MSPs, helps stop the leaking of confidential data, using company gear to commit crime, and can block insider threats. When this stuff happens anyway, the recording function and logs provides plenty of evidence to fire or prosecute someone.


Itrinegy was early on my hit list. Whenever someone asked me what was cool at the show, I pointed them to booth #641.

Itrinegy has a network emulation appliance that can be used for proof of concept for cloud apps. It directly mimics your on-premises environment in the cloud to see how that infrastructure will perform in the hands of a service provider. Large shops can use the appliance to suss out potential providers. And MSPs can use it to demonstrate how exactly your apps will perform on their network.


Software Defined Networking company Tail-f was another highlight. I enjoyed talking to COO Carl Moberg. I was more impressed when I ran into two true networking gurus who were all hopped up. One expert believes SDN is really just a service provider play. But Tail-f is different. Enterprises can use it for provisioning and reconfiguring as it doesn’t care what gear is on the back end, be it Cisco (News - Alert), Juniper, whatever. And this guy had no skin in the Tail-f game.

Of course there is a very real fear that we might be taking our well-constructed physical networks and messing them all up by adding a huge layer of abstraction. Think of all the problems we had in the early days of virtualization to get a clue as to what networks could be in for.

So what is Tail-f? A fairly common Linux/Unix command. Really, you should have known!

Those were the first few companies I saw at the event. Come back tomorrow to learn about more Interop stars!

Edited by Rich Steeves