This year, the annual IP EXPO Europe event combined with Data Centre EXPO and Cyber Security EXPO. We attended with an interest in checking out some of the keynotes, and to take a look at a couple of products which might be interesting in the context of our customers, particularly the new NE-ONE network emulator from iTrinegy.
The EXPO, hosted this year at ADNECs’ EXCEL Centre in London Docklands seemed to have a real buzz across the exhibitor area, with big names such as Microsoft, showcasing the Surface tablet hardware, Lenovo showing off server designs, and HP spanning a big section of the floor. There was a marked lack of presence from some major names: no Google, no Amazon, no Ubuntu, no Redhat. Anecdotally I’d say there was a much bigger highlight on security products this year compared to previous years.
Tim Berners Lee gave the opening keynote in which he went to some lengths to outline a vision of the future in which individuals control access to their own data, and suggested a novel approach to the idea of permissions, in which one would have traceability of data access from permitted organisations and people, facilitating negotiation around the value of that access. This is something I imagine the likes of Facebook and Google will be dead set against, as it will make profiling people for ad sales much harder.
I particularly enjoyed “There’s more of the future than the past, and it’s coming faster and faster” and his anecdote about the original memo to his boss regarding his idea outlining “the web”, which ended up annotated with “Vague but interesting”.
Adam Richardson of HP gave some insight in his keynote on building real world clouds, talking about the need to understand the strategy, organisation, and technology in the context of laying the path to the cloud, the people involved, and the technology foundations.
- The people: for customers, we must understand what they want to steer a good path, often sensible to follow along in a Saas; Paas; Iaas; Hybrid sequence.
- The organisation: must work with customers; define SLAs and boundaries; be prepared to change process; focus on moving from silos to layers.
- The tech: thinking in terms of technical foundations should be API First; Standardised; Open Source; Infrastructure really IS a commodity; Understand your application stack.
Chris Swan from CohesiveFT outlined his take on DevOps and why we need to pay attention, with some good points around making a cultural change, and not focussing on the tools; once again automation was a key piece. He went on to detail how DevOps is an artefact of Operations Design, and mapped that into a neat industrial design lifecycle. His focus on where DevOps takes us, wrapped up in John Boyd’s OODA loop matched nicely with other themes we’ve seen such as the Deming PDCA, and the arc of Continuous Improvement from feedback loops. The slides from Chris Swan’s talk are here.
Products and Services
We spent a little time having a look around the stands: Microsoft made a big push on both the Windows Phone and Surface tablet fronts. The Surface Pro 3 machines really are nicely-made pieces of kit! iTrinegy had their recently launched NE-ONE network emulator products on display and were very busy talking people through their feature sets. The programmability of iTrinegy devices in particular appealed to us.
There were also a large number of vendors with security products. I took some time out to have a chat and demo with Encryptics around their Outlook encryption and control products, and Tresorit, who kindly demonstrated their service which focuses on secure sharing of data. interestingly both of these products are designed to keep all data outside your end point encrypted, which resonated with us in relation to work we did recently for a client moving their applications to Windows Azure.
Overall, IP EXPO is an interesting event, which gives pretty wide ranging coverage of the tech spectrum via product updates, informative talks, presentations and launches. However, if I could say there was a fly in the ointment it would be this: for an industry chronically short on gender balance, I was surprised by the appearance on Wednesday afternoon of provocatively dressed ‘Oktoberfest girls’ – this hardly sends the right message to any women aspiring to a career in IT.