Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Is There a Need to Rethink the LAN?

Is There a Need to Rethink the LAN?

OK, I have been in the industry long enough that I can remember the era of slow-speed, shared LANs. I also remember an infamous article that appeared in a trade magazine in the early 1990s that argued that it was impossible to ever exhaust the capacity of a shared 10 Mbps Ethernet LAN. The authors of that article were not dumb. They were, however, very na├»ve. They assumed that the world that they knew would not change. In particular, they assumed that the primary use of the enterprise LAN would remain what it was – supporting simple applications such as word-processing and email. And of course, in their vision of the future email did not have attachments such as a 30 MB PowerPoint file or a video.

In the mid to late 1990s IT organizations made the transition from shared to switched LANs. However, for most of the last decade LAN design has been pretty staid. Now a number of vendors are talking about the need for a new, highly functional LAN switch. Some vendors are even talking about the need for a new LAN architecture. It would be easy to write this off as just vendor hype. However, we all want to avoid the previously mentioned situation. In particular, we want to avoid being surprised and unprepared for the fact that the LAN needs to undergo fundamental changes in order to support changing demands.

With this in mind, I invite those of you who are attending the Vegas Interop conference to attend my panel that is entitled ‘Is there a need for a next generation LAN switch?’ On the panel I have Manfred Arndt, Distinguished Technologist at HP; Jeff Prince, CEO at Consentry Networks; Barry Cioe, VP of Product Management & Marketing for Enterasys; and Kumar Srikantan, VP of Product Management at Cisco.

When it comes to the LAN, these speakers are some of the industry heavyweights. This should be a very interesting panel.

Jim Metzler

1 comment:

  1. Looking forward to a summary of the results. But also interested in whether folks here have questions they would like you to ask.