Winners of the Larry Awards for Best Presentations at Interop

Eight companies claim the honors of the third annual Larry Awards

Larry Awards
Well it is time again for the Larry Awards that recognize the best presentations at Interop. This is the third year for the awards and they have grown into a life of their own. I watched some of the presentations many times over the three days to see different presenters or see if the presentation had changed. As always, research for these awards was a lot of fun and a lot of work.

Here are the categories for The Larry Awards for Best Interop Product and Presentation:

  1. Cloud Networking
  2. Collaboration, VOIP, Video, Unified Communications
  3. Data Center, Storage, Infrastructure, Virtualization
  4. Network Management, Monitoring
  5. Network Optimization
  6. Cellular, Wireless, Mobility
  7. Lab of Future Products
  8. Security

And the winners are ...Cloud Networking: Spirent Communications 


It's another year and another win for Spirent, I think they really get it. If you look at all of the other presentations in this area they were all too bland. Maybe because they had professional speaker doing them. Spirent gives a good presentation that is straight to the point. Year after year, they good a great job. It’s not always about the glitz and glam of Las Vegas but what you tell the people. Picture of booth.  Collaboration, VOIP, Video, Unified Communications: Cisco SystemsMedianet was a surprise to me when I went to the Cisco booth and the presentation of the digital signage was good. They explained the product well, gave me a demonstration and video presentation of the product. They showed me how it worked in real time at Interop and back in the Cisco labs. Where has this Cisco been? My only critique is that next year, Cisco needs more room at Interop ... as there were so many products in too little of a space. (And I had originally had my doubts as to if Cisco would showcase live product demos at Interop at all.) Also see: Jimmy Ray Purser: Engineers rejoice! Cool Stuff about Cisco MediaNet

Cisco Medianet

 Data Center, Storage, Infrastructure, Virtualization: Extreme NetworksSecond picture of the live testing.

The Black Diamond X Series booth was like a big show tent, which was a little different but worked ok. I liked what they did, and the demonstration. They took their cue from last year’s winner Arista Networks. They had a Spirent TestCenter appliance testing their Black Diamond X Series Switch in real time. I hope other vendors like Cisco would do this too.

  Network Management, Monitoring: Arista NetworksEach year I cannot wait to meet with Douglas Gourlay over at Arista Networks to see what they have done in the monitoring and management of their products. This year they did not disappoint and even showed me new features coming out soon. The way they can managed virtual networks and instances on their switches is just great. If you have never spent any time looking at this product, they are one to watch. Cisco, HP, Juniper and Extreme should all be worried about this little company. (Read Douglas Gourlay's Cisco Subnet blog, Default Gateway.)

Arista and Larry

  Network Optimization: Riverbed Technology

Riverbed really has it together when it comes to Interop. They have a great presentation, live demos and real customers talking. The booth is always filled, everyone can answer a question and they had executives in the booth, like Arista. The only thing that I can tell Riverbed to do differently is to present Cascade on the opposite side of the main presentation. They could have one running at all times on opposite sides. I like the Cascade product and think they need to show it more. (Disclosure, I am a Riverbed reseller, but that doesn't mean I automatically like their product presentations at Interop. They still have to wow me to get a Larry Award.)

Riverbed Interop

  Cellular, Wireless, Mobility: Vidyo- Personal Telepresence

Vidyo Mobile was great when you had someone show you how it worked and explained the software. The people were very knowledgeable and it just was not the same old thing you see in every booth for video. Cisco was up for this award also and lost out to Vidyo only because I had to ask them to connect the Cius to a Call Manager so I could see it work in real time with video. But next year, Vidyo needs to change things around a little, maybe offer an enclosed room so people can see how good the video and audio is.

Vidyo Interop

  Labs or Future Products: HP Networks- HP Labs did a video and a blog post on it as I thought this was the coolest thing at Interop and I'll admit that maybe that's just the engineer in me. Down the road when this starts to come into the product line and people see the impact it will have on the products, throughput and application, I won't be the only one intrigued. This will change networking appliances and I would fully expect Cisco and other vendors to be work on an answer to it.

Optical Backplane in a switch that works ... now that is cool. No surprise this would make the list as I already

  Security: Axis 

I had to separate security out into its own category this year since because there were so many products. Even so, this year there was one security vendor who stood out and that was Axis. Axes sells video surveillance security, including security cameras worldwide. As I visited other security vendors at Interop, no matter the product, Axis presentation was always the best. No matter who you talked to at Axis, they always gave a great presentation or demonstration when asked. I really liked the video camera made for the top of a data rack, which is pictured.

Axis Interop

If you are wondering how to get into the awards next year at Interop, my advice is simple: give a good presentation. This means you have people on staff that can talk about the product and do it well. Find someone in your company that can give a demonstration and presentation at Interop ... don't use professional presenters at Interop. I think they come off as fake and don't always truly understand the product. Most importantly, give live demonstrations of your product in the presentation and on the show floor.

Congratulations to all award winners!

But now onto what I did not like at Interop: In my opinion ...

Brocade. An engineer can give a better presentation that two people telling bad jokes and juggling.

Fusion-IO. The mechanical bull was a bit much. The company could have used that area to present the product better.

Companies that hired professional presenters. Every company needs to use their own staff. It's so much better.

Startup Alley was more like Lonely Alley this year. Interop needs to showcase more startups.

The general organization of the booths. Please put some space between the vendors. It gets really packed at Interop on the show floor.

My wish list: Allow media onto he show floor one hour before the gates open each day. Those of us doing videos for blogs and interviews would get some breathing room for that.

Speaking of that, any media people who were less than polite to Natalia and Joylyn in the media center need to learn to check their ego at the door.

All vendors need to stop giving out paper at Interop! Let’s go green next year at Interop and give out USB drives, or URLs where people can download digital copies, or even use e-mail to send info to people's in boxes. You can do that from a tablet on the floor. I am going to lead this campaign next year for Interop. I plan to call out vendors who hand out paper next year at Interop.

Finally, let’s have some real head to head testing next year at Interop. Think about Cisco, HP, Extreme, Juniper and Arista battling it out in a contest. Then we could have Riverbed, Blue Coat, Cisco, Certeon and others battling to see who has the best optimization and fastest. Interested? I would be happy to set it all up and work with the vendors.

See you at Interop NY.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

The 10 most powerful companies in enterprise networking 2022