It’s that time of year again, trade-show season! Interop has always been one of my favorites- I guess it’s the technical roots of it. Interop started back as Networld and Interop. One more of a trade show, the other an interesting technical challenge and exercise. Back when Interop started no one was certain which protocols would win, whether bridging or routing was the way to go, whether it would be Ethernet, ATM, Token Ring, or FDDI/CDDI to the desktop, etc. What Interop did was force multiple vendors to work together to build a network to support the show floor in a matter of days. There were also interoperability tests of new protocols and such between multiple vendors hardware, software, protocols, etc. In the end it became a gathering place for 20,000+ network professionals to see what worked, what didn’t, hear about the latest and greatest…What made Interop unique is that in a way it and by some measure the University of New Hampshire Interoperability Lab really helped spur an industry. While Ethernet evolved ‘in the open’ and the interworking between vendors was tested openly at events like Interop some other areas where this openness did not exist caused massive vendor interoperability problems, FibreChannel comes glaringly to mind. The two main vendors 6 years ago barely worked together at all and you were lucky if plugging one into another would not crash your entire fabric.I remember about 9 years ago working with a few other Cisco engineer and some folks from Nortel to set up the first multi-vendor MPLS network, at Interop. It was running over ATM on some Lightstream 1010s on our side, I can’t remember what Nortel’s was, but we got it working. This year we are showing Fibre Channel over Ethernet interworking with several other vendors, a technology that I hope enjoys the open testing and development environments that IP and Ethernet and even MPLS all enjoyed through open standards bodies and events like Interop.To Lenny and the rest of the gang that make Interop what it is to us as an industry, Thank You!I’ll be around our booth Tuesday and Wednesday and at some speaking sessions, feel free to come chat about anything with us.