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BrokeNAC Mountain – “I wish I knew how to quit you.”

An entire day and forum dedicated to NAC in the NYC?  Huh.  I thought we did that at InterOp and RSA already!?  I suppose it’s necessary to wade through all the, uh, information surrounding the second coming of network security.

If someone builds one for UTM, I will kill myself.   

Oh NAC…I wish I knew how to quit you!

(I was going to photoshop the poster to the left including Alan Shimel and changing the title to BrokeNAC Mountain, but I can’t find my Photoshop CD and I’ve got a plane to catch to Milan…)

I’ve made it clear that I think NAC (Network Admission Control and Network Access Control) is valuable and worth investing in as part of a layered defense.  It ain’t the silver bullet of security, however.  Maybe Stiennon can come up with a new name for it and it will be?

I’ve also made it clear that despite the biggest amount of hype since the Furby, NAC will become a feature as part of a conglomeration of solutions in the short term (24 months); it already is a replacement blanket marketing term for companies that used to be SSL VPN’s that then became IPS’s that are now NAC.  Look at the companies that now claim they’re NAC-focused.  That’s usually because the "market" they were in previously collapsed — just like NAC will.

It seems that NAC’s relationship with the world plays out just like a scene from Brokeback Mountain where the two main characters discuss whether the public sees through the thin facade of the uneasy relationship they project to the world — just like the front NAC puts on:

Ennis Del Mar:
You ever get the feelin’… I don’t know, er… when you’re in town and
someone looks at you all suspicious, like he knows? And then you go out
on the pavement and everyone looks like they know too?
Jack Twist:
[Casually] Well… maybe you oughta get out of there, you know? Find yourself someplace different. Maybe Texas.

Ennis Del Mar:
Texas? Sure, maybe you can convince Alma to let you and Lureen to adopt
the girls. And we can just live together herding sheep. And it’ll rain
money from LD Newsome and whiskey’ll flow in the streams – Jack, that’s
real smart.
Jack Twist:
Go to hell, Ennis. If you wanna live your miserable fuckin’ life, then go right ahead.

Ennis Del Mar:

Jack Twist:
I was just thinkin’ out loud.

Ennis Del Mar:
Yep, you’re a real thinker there. Goddamn. Jack fuckin’ Twist; got it all figured out, ain’t ya?

If the next NAC Forum is held in Texas, you’ll know the end of the world is near…’course there ain’t nuthin’ wrong with the heavens rainin’ money and streams full-a whiskey…

At any rate, I was catching up on my back-dated blog entries and just read Dom Wilde’s (Nevis Networks  Illuminiations Blog) summary of the Network Computing NAC 2007 Forum and couldn’t help but chuckle.  Shimel’s review seemed a little more upbeat compared to Dom’s, but since Alan got stalked by a blogger paparazzi in a three-wheeled, pedal-powered rickshaw, I can see why.

Snippet Summary from Dom’s Post:

It’s little wonder that people are confused about NAC.  Too many times
during the day I found myself with a furrowed brow trying delineate
between reality and fiction…Disappointing moment of the day – 7 panelists on the OOB panel frying
the audience’s collective brain, by taking 10 minutes each to say "me
too".  Result: half the audience didn’t return after lunch for more
lively and concise discussions on in-line and framework based
solutions, and more critically, to hear narratives and lessons learned
from people who have deployed NAC.

Snippet Summary from Alan’s Post:

Anyway, it was a great way for people looking at deploying NAC to come
up and touch and feed a real live NAC vendor. Ultimately, you still
have to install the product and play with it yourself to see if it
works.  There were lots of claims and NAC crap flying today.  I also
would like to see more of a panel of answering questions then just
giving our elevator pitch powerpoints to the crowd.  Still a worthwhile
day and a good job by Network Computing. I think all of the elevator
pitches will be posted on NC site soon.

Sounds great.

Both Dom and Alan’s companies provide NAC solutions.  Both were at the show.  Both seem to convey the sense that this was more circus than it was scholarly.  I’m not sure that’s because it was focused on NAC or because in general most conferences/forums are completely useless, but I’m interested in anyone else’s opinion from those what where there.


  1. June 25th, 2007 at 05:00 | #1

    Chris – I appreciate you giving me a break and not photoshopping me into Brokeback Mountain. Rocky or a good Bond movie maybe ;-). I think the NAC forum was a bit circus like, not because of NAC but because these types of "forums" tend to become more marketing and less hype. I did post some comments to the Nevis article, as I think Dom is practicing some revisionist history there.
    Finally, yes the the three willed bike rickshaw story was true and funny and made the day worthwhile.
    Safe travels!

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