By Todd Law, NTAF President, Spirent Communications Last month, NTAF members got together for their annual face-to-face meeting. This year, the meeting was held in Richardson, Texas, hosted at the offices of Verizon, NTAF member and founder. Representatives were present from Spirent, Verizon, Juniper, Ericsson, and VTM. As in previous years, the purpose of the meeting was to discuss the state of the forum, and to set the strategy for NTAF going forward. One of the dominant themes I heard at the meeting was the ongoing need to manage large numbers of tools in test labs. Service provider labs can have hundreds, if not thousands of tools, they have to manage. Simply keeping track of these tools is a huge challenge. This gets more complicated as labs get consolidated into “super-labs”, which are used by multiple groups, spread across multiple geographies. Another interesting and related problem that got aired was the need for security in such large labs. The security problem is not so much the classic security scenario with outsiders somehow trying to break into a closed network, but rather, security even amongst those inside the network. When a company’s network has many thousands of users – and some of those users may be vendors who are competing with each other – how can the network ensure that vendors only can use only what they are supposed to use? When a company’s own employees can be a risk, as recently happened at Sony, how can disaster scenarios be prevented? And these were just a couple of the topics discussed. There appears to be no shortage of problems for NTAF to solve – and we are already discussing how NTAF can best address these problems in its technical committee and working groups. To stay updated with what NTAF is doing, please visit the NTAF website, join the NTAF group on LinkedIn or subscribe to email updates.