Cisco Live London 2013 – part 1

Introduction

As promised in my preview post, I will be delivering some technical blogs relating to what I’ve picked up at the Cisco Live London 2013 event but a few people were kind enough to get in touch and tell me that they appreciated the summary posts that I did last year too so I thought I’d do a couple, this being the first. Nothing to do with being in a jolly mood, I just like to deliver!

Up until a couple of weeks ago, I wasn’t going to Cisco Live. At that point, the generous folks at NextiraOne who had been working with our parent company, offered us a ticket which I was only too happy to snap up. I wasn’t able to get my company to stump up the extra for the technical seminar on the Monday so arrived late on Monday night in readiness for Tuesday’s fun and games.

Tuesday

As regulars to Cisco Live will know, Tuesday morning is keynote time. This is available for viewing online if you want to see the full event but the key announcement seemed to be the Catalyst 3850. This is effectively a souped up 3750 with built in Wireless LAN controller. The stacking technology has been seriously improved, both in terms of physical connections and throughput. I was told that pricing is comparable to the 3750, before you take any WLC licensing in to account. A pair of these switches at the core of the office network that I upgraded last year with a 3750 stack and a 2504 WLC would have done the trick. What was a little strange was that the news of the 3850 was of no surprise to most attendees. Even Cisco’s website had been showing tantalizing clues in the run up to this week. It’s been harder recently to work out what is leaked information (e.g. ACE deprecation) and what is clever use of bloggers, social media and the web to get the rumour mill buzzing.

I had three technical sessions on Tuesday, a UCS deep dive, Remote Access using Clientless VPN and Advanced AnyConnect Deployment and Troubleshooting with ASA. All three were very good and have given me lots of food for thought. I am currently studying towards my CCNP Security so the VPN sessions were a natural fit as was the UCS deep dive in light of my company recently installing our first UCS domain. I plan on doing a post on each of these, perhaps with at least one having a demonstration video. Yikes…that could go horribly wrong for me!

After seeing Greg Ferro’s invitation on his website to meet at the Fox for network beers, I decided to wind him up a bit by having a T-shirt printed at one of the World of Solution vendor stalls. I think he’s finally changing his opinion on the platform…

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It was a good turn out and there was lots of nerdy discussion and everybody picked up a few more online followers. Had it been later in the week, I’m sure it could have degraded in to a drunken mess but three hours later and most people sensibly called it a day.

Wednesday

Wednesday’s schedule got turned completely on it’s head. I changed my first session for the one in the adjoining room based on a gut feeling. It was about data centre and virtualisation management and included a fair bit about various programmability options. Being a lightweight these days, I was still feeling a little sensitive from the night before but it was a good session.

The second keynote of the week falls on the Wednesday but I had decided that, after only paying lip service to the World of Solutions last year (or should I say pen, cup, mouse mat and yo-yo service), I would give every booth a quick visit at least and stop off to ask some searching questions of those who offered something that tipped my interest. That’s not to say that I didn’t pick up yet another bountiful booty as I went. Mia had sent me down with a mission to pick up a load of rubbish and bless her, that’s what she’ll be getting. She won’t want for a pen for the next 10 years and should we ever have a power cut, I have enough torches to make any IPv6 analogy relating to grains of sand seem insignificant.

The afternoon was thrown up in the air too. I was booked in for an advanced firewalls session but found most of the content was quite dry and was beyond what I needed to know. With that in mind, I cut my losses half way through and used the remaining time before my  final session down in the walk in labs, playing about with EEM and Tcl scripts. Looking through the lab ‘menu’, I’ll be popping back in tomorrow for a couple of other labs.

I had planned on going to an SDN for Service Providers session at 16:30, but after bumping in to a couple of people I had met the night before and attending a vendor demonstration, I ended up missing it, buying some books from the book store and calling it a day at just after 17:15.

The Scottish Cisco team always invite Scottish based company attendees to a night out during Cisco Live and after having a good laugh and some great food last year, I was keen to attend again. As many fellow engineers have stated before me, the social networking at Cisco Live is as important, if not more so, than the sessions. Whereas last year, I had to trek half way across London to get to the restaurant, this time I had less than a five minute walk from the company flat. Being Scottish and being on Cisco’s moolah, these guys know how to have a good time. The Scottish networking community is quite small so even in my relatively short time in the world of Cisco, I’ve met the Cisco guys on a number of occasions and they are all a good bunch, despite Paul Quinn turning up having borrowed one of Noel Edmond’s shirts.

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There were others from Scottish Government and Scottish Power too. Apologies to the others not mentioned. A good time was had by all and the food was ‘right tasty’.

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Summary

I got back to the flat in time for Match of the Day and headed to bed to try and get a good night’s sleep in advance of my last full day, and the Customer Appreciation Event tomorrow evening. Last year I opted out of this in favour of heading to the pub with Jody Lemoine (@ghostinthenet), Ron Fuller (@ccie5851), Jon Still (@xanthein) and J Metz(@drjmetz) and then later a curry with Jody, who is sorely missed this year. Tomorrow, I plan on hitting the party and consuming several thousand calories.

Till the next time.

2 Replies to “Cisco Live London 2013 – part 1”

  1. I found myself remembering the pints we had at the Fox last year, too. Bummed I couldn’t make it this year. Good times and hope to see you in Milan!

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