Cisco Live London 2013 – part 2


All good things come to an end and so it is with Cisco Live London 2013. Friday’s sessions were a deep dive on the Nexus 1000v and one covering cloud architectures. Both were good and provided lots of useful information that I need to get up to speed on. The fact that my ears were still ringing from last night’s Customer Appreciation Event and I’ve started to lose my voice from singing along hasn’t dampened my spirits.


Thursday saw me attending three sessions. The first was on tuning Cisco’s IPS. If you use an IPS, check this session out. It was the best one I’ve attended this week and you could feel the presenter’s passion for his work coming through. The second session was on SDN but it didn’t work for me and I called it a day after an hour and went off to do a LISP walk in lab which gave me a taste of what it looks like in the CLI. The last session on Thursday was an advanced BGP session, explaining some of the new features that are in the pipeline. It was a bit dry but contained some useful nuggets.


Before the CAE kicked off, I got an email from Cisco saying I’d won a £100 Amazon voucher. All that swag collecting apparently had the side effect of collecting points in an accumulator. I’ll let you know this time next year if that voucher has helped offset the email spam that I am likely to receive.

Time to party

I skipped last year’s CAE to meet up with some folks at the Fox outside the Excel centre who didn’t have a ticket and others that I had met during the week. This year, there was news that the guest performer was a British rock legend and I felt like rocking out so turned up. The food and drink were both plentiful and there was lots of entertainment put on for us such as beach volleyball, surfing, bucking bronco, some crazy limbo dude and a helter skelter.

Music initially came in the form of a Bob Marley tribute band who were awesome. Then a band I’d not heard of called the RPJ band (Rick Parfitt Junior being the front man). Not sure if they do their own material but they stuck to covers of some classic tunes such as Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believing’, The Killers’ ‘Mr Brightside’ and Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’. I’d manoeuvred myself to the front row with my beer and enjoyed some head banging and foot stomping. The band were very entertaining.

I should have known from the warm up band who the rock icon was going to be…junior’s dad Rick Parfitt from ‘The Quo’. I’ll be honest. When he came out, I thought ‘oh dear’. A couple of strums in to one of the three chords he had brought with him however and I was rocking out. Staff came along the front with inflatable guitars to hand out and that was all I needed to have a great night. I looked across at senior at one point and he gave me a wry smile and nodded in appreciation of my air guitar. Bugger didn’t invite me on stage though. A soon as the music ended after a couple of great hours, I realised why I don’t tend to go to gigs anymore (at my age!)…persistent ringing in my ears. But it was worth it.

On the train back to the flat, I started to feel a little peckish so headed down Brick Lane for a nice hot curry washed down with a night-cap.


Cisco Live 2013 was a different beast from last year. I was doing sessions from 09:00-18:00 last year. I scaled back on them this year and spent far more time in the World of Solutions, getting to know products in more depth, both those that I knew something about and others that I didn’t previously have any knowledge on whatsoever.

The WiFi was vastly improved this year. Where I was frequently unable to connect in 2012, I suffered no such issues this time. Lunches and refreshments were spot on again. I’ve got some gym time to rack up methinks. It was great meeting up with a lot of other techies from all different fields and putting faces to Twitter handles etc. and I hope to keep in touch with them.

Thanks to everybody who helped make this such a fun and instructive event including Cisco, the exhibition staff and of course the attendees. I now have the seemingly impossible task of trying to get a spot for next year’s event in Milan. I’m going to go dark for a few days now and spend time with my family but I have some scaffolding in place for technical posts in the near future so keep your eyes peeled. The final good point for me to make about Cisco Live is the legacy effect it has on me. I’m raring to get back to studying to complete my CCNP Security, dive deeper on some data centre\virtualisation stuff and later in the year, take a long hard look at the CCIE.

Till the next time.

Cisco Live London 2012 Day 4

As much as yesterday at Cisco Live London 2012 was about the WAN for me, today was all about IPv6. Well, beer and curry and IPv6 too. At the start of the week, today was going to be about learning more about UCS. Following on from the excellent seminar on Monday, and my colleague’s recommendation of the IPv6 intructor led lab (that he attended yesterday), I decided UCS should take the back seat so I turned up 15 minutes early to be first in the waiting line – this session had been fully booked. Thankfully, not everybody booked in turned up by 08:57, which is when they start letting the people on the waiting list in.

Bam!! Four hours of labbing, with three excellent instructors on hand to answer any questions. There were seven main labs, with four optional ones. I made sure that I fully understood everything I was doing before moving on to the next part and was glad to have made it through five of the seven main labs in the four hours. Missing the last two did not concern me as the lab is available for download and the topology will be easily created in GNS3. As I tweeted later in the day, I will be setting up IPv6 at my home in the coming days and seeing what IPv6 only resources I can access on the Internet. The best way to understand IPv6 is to get stuck in and see what it does. I could feel my trepidation fading away with each successful confirmation that I’d configured it correctly.

The afternoon brought two IPv6 breakout sessions, the first delivered by Cisco IT about how they implemented IPv6 in their own business presented by Khalid Jawaid, the second a session on planning, deploying and things to consider presented by the very capable Yenu Gobena. Although the Cisco IT session was good, the second one was far more informative for me and rounded off my IPv6 day nicely…

…just in time for Net Beers. Yep, last night of Cisco Live is party night but instead of heading straight to the main event, myself with @ghostinthenet and @ccie5851 (Jody Lemoine and Ron Fullar respectively) met up with @xanthein (Jon Still) who unfortunately hadn’t been able to make it to Cisco Live. A good night was had by all and it wasn’t long before Jody was outnerding us all with his knowledge of Sci-Fi & fantasy, history and many other things too. He also won the ‘Matt’s favourite T-shirt of the week’ competition:

Geek T-shirt
You shall not pass!!

At about 21:00, I was feeling rather peckish so Jody and I said our farewells to Jon and headed to the Cisco Live party. The setup was pretty cool, although most of the food had already been taken by that point so when Jody said he felt like a curry, I told him I knew a place! So off to Brick Lane in Shoreditch again for a chilli masala and a vindaloo for Jody (at a different place from Monday, not quite as nice but very pleasant). And so another post midnight day came to an end, I thought I’d keep today’s post a bit briefer.

Two sessions tomorrow to take me up to lunch time, then it’s back up north of the border. Will give an overview of those as soon as I get the chance and a summary of the week as a whole. Also, in light of today’s sessions, I’ve changed the tagline of the blog from “The of networking”. It’s all about progress!!

Till the next time…