Hello my friend,
Some weeks ago I had a pleasure to attend Cisco Live 2019 in Barcelona (CLEUR). It was really fantastic event with lots of different activities. I want to share with you the most interesting and exciting points personally for me.
I’m sharing my personal experience. That’s why the activities, which were on the event, but I haven’t attended, I don’t describe. I have no intention either to promote or disrespect Cisco Live in business context. It’s all about personal feeling.
Also I’m very thankful for Vodafone for letting me attend the event, and Cisco for possibility to be a presenter.
Cisco Live is Cisco (obviously) conference, where Cisco presents all the newest (and future) technologies and solutions, which they are going to implement. The main conference lasts 4 days starting on Tuesday and ending on Friday, but there is opportunity to extend it for 1 day and start on Monday (coming on top of standard ticket). As the main goal is to update the customers with ALL solutions, the conference is super dense in terms of different activities. One of the biggest block is breakout sessions (later more about them) on all Cisco tracks (enterprise, data centers, service providers, collaboration, automation and so on). There is also huge space called “World of solutions”, where Cisco and/or its partners shows demo of different IT or network solutions (don’t expect to see any other network vendor though J). Demo is typically conducted by the expert in corresponding field, that’s why you can either ask in-depth questions and get proper answers, or ask for brief solution introduction. Actually I can recommend both, as I have used both.
I did a chance to talk with the people from Segment Routing team (Alberto Donzelli and Fatos Dervisi) on some details of the Segment Routing use cases. They are not only good specialist in the corresponding field, but also nice people to talk.
I also tried to collect some information about products I have no clue about, like Cisco DNA center. This experience was also quite good, because the guy in small period of time was able to explain me basic concepts of the product, so that I can at least understand it.
Finally, following the recommendation from my friend Nicola Arnoldi, I’ve attended the presentation of Forward Networks on their product for network analysis. What they actually do, they take a snapshot of the multi-vendor network (configuration, MAC, ARP, Routing tables, ACL, etc) and visualize the path the packet is going through the network. According to them, they support almost all popular vendors of network equipment. I don’t know, may be. But the tool is worth to be at least reviewed.
Another useful opportunity existing on Cisco Live is the meeting 1-to-1 with certain engineers. This is fitting to the case you are running the project with Cisco and have particular questions to the product. At Cisco Live you can meet with the product developers to get the information form the first source and/or provide valuable feedback.
From my prospective, breakout sessions are the heart of the Cisco Live. What is it? It’s a 1- or 2-hours seminar on particular technology topic (like Segment Routing), product update (like new line cards for Nexus 9000), business strategy (like business case for automation) and many-many more. Being service provider guy I attended mainly service provider related topics, such as advanced Segment Routing, EVPN, programmability and automation. The general level of the speakers is very high, because they are mainly they guys who either develop these products or in close contact with developers.
Usually I’m taking notes during the presentation, as it helps to remind the most critical moments after the event. The average 2h presentation is about 150-200 slides. In the day you attend 3-4 sessions, so you can calculate the amount of information falling on you, so notes are important.
Being a presenter
Besides listening to speakers on breakout sessions, I had a chance (and honor) to present some information on the joint project with Cisco we are working on. It’s a truly honor and challenge to present Segment Routing use case in context of the Segment Routing presentation by Clarence Filsfils, who has invented Segment Routing:
The use case is based on the Segment Routing and some other advanced topics, which are associated with SDN. Looking on my photo you might think, that I’m a bit confused here. Well, that’s true. I haven’t presented for a long time in front of more than 400 people from the whole Europe…
But then the topic is familiar and you (or I in this case) passionate about the topic, the self-confidence growth and you are entering so-called the flow state, where the speech starts to be more clear and fluent.
Especially as I had a support from the absolutely incredible team. Clarence Filsfils (SR father) and Jose Liste (SR super hero) helped a lot during the preparation of the presentation, and during the presentation itself. Thank you a lot, gents!
The experience of the presenter gives me understanding, how much the guys, who present anything to us, need to prepare to make the presentation really useful. I’m really delight to be on the stage and co-create something as well.
You can find the presentation of Clarence (including my slides) in the Cisco Live on-demand library. There you can also find a video of the session, I’m speaking 1:11 till 1:22:
This is particularly interesting area for me. This is the area, where the networks and automation (Python, REST API, etc) comes together. This is the area, where the workshops last all day long to get people feeling about, how programming or scripting helps in the network field, and how in reality the networks look like.
It’s very difficult to attend the sessions of the Hank Preston, the king of DevNet, because there are typically no free places. But I was lucky, and even set in the first row. Hank shared very interesting insights, where the network borders are now in reality, and hence why network engineers need to evolve to NetDevOps.
Cisco Live is also a great place to intentionally or occasionally meet the colleagues and friends. I was travelling there with a colleague from Vodafone Italy Andrea Michiardi.
Andrea is a fantastic guy! He is super passionate about technologies and always keen to learn new stuff. Besides that, he is very kind as person, hence it was interesting to learn from him a lot about Italy and Vodafone Italy.
Also I did a chance to finally meet in person Steve Clarke. He is one of the top engineers I know in Vodafone across the whole globe. And even late in the evening we were discussion the Segment Routing in multi-vendor environment.
And for sure I met my colleague from Vodafone Germany. It was a wonderful discussion on all the topics of SDN and automation. Way much productive any telco we had previously.
Unexpectedly I met some my good friends and ex-colleagues:
International experience is only possible in context of international connections, so talking to people from different countries is always very exciting and valuable for me.
There are two the most important points.
The first one is time. The earlier you are booking the attendance, the better. For sure the prices are lower in advance, but not only. If you are going to take part in the lab, especially interesting one, you need to be really early birds, because there are typically not too much seats available per lab (like 30 places, whereas it’s about 15000 people visiting Cisco Live).
The second one is time as well. There is really too much useful information, so you need to create list of priorities and tailor your agenda to it. Be ready to sacrifice your dinner in order to take part in interesting seminar or workshop.
There are much more things you can do in these 4 days, from having fun and taking part in charity programs to hands-on 4-hours labs on certain topics. For Cisco Live was a great boost on the newest technologies to get understanding where the industry is moving coupling with insights, how I can improve network of my employer. Also it has connected me with the people, who develops the newest technologies, so that I can reach them for clarifications or update. If you have opportunity to take part in Cisco Live and hesitate about it, I strongly recommend to attend as the outcome in terms of ideas will be really awesome
Take care and good bye!
If you have further questions or you need help with your networks, I’m happy to assist you, just send me message. Also don’t forget to share the article on your social media, if you like it.