That was it! My work life has an absolute peak every year and that’s when I’m again fortunate enough to visit Cisco Live in the US. This year it was held in San Diego, California.
I flew in on Saturday with 2 colleagues on LA and drove to San Diego after a quick tour around Sunset Boulevard 😉
We stayed at the Manchester Grand Hyatt, which is a hotel I can truly recommend when visiting San Diego. Services were good and staff was helpful!
My focus this year was to combine both Datacenter and Service Provider sessions as those are the fields I’m active in. I found that the SP related sessions had a quite smaller crowd attending them. I guess this is related as the SP customers are considered important customers and get a lot more attention from Cisco people, so they already know what to expect in terms of roadmap and technologies. Still I had quite some very good sessions where I learnt about the features (and limitations) about some cool new things 🙂
On Sunday it’s a special day as you need to purchase additional sessions called Techtorials. This was the first year I took a session not related to any certification track, which made it very interesting. I wasn’t there to pass a test, I was there to apply the knowledge for my customers. I took a session of 8 hours about IP Fast Convergence. I really loved the session and I learnt quite some details about when and where to apply certain technologies. Most important of all, I learnt not to quietly accept the 50ms convergence requirement of a customer. Why would you need this? By introducing various technologies to converge that fast, the network can become significantly more complex, while you could make it a lot more easy and still converge within half a second, with very little packet drop.
On Monday I took the CCIE Datacenter techtorial which I already blogged about. The session was vey interesting and this title is definitely on the radar to pass it as soon as its released!
As you can see on the picture above, lunch or breakfast being served at this event, is just bizarre every time you walk into this massive room! Food is actually pretty good during the event 🙂
The other session I took on Monday was regarding the Nexus 5500/2000 architecture. This is a great example of the level of the people that are presenting these sessions. These sessions are given by people from the business unit developing these products and absolutely ‘live’ the product. When attending the advanced sessions (starting with 3000) you can basically throw any question at them and get a decent answer in return or they will contact you later to give you the answer you want.
During the end of the afternoon the World of Solutions (WoS) opened up and the first night is sponsored with free drinks and food by all event sponsors. Of course I had to get my badge ribbons 😉 the WoS was good as always with lots of free t-shirts.
Again a couple great sessions during the day and I had the pleasure of talking to a couple of friends in the certifications lounge on the WoS floor. The social aspect of this event is one of the things that makes it so good!
Tuesday is the day of the John Chambers (CEO of Cisco) keynote. The show is awesome where they revealed there was a record breaking attendance of 17,000 people on-site in San Diego!
After the afternoon sessions we went to the CCIE party which was held this year on the USS Midway. The party was good, but I had better ones 😉
Again a day full of great technical sessions. I learnt a lot during the Datacenter QoS session, and most of all about the questions you are able to ask during the sessions. Again some amazing speakers and I has some good talks with people from TAC, which I can specifically escalate my cases to 😉
Wednesday is the day of the customer appreciation event, the big party! Weezer was performing and the location was the San Diego Padres stadium. I had a great time! (we actually took a bike cab to the stadium 😉 )
On the last day I was starting to feel the muscles in my body complaining about all the walking and the few hours of sleep during the week. I still had a great day and learnt a lot.
I attended a whiteboard session with multiple very smart Cisco technicians and we talked about considerations for unified fabric across datacenters on smaller distances (like in the Netherlands).
The closing keynote was simply awesome! The Mythbusters were a great closing of this amazing event!
Thank you Cisco and all the people I met and saw again for this amazing week! I really look forward to this event and I can’t wait until I will be in Orlando next year (when I will finally be a NetVet)!
We will meet again!!