Well, the time for Cisco Live 2012 has come and it has gone. I have now been home a few days and have almost recovered, I said almost recovered. Cisco Live is a long week for anyone, there are endless after-hour “meetings” that occur with different vendors; there is the World of Solutions that you can spend endless time in collecting spiff and learning about vendor products; there is the John Chambers CCIE/CCDE NetVet reception and the CCIE Party, the CAE, etc etc etc. Add all that together and add in a 3 hour time zone difference (for me at least), and it takes a few days for the body and mind to recover. Tom, being his normal self, already has his post done at NetworkingNerd – guess that is what happens when you take a few days off! 🙂
Well, now it is time for a nice recap of the week and its associated events, as well as the highlights.
Well, Sunday was the first full day that I was there as I got in around 9PM Saturday night and, once I hit the hotel, I was out for the night. I stayed at the Hilton Bayfront as it was right next to the convention center, on the official list, and had the best rates at the time. Best rates being way too expensive in my opinion, but they have you and there is little that you can do. I am hoping next years rates are much more reasonable! On Sunday I was able to get registered quickly with no problems, got my material and was all set to go. I met up with Bryan (@bbazie) at one of the many Starbucks at the show. I have known Bryan for years, even before I knew him via Twitter so it was great to see him there that quick. Sunday, for the most part, was a quiet day for us as we are all just trying to put the pieces together and get familiar with the lay of the land there. I do know that Cisco Live did have some “external network issues” that day and had trouble with registrations, but I think that was sorted fairly quickly. To be honest, network problems on the first day or so are to be expected as most upstream providers do not know what 17,000 network geeks who all have multiple devices can do to a network. On Sunday afternoon we had a quick TweetUp so that we could get to know everyone as well as get to meet new people in a comfortable setting. Cisco Live Social Media Team (@ciscolive) outdid themselves here and actually setup a nice area outside the Keynote hall for us with some refreshments.
On Monday we had a normal day for the most part, attended sessions and hit the lounges and the opening of World of Solutions. Hung out with people at the TweetUp and such, Tom and I tried to catch up with @CarlosDominguez a few times and that proved to be a challenge – that man has one busy schedule! At World of Solutions I went to the Certification Lounge to pick up my CCIE ribbon, and the LINE, WOW the line, there where a lot of CCIEs there this year, more then I have ever seen before. The line was loooooong – but it did move very fast. The evening then kicked off with a Camera TweetUp that @sfoskett was running at Joe’s Crab Shack just outside the convention center. Even though I did get there a bit late due to the Certification Lounge line and other issues, it was great to see @sfoskett for a few moments and hang out with the crew there. After the TweetUp there, a few of us headed to the House of Blues for another gathering that was hosted by CIPT, Global Knowledge, and Network Hardware Resale. They wanted to take a cab as they felt it was a bit far, but the funny thing was it would have been quicker to walk as was evident by the person that we saw that the Convention center as we got into a cab was passing us in the cab due to traffic. Once we got there , it was a great time and was fun to see some of the people I have not seen in a few years (one since San Francisco Cisco Live!).
Tuesday is Keynote Day – and they had some fun this year with Merton and a different flavor of “chat roulette” as he was singing about people in the audience and was simply amazing. Here is a video of him in Montreal performing his magic.
That also means @CarlosDominguez our host for the John Chambers keynote, and that also means @jimgrubb demonstration time! The opening of the keynote was awesome, they had a video (see below) by Danny MacAskill – Industrial Revolutions that was just AMAZING, and that was followed up by some wonderful in-house bike stunts. They had ramps and everything there for them to jump, flip, spin, etc there. Carlos made his appearance on one of the bikes as well, he snuck in 🙂
Once the opening for the keynote was done, Carlos Dominguez entertained us for a bit and then introduced John Chambers. John informed us that there were 17,000 in attendance and 125,000 virtual, of those in attendance, 42% are first time attendees! Those are simply amazing numbers! He did his talk on where the industry has been and where it is going, these are always good things to hear and know. The demonstration this year was, on all things, LISP! If you are not aware, I love what LISP is and what it can do – I even did a blog post in April 2011 that can be read HERE – http://www.fryguy.net/2011/04/07/lisp-locator-identifier-separation-protocol-say-what/ The other thing that was mentioned during the keynote was a new UCS E-Series Server blade for – A ROUTER – more info here: http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/ps12629/index.html. Below is the Keynote recorded and viewable via UStream.
Video streaming by Ustream
Tuesday night is the CCIE/CCDE NetVet reception with John Chambers, this is a time that the NetVets who have their CCIE/DE who attend the conference get their one-on-one time with John. It is a very nice, intimate reception and everyone there has an equal chance to talk with John and ask him questions. Our small group was lucky has John just plopped down with us and started talking, completely unannounced. It was a very interesting conversation, and in the interest of the event and what is discussed, not something that I can share. This is not a personal or legal thing, but it is something that out of respect for the open and honesty discussed that we adhere to. We want to maintain that open and honest communication, and I am afraid if that ever gets violated these type of candid talks might be less candid and open.
After the Chambers reception we attended the CCIE/CCDE Party on the U.S.S. Midway. The party was on the flight deck and we all had a great time! The one complaint though is that the lines for food where ridiculously long. I heard that there where about 1500 in attendance, about 50% more then expected to be there at the party. You see, a few years ago the CCIE party was opened up to CCIE and Guest with no stipulation on who the guest is. Honestly I think that needs to be re-thought out and thus be limited to spouses and significant others going forward, 1500 people starts to change the atmosphere of the party. You wind up having 750 CCIEs there and 750 “friends of CCIE’s” there, its hard to celebrate with your fellow CCIE’s if half of the people there are not CCIE’s or spouses of CCIE’s. There are things that a CCIE will sacrifice when studying, and spouses understand that sacrifice and can relate to each other. Friend’s don’t always understand the sacrifice, and tend to be more of a freeloader then a person who belongs there. Please note, this is not a personal attack on anyone, just a simple observation. I am guilty of bring a friend with me for the past 3 years, and when it started it was not that big of an event – now its getting big.
Wednesday is the @Padmasree Warrior keynote day, and another demonstration (as well as a few announcements!). The first announcement that day was for the onePK – Cisco’s One Platform Kit. As Cisco’s says:
onePK is an easy-to-use toolkit for development, automation, rapid service creation and more. It enables you to access the valuable data inside your network via easy-to-use APIs.
Build or extend applications across your routers and switches, to servers and new business platforms. Automate current services or create new ones on demand, when and where you need them and faster than ever. onePK makes your network more powerful and flexible while giving you the control you need.
You can find more information on their website at www.cisco.com/en/US/prod/iosswrel/onepk.html or www.cisco.com/go/one . The other announcement for that day was something called Cloud Services Router – or CSR. This is a Cisco IOS ISR/ASR based code that runs in VMWare ESXi or Citrix XenServer as a VM. This is designed to help you extend the enterprise WAN into the cloud using MPLS, VPN, LISP, DMVPN, GRE, Nat, etc -you can see the whole gambit of features in the datasheet here www.cisco.com/en/US/prod/collateral/routers/ps12558/ps12559/data_sheet_c78-705395.html and the main page here http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/ps12559/index.html
Now onto the Customer Appreciate Event at Petco Park – or CAE. Oh my word, it was AWESOME! Zepperella was great, Weezer was awesome, the whole event was just amazing. It did help that @CiscoLive Social Media team had a special area for us in the Western Metal Supply Co. for some of us Twitter folk, their way of saying Thank You to us for what we do for them. We tried to include as many people as we could, but there was limit seating available. To be honest, most of us headed down to the field for a while as that was where all the action was. The games, the food, the drinks, the concert, etc are all down there!
This years closing keynote was an interview with the Jamie and Adam of the show Mythbusters. It was an amazing time listening to them talk about some of the things that they have done, things that have not made it on the show, as well as how they all started out. They showed a video of Adam lighting his human gas on fire, something that has not aired on TV in America! It was an enjoyable time listening to Carlos interview them this year – and they closed out the keynote with a video of some of their best Explosions!
Overall I had a wonderful at the event. The keynotes where wonderful, the classes where amazing, and the city was beautiful – especially the Gas Lamp district. The venue was HUGE and there was ample room for all. There was some network issues during the event and they, at times, became very annoying. I cannot tell you how many times the MiFis there came out. I am sure that some of the problems where not theirs, but others you could tell where theirs. I know, from past experience, that Cisco will sometimes proof out code at Cisco Live – where else can you have 15,000+ people beat on a network? By Wednesday the network was fine, and things started to settle out there.
Well, that about sums up the week, it was a great time and I can hardly believe that it has come and gone already. Almost time to start thinking about next year!
Here is a slideshow from Flickr of the pictures that I took this year: (full post here)
On that note, there are some suggestions that I would like to make with regards to next year:
Blogger Lounge – I would love to see a place where people who want to Blog can go, sit down, have a beverage, and get writing for an hour or so during a session. Granted there was a “social media lounge” in the World of Solutions, but this was not a place that was quiet and away, it was in the middle of the event and we wound being more Social then Media 🙂 Perhaps a converted meeting room with a few desks, computers, etc for us to have some time to write. If it could be added to the schedule so that we have to Scan in with our badges, all the better!
CCIE Party – Knowing that it is in Orlando, I think they might need to shrink the party down a bit. There are not too many places that can easily hold 1500-2000 people at one time, perhaps maybe the Hard Rock area at Universal, but even then that is tough. I would not be against a smaller party that only included CCIEs and their spouse.
Closing Keynote – There are a few names that would be cool to see for a keynote. They include: Steve Wozniak, Kevin Mitnick or perhaps even Robin Meade! Just a few ideas, I am sure whoever they get will be wonderful and enlightening!
See you in Orlando in 2013!!!
June 23 – 27