Well, Monday is in the books now – and it was a great start to the conference.
The day started with breakfast with Ron Fuller  – @CCIE58581 on Twitter and he  is also one of the authors on the NX-OS and Cisco Nexus Switching.  It was really great to put a face and voice to the name as he and I have chatted over the past year and such, but never had that change to meet – until now.
After breakfast with Ron, I headed over to the Pearson Vue testing center to take the free test that I signed up for.  Not sure what I was thinking when I scheduled the test for 8 AM on a Monday, but I am glad I did.  I can now say that I am a CCDE candidate – I am now allowed to take the CCDE lab – if I can get a seat.  It was a good test, some things took more thought then I expected, but it is a fair test.  If you are wondering what I used to study, there are many books listed on the CCDE Cisco site, the list there is good.
My first class of the day was BRKARC-3470 Cisco Nexus 7000 Switch Architecture given by Tim Stevenson.  This class was a great overview of how the Cisco 7010/7018 chassis interworkings work.  From port-level asic connectivity, to backplane connectivity, and even the differences with the M and F cards.  It was a great overview of the hardware.
Lunch on Monday was hectic – there are about 14,000 attendees here (last count I heard), so you can image the logistics of getting that many people fed and seated.  The food was good but the seating was a bit tough.  It is sometimes like that on the first day though, it is the day that any issues are quickly exposed and fixed.

My next class was BRKARC-3471 Cisco NX-OS Software Architecture by Roberto Mari.  It was a great overview of how the NX-OS works and how it is deployed over the different Nexus platforms – 1000,3000,4000, 5000, 5500, and 7000.  It had a nice review of the benefits such as ISSU and the requirements for that to work as well as the modularity of that code.
My final class of the day was BRKRST-2335 IS-IS Network Design and Deployment by Mosaddaq Turabi and Shankar Vemulapalli.  This was a dry class, but then again there is little that is really exciting about IS-IS for most of us.  The presenters could have been a little more peppier presenting the material, but at least they did not really read the power point slides like I have heard others where doing.  The information that they did present was good, covered some of the new features that have been added to IS-IS over the past few years, and then ended with TRILL information and why IS-IS.  Those last few slides are what everyone was waiting for I think, I know I was.
The World Of Solutions was a mob of people, everyone was there to see what is new and exciting and what warez the vendors are offering.  I am sure that they where also there for the free food (awesome this year) and free beer/wine.  I did not stay at the WoS that long as I will hit it when it gets quieter there.  I want to take some time walking around and seeing what some vendors have, and doing that on opening night is tough.  That mentality and approach to WoS comes after attending for a few years and having many knick knacks for the kids already 🙂

Stephen and Jennifer

To round out the night Stephen Foskett of Gestalt IT and Jennifer Huber hosted a small reception party at Paris Hotel’s Mon Ami.  This was a small gathering of people, about 25 – 40 of us, and was a very intimate event.  Our hosts dressed in very dapper fashion, Stephen in a Tux and Jennifer in an amazing hounds-tooth outfit that she made herself!  The sponsors of this event – Solar Winds  and Arista Networks where there as well mingling and talking with all the guests.  It was a very personal event with some great friends.  Thank you to Stepehen, Jennifer, SolarWinds and Arista networks for a great time!
That wraps up the Monday experience, now onto Tuesday and the Keynote event.