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Ahhh… It’s Sunday – just a few days after Cisco Live 2011 has come to a close and I am still recovering!  Why am I still recovering one might ask? Well, my liver needs time to recuperate, the 3 hour time difference is a killer, leaving at 7 AM and getting home at 6PM is tough, and just all the information and knowledge gained last week is still soaking in!  I will admit – it was an AWESOME experience this year!
So I see I owe you a recap for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  I will start with Tuesday first..


Well my first class on Tuesday was BRKRST-3045 – LISP and to my surprise this was a LARGE class!  I would guess that there was close to 1000 people in attendance for this one, blew me away!  LISP is a cool protocol that I blogged about some time ago here – LISP – Say What?. They covered the protocol and the components of it in detail, the operation of LISP as well as some Use Cases.  It was a great class and has generated a few new blog post ideas – so the future looks bright for this one!
After that class it was a quick break over to Tom’s Corner ( NetworkingNerd ) that was basically a table outside of the registration and World of Solutions entrance.  It turned out to be a great meeting place for all the Twitter people out there, and we had a crowd!  We usually met there before going to a class, session, WoS, or anywhere else – nice common place that was easy to get to.

The Keynote was up next and me being a CCIE NetVet, we get special seating right up front.  I think there are about 135 of the CCIE/CCDE NetVets there, so the numbers are small, so the special seating is only one section and limited access – one of the cool perks that we get.  The opening of the Keynote was cool, they staged a flash mob for the opening number – that was really cool!  The Keynote given by Mr. Chambers was, I felt, an honest one.  He mentioned that some changes are coming as well as they have made mistakes.  He talked about where he sees the company focusing on – 5 key areas:

  • Leadership in the Core (Routing, Switching, and Services)
  • Collaboration
  • Data Center / Virtualization / Cloud
  • Video
  • Architectures

You can see the keynote below as it was recorded on UStream, you can also see the Flash Mob and feel the fun!

Video streaming by UstreamAfter the Keynote I took a tour of the Cisco Live NOC – and to be honest it was not quite what I expected.  It seems as though the NOC personnel where not aware of how the tour was supposed to work.  Each of us was provided with Access Cards to enter the NOC, but they seems to not be aware of this fact.  Instead, they showed us the outside of the NOC – screens and hardware, and that was about it.  When we asked what the cards where for, they had a puzzled look on their faces.  When they realized that they allowed us access to the inside of the facilities, they showed us around a bit more.  They did the best that they could do, but it seems a bit unpolished.  I am just hoping that they got the hang of it on the later sessions.

Me and Uncle John

The next thing that I did on my scheduled was the CCIE/CCDE NetVet Reception with John Chambers and crew.  This is a very intimate affair where the floor is open to any and all questions – there is nothing off limits here.  There where some excellent questions on futures of the company, departments, products, as well as licensing – to only mention a few.  I will not discuss the answers out of respect to the occasion, many things are said that are not to be repeated outside of that audience.  That is why it is an intimate affair, but a very nice one.  Heck, I was even able to get my picture with Uncle John.

To round out the evening there was the CCIE Party.  To be honest, this was a disaster of an event.  The venue, Madame Tussauds, was a great location and had wonderful potential, just not large enough to handle all the guests.  The layout of the location was difficult to navigate as everyone wanted to have their picture taken with the figures, and when you have your picture taken, the photographer tends to be 5-6′ away from the object – thus making the space even smaller.  It was difficult to get food (some of it was just not cooked as they struggled to keep up) and beer was gone in no time at all.  I think that the root of the problem stems from the +1 to the party – any guest a CCIE wishes to bring.  I think to make it better, they need to limit the +1 to a spouse or partner. I know it will be better next year, they do learn from their mistakes.


Wednesday started out with BRKCOM-2006 – UCS Reference Architecture.  The class was a medium level class that covered what UCS is and does.  Covered some of the LAN side as well as the Storage side (SAN A and SAN B design).  It reviewed some of the memory benefits of UCS, CNA adapters and their use, and then proceeded onto use cases with Oracle, SAP, and Server Consolidation of MS SQL.   It was a great class and was nice to see some use cases and studies.  UCS is a very powerful platform when coupled with storage and VMWare.
After that class I had a one-on-one interview with Jessica Williamson ( Twitter ) where she quizzed me on me being a 7 Year NetVet and such.  See what happens, perhaps I will post the video here when (and if) it becomes available.

After the interview it was Honey Badger Time – BRKDCT-2121 – VDC Design and Implementation with Ron Fuller ( Twitter ).  Why Honey Badger you might ask, well this is one bad @$$ switch – the Nexus 7000!  Ron gave a great class, even though a few of us where having some fun at his expense.  If you want to see what was going on, search twitter for #VDCBadger and you will see.  It even got to the point where VDC Badger bore a twitter handle – here .  It got so out of hand, even TheVMWareStig joined in with a tweet:

If you want to know where all this came from, here is the video that started it all –
WARNING – Contains Bad Language

To round out the evening it was time for the Customer Appreciation Event at The M Resort and Spa, and  I have to say that it was an AMAZING event.  They had a game room, black light room, and a gathering room inside as well as the ENTIRE outside pool area.  They even had special private cabanas for a few who found a Golden Ticket during the conference ( that was cool! ).  The bands where OK GO and TRAIN with Pete Wentz DJing the event.  It was a ROCKING concert and an AWESOME time.  To be honest, it was one of the best – if not THE BEST – CAE I have ever attended.  To be honest, it was better then the KISS concert from Anaheim.  Below is a quick video of the flashing hat.



I attended another UCS Class in the morning, more of the same from the other day but at a lower level – it was BRKCOM-1002 Data Center Architectures and Virtual Private Data Centers with UCS.  I took this class because I wanted to know more about UCS, but guess I did not get all the scheduling right – should have taking this class earlier in the week.  There where a few people in the class who did not understand storage networks and asked more about data center network architecture that is incompatible with SAN A and SAN B design.  To be honest though, it was not a bad class at all.
In the afternoon we had the closing keynote with William Shatner hosted by Carlos Dominguez.  It was an AWESOME closing keynote, Shatner ran the show and Carlos was along for the ride.  I do not know if it was rehearsed like that or Shatner just spoke off the cuff – regardless it was AWESOME.  You can see the keynote below.  Great moments start at 34 minutes and go for about 5 minutes; another great one is at 42 minutes about the Vulcan hand signal.  To be honest, it was probably the best closing keynote ever!  Shatner was HILARIOUS!

Video streaming by Ustream


An overall impression of the event was it was a HOME RUN!  Probably one of the best Cisco Live experiences I have ever had.  One of the major reasons it was the best, Twitter.  Because of Twitter the Networkers part of the event was back.  For all the years that I have attended, this is the first year where we all got together – partied together – and hung out together.  For the past few years it has been a small, intimate group of Twitter users who got together.  This year, the group has expanded and that alone has made the event all the better.  Thank you to all of those I was able to meet personally, those who I ran into the in the hallways, and those who I did not get to meet but attended and met others.  That is what Cisco Live is all about, Networking.  Below is a picture in front of the Cisco Live sign taken with Hank’s camera (Thanks Hank!)

And one final thank you to the Cisco Live staff – you did a wonderful job this year.  Your hard work and efforts truly showed and I thank you.  You have set the bar high for Cisco Live 2012, I cannot wait to see what you do!

See you in San Diego in 2012!

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