Cisco Live 2012 London Afterthoughts

Returned from Cisco Live 2012 (the European edition in London, Jan 30 – Feb 3) I’d like to share some thoughts about the happening.

This was my second time in this world-class Cisco event, the first time was in Networkers 2008 in Barcelona. This time we were four network specialists and architects attending from our office so this was exceptional trip in that sense. Normally only two of us have been allowed to go and the selection algorithm has been kind of “randomized round robin”.

The sessions I attended were great: UCS, FabricPath, vPC, HA, VPLS, QoS, etc. All the presenters really knew their stuff. There were no technical problems either with the presentations so the overall session experience was very pleasant. Now, the level of content (introductory, intermediate, advanced) is of course something that every attendee has their own opinion about. You cannot possibly master all technologies completely so it is appropriate to have different sessions about the same topic to provide choices for attendees. Then it is only up to you to select the correct sessions to suite your needs.

I got the “License to (Cisco) Live” only about five weeks before the event so it meant that I could not select all the labs and sessions I would have wanted because some were already fully booked. That was not necessarily only a bad thing because that also shrank down the list of the sessions to choose :). Anyway, always book your sessions as soon as possible even if it takes some pain to browse and filter through all the offerings.

FabricPath is still interesting and especially since its availability in Nexus 5500 as well (starting from NX-OS 5.1(3)N1(1)) it may be a viable option for L2 domains. No new announcements about that however. UCS would be nice to have so maybe some further analysis need to be done in the office.

Historically there were free certification exams available in Networkers but at some point they changed the policy and now the exams were available with 75% (or something) discount. I didn’t have any spare time for preparing for anything new so I booked the CCIE R&S written exam (350-001) as my CCIE R&S was expiring in July this year. I passed the exam so the next recertification deadline is again about 2.5 years away!

There were also product announcements during the event:

The 160 Gbps per slot announcement for Cat6500 (and the Cisco Borderless Networks blog []) tells that Cat6500 is  really not dead, if someone told you otherwise last year or so… Of course the positioning has to be considered but the platform is well and alive anyway.

The social networking is the part of the event that sometimes is underrated or seemingly unimportant. For me personally it was absolutely great to meet people and discuss topics. I don’t mean I don’t meet people anywhere else 😀 but the amount of information and experience around the meets in Live is just huge. You see, getting ideas from people that have actually used something is a bit different from getting the information from the manufacturer. Specifically I’d like to mention misters @aakso, @ccie5851 and @kajtzu due to their online presence in Twitter. It was great to meet you onsite!

The CCIE party was had in the Tower Bridge Exhibition. The walkways high up in the iconic bridge were reserved for the party so the place was very nice! It was cold in the beginning but after some wine the temperature was ok 🙂 There was a caricature artist making pictures from us and I got my own picture as well :). Obviously there were some other parties and gatherings as well (like the Customer Appreciation Event) so there wasn’t too much idle time during the week.

If you haven’t had a chance to attend Cisco Live you can still register in Cisco Live Virtual and get access to the presentation content.

I will definitely attend Cisco Live next year as well if possible! I guess my odds for attending Cisco Live US (in Las Vegas) still this year are quite low 😀

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