Terry Slattery
Principal Architect

CiscoLive 2010 is the premier event for anyone who uses Cisco products. There is a lot to see and people to talk with at this conference. There are Cisco staff who explain their offerings and future direction. And there are Cisco partners who are showing their products. The attendance this year was a record-breaking 12,500 onsite with another 10,500 virtual, for an attendance of 23,000.

John Chambers gave his annual keynote presentation where he talks about what he said last year, what they have accomplished in the last year, and what he says they will do in the coming year. Last year he said that they would move into thirty new areas.  He reported that all those initiatives are on track or ahead of track and that Cisco should have attempted more initiatives. Collaboration remains a big focus, both internally and for customers. The Tandberg acquisition this past year solidifies their market position for video conferencing and they have initiatives under way to expand into related areas.

I attended a good session on Campus Network Design in which one slide showed a good network architecture and the next slide showed a poor network architecture. I was struck by how often I see the poor network architecture in customer networks. I think more people need to attend CiscoLive, either in person, or via the virtual attendance. The virtual attendees can download the presentations and view the audio and slide presentations. The recorded presentations are a gold-mine of training at a relatively low cost. One of the big advantages is the availability of ‘just in time’ learning. I would like to see Cisco offer the content in a format that I can view on my iPhone or other devices. I would find this valuable in long commutes when I’m not driving or to listen to like audio books.

The session on OTV (Overlay Transport Virtualization) was also excellent. It educated me on a solution for Data Center Interconnect (DCI). Many organizations want to tie data centers together using Layer 2 technology so that they can do VMotion between data centers. If you span L2 between date centers, problems such as spanning tree loops and broadcast storms that could take out both data centers. When an organization wants to span Layer 2 between data centers, they are effectively creating one data center that spans two sites. The failure domain includes both sites. A spanning tree loop at one site affects the switches at the other site. OTV is a way to decouple the STP domain (which corresponds to the failure domain in this case) at each data center. It is available only on the Nexus equipment, so count on new network hardware within the data center to make it work.

The CCIE NetVet reception was exceptional, as usual. To be a CCIE NetVet, you have to be a CCIE and have attended three of the past five Networkers/CiscoLive conferences. I’ve been attending these receptions since 2002 (I think that’s when I first attended one – I missed 2000 and 2001). These receptions are where John Chambers gets to answer questions from the assembled CCIEs. There are generally a good set of questions on a variety of topics. The CCIE Emeritus program has been requested each year for the past five years or so and now the program exists. John also said that they know that they have to improve security and management and have significant emphasis on both areas.

Cisco treats the CCIEs to a special party and this year it was at the Rio’s Voodoo Lounge, which is on the 52nd floor, with balconies overlooking the Las Vegas Strip. This was a good event, although the music was too loud for me. I dislike having to yell to talk with other people and I miss enough of what the other person is saying that I have a problem carrying on a conversation. I had a chance to talk with Joe Pinto, SVP of Technical Services, and Jeanne Beliveau-Dunn, General Manager of Learning@Cisco.

The big news at CiscoLive for me was the Cisco announcement of the Cius, which they are marketing as a business tablet (vs the Apple iPad which is more consumer oriented). It has two cameras, WiFi, 3G/4G wireless, and supports 720p video. The screen is slightly small at 7″ diagonal, and is a touch-screen. I would like to work with it on a special healthcare project I have to see how useful it can be.



Re-posted with Permission 

NetCraftsmen would like to acknowledge Infoblox for their permission to re-post this article which originally appeared in the Applied Infrastructure blog under


Leave a Reply