Last week a colleague and I went to Cisco Live London 2013! Overall experience: great. I gained an impressive amount of knowledge in a short time, and writing all that down would generate enough blog posts for a year. We went to many different seminars that really went into the details. Too much to name, but a quick review of the impressive stuff I saw:

  • The launch of the Catalyst 3850 switch. I’m not going to read the data sheet, but quick overview: all 3750X functionality (StackWise, StackPower, hardware IPv6, QoS, redundant power and fans), 802.3at PoE+, 32k CAM table possible, integrated Wireless LAN Controller, up to 40 Gbps WLC throughput, and besides the 24 or 48 Gigabit ports up to 4x 10GE is possible in a SFP+ module. Very promising, although most functionality is expected for a next-generation switch, and I have yet to test it all in a production environment.
  • A seminar about the Nexus 6000 switch. Designed towards ultra low-latency implementations. While I did think initially that it would be of little use cost/benefits-wise outside of the trading and high computing markets, an article by Greg Ferro made me think about this again. Apparently he was there too in London. Worth the read.
  • The Nexus 7000 architecture seminar. This was a bit of a disappointment. Cisco’s flagship data center switch sounds like an elephant: huge, strong and loudly announcing it’s there, but too many features that aren’t ready yet, so watch out what you want to do with it. I noticed plenty of limitations on the current generation that will probably go unnoticed if you’re not using the Nexus to its full potential, but no one buys a Nexus 7000 just for basic switching.
  • Energywise fundamentals and deployment by John Parello. An unexpectedly useful technology, that I have working now (more about that in a later blog post). I find that this requires more attention and research.
  • FCoE practical lab: a complete overview of the technology, much more in-dept than my own brief review. Again an interesting technology that will prove useful when mastered. For practical implementation it requires a lot of planning and design in advance though.
  • Ultra Low Latency Data Center design: I already mentioned some details on latency in my article about fibers. Though not that important for me in practice, I learned some key points about latency.
  • Multicast troubleshooting: Luc De Ghein did a great explanation there, giving me insight into multicast inner workings.
  • Meet The Engineer meeting with Lars, an engineer sharing the same native language as I did who is a Catalyst 6500 switch expert. He provided me good insights with hardware and software ACLs and Control Plane Policing.
  • CCIE Troubleshooting lab: me and my colleague actually managed to solve part of it… But the 45 minutes time was just too short. A nice taste of things that may come for me one day.

For a network engineer this was a really great event, much to see, to learn, to experience. Probably a once-in-a-lifetime chance for me, and I don’t regret it.