Cisco Live is always a great place to check in on the latest developments in the networking world, and this year was no exception. There were 27,000 attendees and no shortage of booths, demonstrations, talks, and presentations from which to learn. If you were unable to attend, or just didn’t get to everything, here are our top five Cisco Live favorites.
1. The creation of NetPath
We found this development over at the SolarWinds booth. The team there has found a way to map your entire path, hop-by-hop, even to outside sites or remote locations. It’s called NetPath, and it’s a new feature in the latest release of Network Performance Monitor (NPM 12). With more environments moving to hybrid IT (more on that in a minute), we see this as a game changer for troubleshooting issues. Now network admins can see exactly where along the path the failure is occurring, and with historical data available, the mystery of “Why was X site down yesterday?” can finally be solved.
2. The prevalence of hybrid IT
(See, told you there would be more in a minute.) Mentions of hybrid IT and hybrid IT support were everywhere. This has been slowly growing for a while, but this is the first year it really seemed to take hold. Companies are moving to a blended (hybrid) model of providing IT services, with some elements still contained on-premises, and others moving to the cloud. With this shift come unique challenges where network admins are responsible for ensuring that services are accessible, even when those services live outside of the environment the admins control. With this in mind, now you see why we think that NetPath is such a game changer.
3. The emphasis on DevNet
The area devoted to DevNet—the network engineer-flavored DevOps—has grown substantially in recent years. It has gone from a booth or two a year ago, to a whole section of the floor in Berlin 2016, to an entire conference bay of non-vendor floor space at Cisco Live US 2016. Interactive demonstrations draw the crowds. This year, two dozen workstations were arranged around a model train, and attendees could try to find ways to change the speed and direction of the train by coding the environment. Fun!
4. The presence of IoT
You would think that a show devoted to making networks cleaner, faster, stronger, and more reliable would hold the Internet of Things as anathema, but at Cisco Live it was just the opposite. IoT was embraced in multiple areas, with sessions and even hands-on demonstrations being given in how to manage and even leverage those mini-sensors that are going into everything these days. Possibly one of the coolest applications, which many were talking and tweeting about, was the use of tiny sensor “backpacks” to investigate the health and collapse of honey bee colonies. (https://communities.cisco.com/community/developer/blog/2016/06/27/video-analytics-iot-sensors-honey-bee-health-at-cisco-live)
5. Cisco Live itself
Like asking a goldfish to describe water, sometimes the most amazing thing is all around you and therefore goes unnoticed. The Cisco Live infrastructure moved nearly 40 terabytes of traffic in four days across dual 10Gb links, required over 300 access points to support 18,000 wireless devices, and covered 250,000 square feet. And all of the infrastructure took just five days to set up onsite (although it required a full 11 months of planning)! Now that’s some serious networking.
(A bonus item!) One of the best parts of Cisco Live is the human networking, and seeing how technology can help make personal connections with groups of like-minded folks. And what would geek-based IT culture be if all of that social interaction didn't include some completely off-the-wall goofiness? From #KiltedMonday to #SocksOfCLUS, it was fun to see online trends manifested in the real world wardrobe choices of attendees. Check out the Twitter links for pictures!