Cisco Live! — Living It Up At 25

Attendees enjoy customer appreciation night at the 25th annual Cisco Live! Alison Young photo

Attendees enjoy customer appreciation night at the 25th annual Cisco Live! Alison Young photo

I spent a week in San Francisco at Cisco Live! (held May 18-22) to witness the 25th anniversary of this annual conference of Cisco customers and developers from around the world.

This was my first time attending a Cisco Live!, and it was filled with keynotes, conference sessions and a strong theme of the Internet of Everything (IoE) and Security. Other than professional development and networking with my peers, I enjoyed experimenting in the labs, playing with an Oculus Rift and, of course, collecting the lightsabers, swords and T-shirts. Not to mention they went all out with a Lenny Kravitz and Imagine Dragons concert on the last night.

All fun aside, in keeping with the IoE theme, Cisco revealed the top 10 ways the public sector already is capturing significant value from the Internet, based on a study it conducted with Cicero Group. More than 40 leading public sector jurisdictions (in and out of the U.S.) were surveyed, and among the top 10 insights gathered, it was discovered that public-sector organizations are among the world’s leading IoE innovators. The other nine are a bit much to mention here, but let’s hope Hawaii will be in the innovator circle one day. Cisco will release leading real-world examples of IoE cases in the coming weeks.

On the Security front, Cisco announced an Advanced Malware Protection (AMP) and data center security offerings. This addresses customers’ needs to combat zero-day attacks and advanced persistent threats. The company also acquired Threat-GRID, which specializes in malware analysis and threat intelligence. ThreatGRID’s technology, with its dynamic analysis capabilities both on-premises and in the cloud, complements Cisco’s AMP and allows enhanced aggregation and correlation of data for advanced threat intelligence across the extended network, and across Cisco security solutions and services. Overall, this strengthens the company’s capability to provide cybersecurity.

Another big thing at Cisco Live! was the Application-Centric Infrastructure (ACI) technology, since it’s a foundational technology for the company’s future plans. Cisco is confident in this technology.

As CEO John Chambers noted in his keynote, there are 1,000 ACI customers in the pipeline. Additionally, there are 70 in the actual beta-testing stage, and the company scooped up a total of 33 industry partners to work with ACI.

ACI makes it possible for Cisco’s legacy networking switches and routers to interoperate and gradually migrate to existing data centers. The main strategy will be to link ACI to data centers based on the Nexus 2000 and Nexus 7000 lines. The Nexus 9000 switches also are coming into the ACI mix as the data center interconnect (DCI) gateway/router. Most importantly, Cisco claims ACI will be an open framework, with some parts available as open-source code.

The bottom line is this was exciting stuff (at least for me) and, at some point, all of us are touched by Cisco, whether it’s your phone (not mobile phone) or maybe using a public Wi-Fi somewhere. It was nice to see what it’s been up to.

If you’re curious about the show, or want to see some webcasts, visit