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Funny Thing Happened on the Way Past the Casino

Interop was made more fun for us this year since we got to be on stage. Most of what we usually do is on camera of course…but presenting in front of people is the best.

Since we started TechWiseTV 7 years ago, we have tried to always get better at our on-camera skills. This has involved diligent effort not just improving our own skills but also how we can make it easier for others to shine with us. In other words, hosting.

It was Cisco’s Enterprise Networking team that asked if we would like to host a few stage spots during this years Interop show. Heck yeah we said. Mainly because it was a chance to ‘work an audience.’ You can certainly work a camera but what sucks is that the camera really never gives anything back.

Even the dullest audience will provide at least one nodding head or small smile. That alone can fuel an entire presentation. So we mixed it up this time. We had our A-Team for the camera crew so we were able to divide and conquer.

All of our stage appearances were quite free-form, but they did have a structure even if it was not apparent to those present. It was built around work pioneered by Marlowe Fenne. Marlowe is actually a day one veteran with TechWiseTV who has continued on his own path building bridges between customer problems and Cisco solutions. He had put together what I called a ‘MOC NOC’ for Interop. Customers were able to see first hand how their top challenges (as determined by multiple focus groups) were mapped to Cisco technologies and solutions. Easier than it sounds, let me assure you. Marlowe is such a good presenter, we were able to leave our crew with him while we did our song and dance on stage..then all Jimmy Ray and I had to do was record an intro and a close.

Challenges in the NOC: Wired and Wireless


Four ‘success factors’ were gleaned from these focus groups:

  1. Maintain or enhance user satisfaction
  2. Bring in projects on time and on budget
  3. Maintain or enhance security/compliance
  4. Create new business

The technologies highlighted for getting this done across both the areas of BYOD/Unified Access and Cloud included Cisco PRIME, ISE , AVC , ISR-AX Catalyst 3850 ( Fundamentals of Converged Wired and Wireless and more.

Don’t miss Bridging the App Gap where I will interview multiple Cisco customers and even Cisco itself. Fully understand all the Application Experience has to offer.

Funny Story

Our first day of presenting overlapped just a bit as Jimmy Ray was previously committed to one of his popular TechWiseTV workshops that he had to give from his Mandalay Bay hotel room. He did his usual pre-presentation technology checks to make sure all was working well. This was even more important this go-round as the hotel wireless was so bad it felt in…why are you on the Internet? Get down to the casino! Who knows. Well try as he might, he could not get a consistent connection wired or wireless in the hotel room.

Backup plan A was a higher powered wirelesss card that he tried to use and acces wireless from the adjacent Luxor hotel…but that was not holding steady either. So fallback plan B involved something I would never have guessed: An acoustic coupler. Fancy (but accurate) term for a modem.

If you don’t know what this is, go ask your parents…this is how we all used to get on the network. (I hesitate to say Internet). Plan B goes into action at a blazing 28.8 baud and another workshop goes off without a hitch..the audience was never even aware. Anyone else out there hosting Webex on a modem? I didn’t think so.

Thanks for watching!


Twitter: @TechWiseTV, @robbboyd

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New Multi-Layer Switching on TechWiseTV

As we prepared for this show working with the Cisco MDS (which I think stands for Multi-Layer Director Storage Switches), I thought it was fun that Nitin Garg, our top of show guest, was also our guest from a segment shot back in London. Nitin was foreshadowing upcoming announcments that he subsequrently revealed in today’s show.

Nitin Garg with Jimmy Ray Purser at Cisco Live London

Beyond the people you see on screen, this show was largely made possible by the hard work of Gabe Dixon. Gabe has worked with us on multiple topics over the years.
Gabe Dixon
Frankly, I don’t think he ages.

Watch the full show below…

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BizTech Production Notes – Virtualized Workspaces

This BizTech video is a first in a new series where I am hoping to find a middle ground that is certainly more business oriented than TechWiseTV but not so distant and high level that we can’t be specific.

Storywise – these can be a challenge. Coming up with good visuals in a story like this is more difficult I think because you need both time and budget to cover these subjects well.

Before I share some of the production stuff I enjoy talkng about – let me set up the content…let you watch it, then read on if interested in the other stuff.

The subject for this one was cross-departmental with underlying technologies from both Cisco Collaboration and Borderless teams. Virtualized Workspaces , a very specific term to denote something beyond (but certainly including VDI) is covered with Laura and her guest Phil Serburne. Jaishree brought in Neil Anderson to talk strategy around mobility…an area of incredible impact these days. We also secured Kenneth Daniels from Samsung to talk about SAFE: Secure Architecture for Enterprise . We finish out with an intro level voice over for Cisco Remote Expert

Our first step here was using co-hosts Jaishree Subramania and Laura Powers. Both great Cisco managers in thier own areas (and frequent hosts for topics on TechWiseTV). But we also stretched with a few metaphors during the transitions.

Part of this becomes an excuse whenever I can to practice my weak skills in walking and talking to a camera…(not as easy as one would think), but also, again, just to try and keep the pacing up a bit. We were shooting the Samsung interview in Richardson, TX. We had to scramble and capture that interview at the Cisco campus since we did not have a room at Samsung reserved. No worries…we shot that inside one of our conference rooms (not easy to make look interesting…but Director Steve Ewertz did his normally creative touch and made it great). We then shot my standups outside the Samsung building to make it look like we had been there. This was all authorized..but its funny how quickly security always shows up. I could only flub my lines so many times with pressure increasting from the building security guys…we pressed on…but if you look closely, you can see we are about to get approached for the last time…


One other bit of ‘behind the scenes’ I think was interesting. This same shot, if you watch it in the video, was done on a slider. These are great little additions to your camera gear for video as they can give you that cinematic movement IF you set it up correctly. Good slider shots require foreground objects or you can’t see the move. Once again, Director Steve to the rescue…if you look at the beginning of that shot…


The cameras movement is only apparent due to that green leafy branch at the start. Reality is – Steve picked that up off the ground and held it in frame just so we could see some foreground motion and sell the shot. I love that stuff…it dawned on me that he could have kept the camera still and just pulled the branch over and we would have THOUGHT the camera was moving. So keep that in mind if you need a slider shot for you next video and you don’t have a slider!

Hope you enjoy this first BizTech. We are working on a few others that we will to bring to you soon.

Let me know what you think in the comments.


Robb Boyd

Reach out on Twitter: @robbboyd

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MDM and Cisco’s ISE?

Mobile Device Management or MDM is ideal for addressing many challenges inherent to our ‘Bring your own Device’ culture. MDM can help enforce policy for mobile devices but when you look closer, you begin to realize it does not solve everything. The challenge is when we ask our MDM technology to make policy decisions out of context.

Cisco’s Identity Services Engine (ISE) offers centralized policy and network intelligence as an MDM compliment for a complete security solution

This is where Cisco comes in with ISE or the Identity Services Engine. We did a Fundamentals of ISE awhile back that still serves as a great backdrop for getting your head around it. ISE is frequently lauded for its ability to provide a single repository for all the potentially complex rules and regulations we need on our network. The point right now however is ensuring we know where ISE begins/ends in reference to MDM. Neither can act completely alone and accomplish everything most customers are hoping for in a BYOD solution especially. But where do we begin and end?

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Spotlight on Cloud Connectors

Its interesting to note how much ‘cloud’ has crept into many of our personal lives already. Dropbox, iTunes, Amazon and many other services (plus so many apps) that are leveraging this kind of infrastructure and we often don’t think about it. Frankly, we don’t often care!

Making this work in our multi-location offices with business critical functions and security at stake is of course a different matter. Cisco has been doing some interesting work with something called ‘Cloud Connetors.’ The general idea is to make it really simple for the applications and the network to become more mutually aware of each other. How they can work better together.

We just released ‘Spotlight on Cloud Connectors.’ Watch and see how these things can simplify everything from centralized back up to identity and access management. We cover a numbe of differnt examples.

Spotlight on Cloud Connectors

For more in depth information: Cloud Connectors

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