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Cisco Live 2015, San Diego – A Week of non-stop technology showcase and excitement


Cisco Live US 2015, Cisco’s premier education and training destination for IT professionals worldwide, kicks off next week at San Diego. More than 25000 customers and partners converge to network and share their experiences, and potentially meet new peers onsite. This year is particularly special as John Chambers introduces new Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins on stage to co-host the keynote.


Like you, I am eagerly awaiting the keynote set for Monday June 8, 3 PM local time. John and Chuck will discuss emerging technology and business trends and their implications for Cisco, its customers, and its solutions. .

There are several other keynotes in addition, such as Industry keynote by Cisco Exec Karen walker, Guest keynote by Mike Rowe, Luminary keynote by Dr. Peter Diamandis, so prepare your agenda in advance to get a broad exposure.

For the remainder of this blog I will focus on Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) and the ACI highlights. The logical place to start is with Soni Jiandani’s Innovation Talk on topic “Fast Track to Fast IT: Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure” scheduled for June 10, 9 AM. Soni hosts Symantec CIO Sheila Jordan and both discuss how ACI helps deliver a simple, secure and smart solution that delivers on the promise of Fast IT.  Soni will also have new updates about the ACI ecosystem but we cannot give away the surprise here – you will have to attend her session to find out. Soni’s session always sets the tone for the rest of the ACI presence at the show.

Let me now segue into ACI Breakout sessions. ACI breakouts feature prominently among a large collection of 600 plus breakout sessions this year with several experts addressing hot topics in Operations, deployment, and eco-system. I will recommend a few breakouts that I consider relevant to current Data Center trends and ACI deployments. First and foremost, let me talk about Cisco Exec Shashi Kiran’s breakout session on Data Center and Cloud Strategy, slated for June 10, 10 AM. Shashi will provide excerpts of how with acceleration of digital business, CIOs and LOB owners map their DC and cloud strategy to deliver better business outcomes. Shashi is a phenomenal speaker and will cover such exciting topics as SDN, Big Data, IOE and how these come together to create a compelling architectural play. So, mark this as a must-attend session.

Many customers have expressed their interest in hearing how ACI helps operationally from application provisioning and trouble-shooting standpoint. Harry Petty, Director of Marketing, Cisco systems brings you exactly that perspective in his breakout session. Harry will give a detailed view of simplifying Day-0,1,2 operations in Application centric Data centers, and in particular focuses on how Cisco ACI addresses the challenges of service quality, secure and reliable application delivery, agility and simplified operations of cloud infrastructure. Harry’s session also covers policy based automation of tenant on-boarding, application containers, self-service catalogs, application monitoring and trouble-shooting among other things.  If you are unable to attend the breakout, Harry also is hosting a panel session on building Data Centers with ACI on June 9, featuring Cisco Subject matter experts Chad, Cesar and Eric and discuss their ACI deployment experiences across industry segments. I also would recommend Craig Huitema’s breakout that brings how businesses can be sped up simplifying Data Center with ACI and Nexus. Craig will discuss the Nexus portfolio and clarify how ACI simplifies these elements resulting in a faster, more flexible and responsive IT that better aligns with the business needs of today’s rapidly shifting environment.

Most of you by now will be raring to make a beeline to the world of solutions as it is where exhibitors and subject matter experts from various partners and customers of cisco throng to gather insights on what’s new and exciting.


This year, we are showcasing a big collection of solution demos spanning multiple architectures including Data Center, IOE, Security etc. It will take me several blogs to cover them all, so I will stick to ACI my focus area. Solutions from more than 250 cisco partners are on display in the world of solutions. Here’s your opportunity to explore the broader Cisco Partner eco-system, find answers to your specific networking challenges, and hear the unique perspective of cisco engineers and partners.

Our ACI solutions and demo showcase focuses on typical customer care-abouts. The demos include securing and scaling applications with ACI, Cloud orchestration with ACI, Role of policy in automation, Multi-Hypervisor Data center operations, actionable analytics and visibility with ACI among others. Please stop by our Cisco booth for a detailed engagement with one of our subject matter experts. If you happen to have some time, please do plan to have in your agenda the Theater presentations that run every 15 minutes. These short duration presentations give you an overview on key topics such as how ACI’s open API has enabled a broad L4-L& eco-system with Citrix, F5, A10, Radware, et al. The session titled “Broad L4-L7 eco-system with ACI”  runs on Tuesday 11.30 am, and I also recommend you attend the session titled “Security with ACI” on Wednesday 4.45 PM. These are very highly sought after topics in most of our customer engagements. There are several others you can choose form the agenda planner.

One of the key pillars that made Cisco ACI phenomenally successful is the Open and Secure eco-system of 35 plus leading partners that have built joint, integrated solutions with ACI. F5 is a leading ACI partner on the L4-L7 integration front.


In fact, I fondly recollect my last week’s experience at F5 Agility, Scotland, where there were numerous high touch activities from Panel sessions to breakouts and demos and customer interactions. The highlight was Cisco Exec Shashi Kiran joining F5 Exec Calvin Rowland and fellow Cisco Exec Patrick Schmidt in a panel session. For those of you not familiar with ACI, this panel session is a great opportunity to learn how Cisco and F5 are expanding their partnership, how their combined thought leadership is advancing the SDN landscape, and customer successes and momentum experienced by Cisco ACI, F5’s BIG IP & BIG IQ in the marketplace. Watch Panel Video.

F5 has exciting demos and videos featuring Cisco ACI- BIG F5 and BIG IQ. Please check them out. F5’s engineer Vincent Ng is doing a breakout on “Real world deployments with Cisco ACI and F5 LTM”, June 9, 4 PM. It is a fantastic session where Vincent will explain how customers moved the solution all the way from POC to Production detailing best practices along the way. Mark it in your agenda if you are looking for customer deployment experiences. Several F5 execs will be present as well in F5 booth, so you can understand the big picture and strategy behind how the two companies are evolving the SDN landscape. F5’s Vladimir is also speaking in the DevNet Zone on the topic of deploying applications with F5 iApps and Cisco ACI. Also, checkout the white-board Video featuring ACI working with BIG IQ and BIG IP in real-world deployment scenarios.

Cisco and F5 are hosting a live Q&A panel session focused on developers on June 16, 1 PM PST. This panel session titled “F5 Synthesis & Cisco ACI – Under the Hood: Ask the Experts” will be hosted by Cisco and F5 subject matter experts based on care-abouts of developers from Cisco DevNet and F5 DevCentral community. This is a live Q&A session — get your questions ready! If you’re interested, please head over to the F5 Event Registration site and register to reserve your space. You’ll also be able to pre-submit your questions for a chance to win a T-shirt from F5.



Citrix is another of Cisco’s key ACI eco-system partner and Citrix is lighting up the Partner section with booth demonstrations, speaking opportunities and social media outreach. We are thrilled to be continuing our Strategic Partnership momentum with Citrix after our successful sponsorship at their Synergy event a few weeks back in Orlando!  We demonstrated how we are delivering workspace mobility on a software defined network with a wide spectrum of innovative solutions for virtualization, mobility, networking and cloud services to enthusiastic attendees.  Along with packed attendance for our booth demos and presentations, we had multiple sessions and customer testimonials to underscore our ability to deliver multi-faceted solutions to our mutual customers.

At the Citrix booth, you can see demonstrations of Citrix thought leadership momentum with Cisco ACI (SDN) and Citrix software defined workplace, and elevated joint Citrix and Cisco solution leadership and momentum. Multiple Cisco breakouts on ACI will feature Citrix NetScaler integrated solution with ACI. Check breakouts TECACI-2009, BRKAPP-2032, BRKVIR-2044 for details. Dave Potter a Cisco Live regular attendee is presenting at the Cisco Theater and a breakout both on topic “Citrix and Cisco Alliance: Delivering the Best in Software Defined Networking and ACI Integration”. There are numerous demos planned in the Citrix booth centered around ACI-NetScaler and I strongly encourage you to take a detailed tour of these.

Be sure to visit Citrix at booth #2023 to discover the breadth and depth of our partnership with its best in class solutions across mobility, cloud, data center and software defined networking.

We also want you to have lots of fun amidst your busy schedule. Excited to see Aerosmith at Cisco Live? Get your free personalized and digitally autographed photo from the band. Cisco customers will be celebrated at our annual Customer Appreciation Event. Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres, will be the setting for this spectacular celebration on Wednesday, June 10, 7:30 p.m.



There are several other ACI partners of cisco showcasing their ACI centric solutions and I will exceed the guidelines for a blog if I were to describe each one of them. I hope you will enjoy the event and for those who are new, do not feel overwhelmed and I have been there. Our Cisco ambassadors will meet and greet you and make you feel at home. Do not hesitate to ask one of Cisco staff what you are looking for. Enjoy the show.

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Looking for Action? Cisco ACI at Citrix Synergy 2015 or Disney World – or Both

What attracts me to Orlando In the hot and humid month of May this year? There are numerous synergies from the Disney World to Orlando’s pristine nature that enhances my experience there. But the one I am really looking forward to this year is the Citrix Synergy 2015, a premiere event for Cisco Data Center Professionals and its Customers and Partners. After a hiatus of two years, I am happy to be back at this event, this time leading the Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) strategy and showcase how ACI integrates with Citrix’s NetScaler, a market leading Application Delivery Controller (ADC) solution.


The theme this year at the event centers around software-defined workplace and how it enables companies find new ways to work better. Cisco ACI aligns very well with this theme given that ACI is a market leading software defined networking (SDN) solution.


Citrix Synergy Event 2015 is particularly exciting to me as our joint Cisco ACI and Citrix NetScaler solution has picked considerable customer momentum since its introduction into market last year. Woolworth, DU and several other top customers have given testimonials recently on their positive experiences with ACI-NetScaler joint solution, and I look forward to hearing more of these at this event. In addition, the visionary keynotes, technology training, access to industry’s top thought leaders and the customizable agenda and experience makes Citrix Synergy a valuable investment of my time year after year.

Where should you start? There is no better place than Mark Templeton’s keynote, to start the Synergy expereince. Mark kick-starts the proceedings on May 12 by sharing his unique perspectives on how Citrix is leading the transition to the “software-defined workplace” where true mobility transformation occurs, giving businesses and people new ways to work. Mark will cover areas of innovation across the Citrix portfolio, including product and solution updates with strategic partners like Cisco in virtualization, mobility, networking, cloud and more. Be ready for a few sneak peeks and surprises.


After the keynote, the world of solutions beckons you with a  glittering collection of technology showcase from industry-leading vendors, and I want to welcome you to the Cisco booth #202 where it is action unlimited. This year we are offering solution demos and Mini-Theater presentations featuring Desktop virtualization, Networking and SDN, Mobility, and Cloud technologies to name the highlights.



Cisco ACI – Citrix NetScaler joint solution features prominently at the Cisco demo Pod and the Mini Theater this year. Stop by our booth and get a live demo from our experts, and learn how to automate deployment of NetScaler L4-L7 services using ACI policy framework.  In fact, we can give you a modular walkthrough of the solution whether your interest centers around the ACI Fabric or Cisco APIC policy controller or Citrix NetScaler. In addition, we can provide you quick overview presentations at our Mini theater that runs round the clock. There will be daily presentations on the ACI-NetScaler joint solutions and I hope the theater experience will complement the insights you gain via demos. We also have white-boards to dive deeper into cross-architectural discussions, should you decide to explore further. There is never a dull moment at our Cisco booth this year as Cisco UCS with Citrix desktop virtualization, DAAS and Mobility demos offer a rich treat of latest in technology innovations from Cisco and its Partners. The Cisco Mini Theater also feature NetApp, Nimble and Nvidia partner presentations as Cisco and Citrix truly bring the best-of-breed solutions for different market segments so customers can choose specifically based on their Data Center needs.

There are other exciting engagement opportunities for you to explore ACI-NetScaler solution at the event.  Check out Session SYN 212, “Update on NetScaler and Cisco Integration” on May 13, 11 AM at the Valencia Ballroom A.  Raj Gulani, a power packed Citrix dynamo, will deliver this session and many of your questions about SDN, Application demands on infrastructure will get answered. So, I’d recommend this as a must-attend.

And my good friend Mike Brennan from my UCS marketing days is presenting at the Cisco sponsored session on the topic “Architecting your next generation workspace with Cisco & Citrix”. If you can spare an hour the afternoon of May 13, I’d suggest you attend this session in room W135B. Mike brings unique perspectives from a design and deployment perspective and has authored several Cisco CVDs on UCS-Citrix desktop virtualization solutions.  If you somehow have to miss this timeslot, Mike is doing another breakout on May 14 with Rob Briggs at the Citrix sponsored session on the topic, “Architecting Innovation with Cisco and Citrix”. There are also hands-on Labs, Geek sessions, and Citrix Innovation awards for attendees to take advantage of to get a broad experience.


As I write this blog, I just learned that the Cisco APIC has been adjudged the “Best of Interop 2015” in the SDN category. It is very timely, and a fitting testimonial to compliment the rapid customer adoption of ACI.  Cisco ACI-Citrix NetScaler has gained significant market traction and several customers in process of deploying the joint solution.


The Cisco ACI-Citrix NetScaler solution is a key pillar of the Cisco-Citrix strategic relationship. In the past year, the joint solution has recorded several milestones in the form of customer proof-points, customer deployments and endorsements and Open standards initiatives such as NSH and Opflex at the IETF. Citrix NetScaler is committed to a robust roadmap in evolving the solution with ACI and stay tuned for more news from us at future events.

In closing I want to touch on the entertainment scene.  A customer appreciation event is scheduled for Wednesday May 13, at the Howl at the Moon Piano Bar and we look forward to seeing you there. The final night party on May 14, is another Citrix specialty as we all unwind, connect with friends, and experience an exclusive night for Synergy attendees only at Universal Studios Florida. I look forward to meeting you all in person next week.

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Cisco Live Milan 2015: Hi-Tech revisits City of Tradition and Fashion

When I first visited Milan last year in January, the occasion was Cisco Live and I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the Alpine city is known as much for its Hi-tech as it is for fashion and tradition. I am one of the lucky few in Cisco to be visiting this great city for a second year in row as Cisco Live Europe is all set to commence here next week. What is special this year? From a Cisco Data center standpoint ACI, Inter-Cloud, IOT and UCS continue to grab the headlines. Particularly, ACI has established itself as the dominant SDN technology with more than 1,000 plus N9K customers, 200 plus ACI customers and a growing eco-system of 34 partners in just one year. In this blog, I am going to present excerpts of what attendees can broadly expect to see and experience at the buzzing event, and I will take you on a tour of how ACI is ready to engage and enrich you.


At the outset, I’d recommend that you attend all keynotes to understand Cisco’s strategy for the emerging technology trends and market transitions. Cisco Execs Carlos Dominguez and Jeremy Bevan kick-start the proceedings with an opening keynote on Jan 27 as they review the amazing things we have achieved in building the internet over the last decade and look at what we must do to build an Internet fit for purpose for the next decade. Don’t miss several technology trends keynotes occurring on Jan27 and 28. Soni Jiandani’s session scheduled for Jan 28 on SDN/ACI topic is going to be a sell-out. Come and listen to Soni to understand how ACI enables business outcomes and IT automation through the creation of an agile infrastructure.

Now I want to segue to ACI specifics. The last year has been phenomenal from an ACI eco-system momentum standpoint. F5 and Citrix, leading ADC vendors, have developed joint solutions with ACI and we have experienced several customer wins and success stories. F5 is a platinum sponsor and has a big presence at Cisco Live Milan this year to delight the 8,000 plus attendees. At the world of solutions F5 has dedicated demo stations to showcase multiple Cisco ACI-F5 joint solutions (featuring both BIG IP and BIG IQ), and F5’s engineers will be happy to explain via whiteboard how these solutions are relevant to your needs. Vincent Ng from F5, an expert presenter, has a technical breakout session on Jan 27 featuring ACI-F5 joint solution. Vincent’s expertise spans hands-on demos alongside lucid architectural illustrations, so do not miss this session.

Citrix has been a regular platinum sponsor at Cisco Live events. This year at Cisco Live Milan, Citrix has a large booth presence in the partner area. The key activities at the booth include joint solution demos featuring UCS-XD/XA, ACI-NetScaler, Mobility and Cloud among other major ones. Besides, David Potter and Christian Hietzschold from Citrix are doing a presentation on topic, “Delivering the best in SDN and ACI integration solutions.” If you happen to be in the DevNet zone, you may want to check out Citrix’s short theater presentations to get a well-rounded view of our joint alliance.

A10 Networks and Radware both have a presence in the WOS, showcasing joint solutions with ACI, thereby providing further evidence for the fast growing ACI L4-L7 eco-system.

At the World of Solutions (WOS) this year, ACI and Cloud take center stage in the Data center category. There are 10 demos showcasing ACI innovations and 6 on the Data Center Networking front. We also have an “Ask the Expert- Solutions Design Center” where Cisco architects will help address your data center, cloud, ACI strategy and design questions to accelerate ROI and reduce TCO. The ACI demos cover broad customer interest areas such as Analytics/Telemetry/Visibility, popular Cloud Management Platforms such as Microsoft Azure and Open Stack, Support for Multi-Hypervisors, Secure Application deployment etc. Our ACI subject matter experts will be on site to give you a real-life demo and explain how these are relevant to your needs.


We also have Hands-on labs at the WOS that give you the opportunity to explore and evaluate a range of Cisco technologies, and our Meet the Engineer and Technical Solution Clinics give you access to the people who design Cisco’s solutions and give you the insight you need about your own environment and technical challenges. So stop by the WOS to explore new technologies and get answers to your unique questions.

In addition to the hands-on demos, we also have round the clock mini-presentations at the WOS Cisco Theater. This year we have three innovative ACI theater topics namely “Simplifying day-0, day-1, day-2 operations with ACI”, “Securing Applications with ACI” and “NX-OS Programmability and Automation”. The special draw at the WOS Theater is the topic of “Simplifying Operations with ACI”. This presentation will cover how application deployment can be accelerated and how easy it is to troubleshoot problems with ACI. To satisfy your broader interests we also have theater sessions on UCS, Cloud and Nexus switching portfolio. Check our WOS Theater roster in the agenda handout.

To your heart’s delight is how I’ll describe Cisco technical breakout sessions. Yes, we have more than 500 breakouts from industry recognized experts at the show. ACI breakouts feature prominently and ACI domain experts Carlos Pereira, Mike Cohen, Mike Herbert, Maurizio Portolani all co-present Jan 26 on topic ‘ACI-Policy Driven Data Center”. This session ranks at the top for me. If you are an Open Stack fan then you must look into the session “APIC Integration with Open Stack” presented by Sebastian Jeuk and Lijun Deng. Harry Petty is doing an ACI operations focused session PSODCT-2455. Data Center operators focused on tenant on-boarding, application monitoring and trouble-shooting will find this session very relevant, so mark this as a must-attend. There are many more breakouts and Lab sessions on ACI, and check out the session catalog for details. Another insightful breakout session PSODCT-1200 by Craig Huitema focuses on the Nexus switching portfolio and ACI and how together they enable a faster, responsive and flexible IT.

As a Cisco Live attendee you benefit from the opportunity to interact with your peers, Cisco staff and partner technical experts in both structured and informal settings. Our Welcome Reception and Customer Appreciation Event are the highlights of the week’s social calendar. Read more on the Social Events & Networking Onsite section. Our online communities on Facebook and Twitter provide year round access to like-minded individuals as well as valuable content, news and updates. We’d love it if you would join the conversation.

I can go on and on, but I’d never be able to cover all of the excitement in store. I’d leave some for you to explore on your own and our Meet and Greet ambassadors will be more than happy to assist you at the show. As for me, if time permits, I am planning on acquainting myself with some of the legendary artworks of MichelAngelo. Safe travels and a happy Cisco Live.

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Automated PBR and Route Health Injection with RISE

RISE is an innovative architecture that logically integrates an external service appliance such as Citrix NetScaler or the Cisco Prime NAM so that it appears & operates as a service module within the Nexus 7000 Series switches.
RISE integration with the Citrix NetScaler provides features like Route Health Injection (RHI) and Automated PBR (APBR) which allow easy configuration to redirect client and server traffic to the load balancer.
Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 11.47.15 AM


Automated Policy Based Routing (APBR)
Existing solutions to have server traffic return to the load balancer are Source NAT and PBR. Using Source NAT causes applications (server) to lose the visibility to client IP, burning IP address pool for Source NAT configuration and manual configuration. Policy Based Routing (PBR) requires complex initial configuration from the user (susceptible to human errors), configuration updates when a server is added or removed which can be cumbersome as the number of network devices and servers/VIPs grow.
  • Auto PBR eliminates the need for Source-NAT or manual PBR configuration in an one-arm mode design of load balancers
  • Preserves client IP visibility for applications/servers without the need for manual PBR
  • APBR feature allows the NetScaler to program policies on the N7K server-facing interfaces to redirect return traffic to the NetScaler appliance set up in one-arm mode
  • NetScaler passes information about real servers to N7K via the RISE channel and a policy is applied on the N7K interface through which the real server can be best reached
  • Since it is desirable to change the SRC IP to VIP for the return traffic, the APBR policies redirect traffic to the NetScaler IP without modifying the packet
  • The NS appliance will then direct the packet to the client by changing the source IP to VIP
Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 11.51.47 AM
Please reach out to for more information on RISE features.

RISE At A Glance white paper:

RISE announcement blog:

RISE Video at Interop:

Cisco RISE page:


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Enabling Data Center Services with RISE : Remote Integrated Services Engine

Data Centers are becoming increasingly smart, intelligent and elastic. With the advancement in cloud and virtualization technologies, customers demand dynamic workload management, efficient and optimal use of their resources. In addition the configuration and administration of Data Center solutions is complex and is going to become increasingly so.RISE

With these requirements and architectures in mind we have a industry first solution called Remote Integrated Service Engine (RISE).  RISE is a technology that simplifies provisioning, out of box management of service appliances like load balancers, firewalls, network analysis modules. It makes data center and campus networks dynamic, flexible, easy to configure and maintain.

RISE can dynamically provision network resources for any type of service appliance (physical and virtual form factors). External appliances can now operate as integrated service modules with Nexus Series of switches without burning a  slot in a switch . This technology provides robust application delivery capabilities that accelerate the application performance manifold.

RISE is supported on all Nexus Series switches with services like Citrix NetScaler MPX, VPX, SDX and Cisco Prime NAM with many more in the pipeline.

Advantages & Features

  1. Simplified Out-of-Box experience : reduces the administrator’s manual configuration steps from 30 to 8 steps !!
  2. Supported on Citrix NetScaler MPX, SDX, VPX, and Nexus 1KV with VPX
  3. Supported on Cisco Prime Network Analyzer Module
  4. Automatic Policy Based Routing – Eliminates need for SNAT or Manual PBR
  5. Direct and Indirect Attach mode integration
  6. Show module for RISE
  7. Attach module for RISE
  8. Auto Attach – Zero touch configuration of RISE
  9. Health Monitoring of appliance
  10. Appliance HA and VPC supported
  11.  Nexus 5K/6K support (EFT available)
  12. IPV6 support (EFT available)
  13. DCNM support
  14. Order of magnitude OPEX savings: reduction in configuration, and ease of deployment
  15. Order of magnitude CAPEX savings: Wiring, Power Rackspace and Cost savings

For more information, schedule an EFT or POC Contact us at


RISE press release on Wall Street Journal :
RISE At A Glance white paper:
RISE Video at Interop:
Cisco RISE page:
Gartner blog on RISE: “Cisco and Citrix RISE to the Occasion”:

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