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:
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.
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 purposeful..as 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.
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.
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?
I was really impressed with Cisco Live London..for those of you who took the time to shake our hand and say hello…THANK YOU! You make us feel like geek rock stars! Good thing the doors are really big at these conferences so my inflated ego could still make it through. I mentioned our Fundamentals of Converged Wireless and Wireless Access yesterday…but there are a few more detailed videos surrounding this Unified Access Launch that were definitely worth mentioning.
First off -- Jimmy Ray gets with Muhammad Imam so that he can demonstrate the new controls for QoS on wired or wireless now.
We circle back with another friend, Sachin Gupta, to hear what kind of feedback we are getting back from both geeks and others who have actually already deployed the Catalyst 3850. The pricing is extremely attractive on this…no extra cost even though this is a HUGE revolution from the previous 3700 series.
Perhaps a bit overshadowed, but really should not be overlooked, are the changes we see within the 5760. As the first IOS based Wireless LAN Controller -- this new release has identical commands for configuration and management as you do with the 3850. Great example of the ONE Network we speak of now on such a regular basis.
Some of the best conversations happen in private exchanges and I often wish we could all benefit more broadly. This most recent conversation was instructive in and of itself but it also pointed out a level of transparency both Jimmy Ray and I prefer. So hopefully it goes to say -- we welcome your input! We certainly don’t get it right all the time!