In a few days at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, we will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of Cisco Live. This year we are expecting record attendance exceeding 20,000 participants, 9 amazing keynotes, 600 sessions, live demos at world of solutions, big analyst and partner presence, and last but not least, the opportunity for you to meet and network with top minds in high-tech. If you are new to Cisco Live and feel overwhelmed by the grandness of the event, let me assure you that you are not alone.  I have been there before. I have set out in this blog to give you an easy walkabout of Cisco Datacenter highlights, particularly the Cisco ACI key activities over the duration of the event.

Much like you I will also be eagerly looking to attend John Chambers’ majestic keynote that starts the proceedings on Monday, May 19. John in his unique style will lead with the Theme “Tomorrow Starts Here” covering leading industry trends such as Internet of Everything (IOE), Fast IT, and Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) among many others. So, do not miss this opportunity. I want to shift gears and take you on a fast cruise of Cisco Data Center and Cisco ACI highlights at the event.


In less than a year since the announcement, Cisco ACI has taken the industry by storm with a large customer base  and several of the industry’s key partners such as Microsoft, Red Hat, Citrix, F5, et al endorsing and building joint solutions. There is so much excitement around ACI at this year’s Cisco Live. I want to give a structure to how I am planning to cover the topic in this blog. Essentially, I consider them as Cisco-led and Partner led.

Cisco has a packed agenda of ACI activities and announcements. Cisco APIC, which enables ACI Fabric mode on Nexus 9000 networks, will be available this summer along with a robust Go-To-Market (GTM) strategy that includes additional eco-system partners, Cisco Validated Designs (CVD), additional platform support and leading-edge hardware innovations across the portfolio. We are also introducing two new additions to the existing portfolio of Nexus 9000 to meet scalability, flexibility and performance requirements of standalone and ACI mode deployments.

Executive ACI speaking sessions feature prominently this year with Cisco President Rob Lloyd’s session “Infrastructure for the Agile Enterprise” keynote, May 20, 10 AM, at the North Hall.  Rob’s keynote also features Soni Jiandani, who will present how ACI delivers agility. Rob Soderbery and Soni Jiandani are presenting a technology trends keynote (GENSK 1109) on May 21, 8.30 am, titled “Fast Track to Fast IT: Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure”, another choice from a catalog of exciting offers.

From my own personal experience, I want to encourage you to attend the Breakout sessions on ACI by Product Managers and Engineers from the Insieme Business Unit.  We will have 8 breakout sessions in all that spread across the duration of the event. There is also a Live Webcast on May 21 at 2.30 PM by Srinivas Kotamraju and Ravi Balakrishnan on “Application Centric Infrastructure.”   Tune into this webcast if you are looking for insights on next generation Data Center and Cloud deployments.


The Cisco World of Solutions, Both 1129, Datacenter and Campus Section is teeming with state-of-art ACI Demos and theater presentations. We have four demos showcased below:

1. Application integration with ACI

2. Network Services for ACI

3. ACI Integration with multi-hypervisors

4. Nexus 9000 (high-performance switching)

Stop by our demo stations to engage our ACI product and marketing experts for a deeper understanding of the demo architecture.  Our experts will be happy to white-board any desired scenario for you to make your experience worthwhile. We also have three Datacenter mini-theater presentations on ACI, UCS and Nexus switching innovations. Many of you already may be familiar with Joe Onisick’s white-board videos.  Joe is a rock-star and has a theater presentation on May 22, 1.30PM on the topic ‘Understanding ACI.” I can tell you in advance, you are in for a treat. We also have a social media lounge where our customers and partners can post live tweets, blogs and videos narrating their on-premise experience, and thereby reaching a wide audience of more than 100,000 online attendees.

And the customer appreciation event this year is special and commemorates the 25 years of Cisco Live with two incredible music bands ready to delight you. Mark May 21, 7.30 – 11 PM on your calendars!


I want to segue to the last leg of my tour, and let us pick up action at the Partner side of ACI activities.

At the F5 Partner booth (#1313), you will see demos and speak with F5 experts on advanced capabilities in ACI environments for APIC. Mark your calendar to attend F5 expert Nathan Pearce’s session “Big IP integration with Cisco APIC” at the Cisco Theater on May 21, 1.45PM. If you are the techie type, we also have a Breakout session from F5’s Faraz Siddiqui on May 19, 9.30AM. The topic is “F5 and Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) Integration”

NetApp shares its thought leadership with a great presentation on “The changing world of IT” by Rob de Groot on May 20, 2.15 PM at the Cisco Theater. NetApp is also presenting at the Breakout session BRKPCS-2042 on May 20 on “Latest Innovations with ACI and Data Storage.”   There is also a customer case study discussion at 1 PM on May 20 featuring NetApp, Verizon and Terremark at the Broadcast studio (741) located in World of solutions. The case study covers “FlexPod Latest Innovation with ACI and Data Storage.”  There is also an industry keynote featuring Executives from Cisco, Intel, EMC and NetApp on “Internet of Everything Ecosystem” on May 21, 10 AM at the Moscone North. NetApp has exciting demos at their booth and remember to check out the demo “ACI and Software defined Storage”.

Splunk is showcasing its growing strategic partnership with Cisco with a slew of ACI activities. They are showing a live interactive demo of Cisco ACI for Splunk Enterprise with real-time & historic granular insights into health, performance etc. Besides, Splunk is having repeat presentations by Stela Udovicic at their Booth (#2011) on “Splunk for ACIduring May 20-22.  I recommend this highly.

Our key partner VCE is doing a video demo at their booth (#1121) illustrating how a Vblock System with Nexus 9000 and Cisco ACI helps deploy SAP BW HANA with the Vnomic Desired State controller. Besides, Ted Streete from VCE is presenting at the Cisco Theater on May 21 on “How the Cheetah Catches Dinner: The importance of Agility in a World Defined by Speed.”  Sounds so exciting, I am planning on attending this myself. There is also a presentation by Sandeep Agrawal on “Application Centric Converged Infrastructure”, at the VCE and Cisco Theater, that covers SAP deployment automation use-cases.

Embrane delivers the lifecycle management platform for virtual network services in ACI, and continues to expand their ecosystem of partners – Visit them at the Embrane booth (#2423) and see the integrated solution with Cisco APIC in action at the Cisco Data Center booth (#1129)

Citrix is showing exciting demos illustrating Citrix and Cisco APIC joint solutions at their Booth (1321). Come by the Citrix booth to hear presentations in the booth theater and see a demo of “Advanced ADC integration for ACI” based on the Citrix NetScaler device package for Cisco APIC controller. Citrix will also have a pod in the Cisco DevNet Zone in Moscone West, demonstrating NetScaler API integrations, and and will present in the DevNet Zone theater “Citrix in the Automated Datacenter:  Integrate All the APIs!” Learn More about Citrix participation in Cisco DevNet zone.In closing, I want to bring an exciting piece of news.  At Citrix Synergy last week, Anaheim, Cisco won the Citrix Best of Synergy awards for category Networking with the Citrix NetScaler 1000v solution. This is an example of Cisco’s commitment to continued innovations with our partner eco-system.


I hope you find my quick cisco live 2014 walkabout useful. There is a lot more at the event. You can find more details at our Cisco live external website and from our lobby ambassadors – they’re ever ready to help you navigate. In closing I want to leave with you with these important links. Have a great show.








Ravi Balakrishnan

Senior Product Marketing Manager

Datacenter Solutions