Barcelona is Europe’s greatest city to visit in the winter.  It is also the time when the cultural calendar swings into action, and often hosts the best exhibitions of the year. For me, the special draw is Cisco Live Barcelona, where I get the  opportunity to meet, learn and collaborate with industry experts in Data Center Analytics and Networking.

A week from now, Cisco Live EMEA 2019 will be ready to sizzle at the Fira Barcelona Gran Via. From a Cisco Data Center standpoint, ACI and Tetration and CNAE technologies and DevNet continue to grab the headlines.

In particular, Cisco ACI has established itself as the dominant networking technology with more than 6,000+ customers and a growing eco-system of 65 partners in just two and a half years. In this blog, I am going to present excerpts of what attendees can broadly expect to see and experience at this buzzing event, and I will take you on a tour of how Cisco Data center is ready to engage and enrich you.


At the outset, I’d recommend that you attend all keynotes to understand Cisco’s strategy for emerging technology trends and market transitions. Keynotes and Innovation showcases provide insight and strategic direction from Cisco’s executives. David Goeckler – Cisco’s EVP and GM, Networking and Security business, kickstarts the event with his opening keynote on Jan 29, 9.00 a.m. local time.

Don’t miss keynote innovation talks occurring throughout the week. Cisco Live’s Innovation Showcases offer a look at the latest innovations from Cisco, and they provide the context and inspiration today’s IT professionals need to create the world of tomorrow. The Innovation Showcase format will include product and service innovations, along with customer case studies, to provide a dynamic exchange of ideas that sets the course for an informative and engaging week. For a ringside view of DC Networking and Analytics, I strongly recommend innovation sessions featuring Cisco Exec Roland Acra and DevNet CTO and SVP Susie Wee. This year we also have Innovation sessions featuring security, collaboration, and enterprise networking among hot topics. Make sure to check them out.

Now, I want to segue into Cisco ACI, NAE, Tetration and DevNet specifics.

Cisco Data Center has a big presence at this year’s Cisco Live DevNet Zone with 16 sessions, workshops and learning labs, featuring NX-OS, ACI, CNAE and Tetration. In addition, we have two cool demos featuring ACI and Kubernetes and ACI Multi-cloud networking with AWS.

Check the DevNet program guide for details on presenter details, timings and the session abstract. The top draw at the DevNet zone is the special ‘takeover session’ on Monday, Jan 28, 5:30 p.m. local time. Do not miss this session as you will get to hear Cisco SVP/GM Roland Acra talk in his intro speech about how our open API approach have helped customers deploy our Data center technologies across diverse use-cases and as a pre-integrated solution jointly with our technology ecosystem partners. The session also features an “Amazing Race” fun event where you get to crack tech puzzles and get a chance at winning a cool iPad. During the takeover session, you will hear our Business unit execs present latest innovations featuring ACI multi-cloud networking at the DevNet theater and a chance to network with our architects and technologists at the demo Pods. A full hour of giveaways and fun awaits you. Be sure to reserve this slot in your calendar for Monday.

The last year has been phenomenal from an ACI and Tetration eco-system momentum standpoint. F5, Citrix, AVI Networks, Turbonomic, ServiceNow, AlgoSec, Tufin and many others have developed joint solutions with ACI and Tetration, and we have accomplished several customer wins and success stories. The choice and flexibility to leverage full-fledged open APIs, and the ability to run data-processing apps on our ACI/Tetration platform has enabled a strong ecosystem of 65+ ACI partners and 19+ Tetration partners. These ecosystem partner integrated solutions cover a broad set of new use cases for our customers, and will be showcased in our World of Solutions and Partner Village locations. In ensuing sections, I will briefly cover the highlights.

AlgoSec, the leading provider of business-driven security policy management solutions, will be showcasing its integrated solution for Cisco ACI and Cisco Tetration as well as its long-standing support for Cisco firewalls and routers. Don’t miss this great opportunity to see how AlgoSec manages the end-to-end process of automating security across the entire Cisco estate including APIC controllers, IOS routers, FirePower Threat Defense NGFWs and ASA firewalls. Visit AlgoSec  booth #S11, to play the AlgoSec game and as well see live demos on above integrations.

Additionally, Ravi Balakrishnan – Senior Marketing Manager at Cisco, will be discussing on topic “The value that AlgoSec brings to mutual customers who use Cisco’s Data center solution: Cisco ACI and Tetration”, every day at the AlgoSec booth.

Together with Cisco, Tufin’s Network Security Policy Orchestration solutions make security manageable across heterogeneous and hybrid cloud networks. The integration of the Tufin Orchestration Suite with Cisco ASA, Cisco Firepower, Cisco ACI, and Cisco Tetration delivers greater visibility and increased business agility for even the most complex, multi-platform networks. Stop by Tufin booth  in the World of Solutions to see a private demo or join one of our in-booth presentations. The special draw includes “‘Firepower Migration Tools”,  1:15 p.m. on Thursday and Ravi Balakrishnan’s in-booth presentations on Cisco ACI/Tetration integrations with Tufin, every day.

One other important ACI ecosystem partner, NetBrain is showcasing their wares in the Partner Village, located in the World of Solutions. NetBrain will be conducting round-the-clock demos and presentations of their network automation platform.  They will show how it’s integrated offering with Cisco ACI helps simplify network management bring end-end visibility across hybrid environment, and helps automate repetitive tasks.

NetBrain’s Senior Director of Marketing – Jason Baudreau, and Ravi Balakrishnan – Cisco senior Marketing Manager will be jointly presenting “Achieving Agile Network Operations for Cisco ACI and Hybrid Infrastructures” in the Cisco Partner Theater on Jan 29, at 12:50 p.m.  In this session, Jason Baudreau and Ravi Balakrishnan will discuss how Cisco ACI is making data center networks more agile and how this agility is impacting NetOps teams. Jason will introduce how Dynamic Network Mapping and Adaptive Network Automation can help IT teams document and troubleshoot the network as they transition to an application-centric infrastructure. Jason is also delivering a separate Partner theater session on topic “What’s next for Network Automation” on Jan 30, in the Innovation showcase theater, at 11:00 a.m. This session will help you learn how large enterprises and service providers are increasing IT efficiency through adaptive network automation.

Demos and Theater Presentations at WOS

The World of Solutions is the energetic core of Cisco Live where you’ll have the chance to learn about the latest innovations from Cisco and our partners. Think of it as the place to be when you are not in a session. It is a lively pace with over 120 partners ready to engage you. The Cisco Campus to the Innovation zone to the Partner Theater and more – all under one roof! Join us for our Welcome Reception on Tuesday evening from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. We hope to see you there!

The 2019 Cisco showcase in the world of solutions (WOS) is a shift from past architecture-specific demos to present day Cisco products and solutions applicable in everyday life scenarios and end-end stories. Our goal is to help customers uncover Cisco solutions and solve some of today’s biggest technology challenges. Stop by our five major solution stops situated throughout the Cisco showcase. Each stop features multiple live demos and allows you to whiteboard your technical challenges. Check Cisco Showcase for specifics about each of the Solution Stops. Let’s take a sneak peek at some of the cool demos in Data Center solution stop.

For the first time at Cisco Live, we have “ACI Anywhere for AWS” that will provide the soup to nuts on ACI-AWS integration. As AppD gains traction in ACI deployments, customers see an increasing need to seamlessly troubleshoot networking and application issues with low mean time to innocence. We have live illustrations of these use-cases this year, so do not miss the opportunity to meet with our product experts. The list of Data Center demos is vast, and the best way for you to experience them all is to stop by at our demo booths in WOS.

Check out the true heartbeat of Cisco Live – the Network Operations Center (NOC) where you can see live and hands-on what it takes to deploy and manage and secure the Cisco Live network.

So, stop by the WOS to explore new technologies and get answers to your unique questions.

Breakout Sessions

“To your heart’s delight”, is how I’ll describe Cisco technical breakout sessions. Yes, we have more than 700 breakouts from industry recognized experts at the show. ACI and Tetration breakouts feature prominently, and the legends of the ACI domain including Mike Herbert, Carlos Pereira, Maurizio Portolani all are presenting stimulating day-long session (TECACI-2009) on Intent based Data Center. Visit the sessions catalog to choose from 70 plus ACI and 19 plus Tetration sessions. I recommend Cisco Marketing exec Danny McGinniss’s PSO breakout PSODCN-2999 that takes you on a journey of how IT teams use Intent based Networking to slash network downtime and performance issues. Also, on the agenda are Adam Ozkan’s PSO sessions, and the session titled “Cisco Tetration, holistic workload protection for multi-cloud data centers – PSODCN 2399” is top drawer stuff.

Cisco TME and Cloud networking expert Devarshi Shah is delivering several sessions and there is a double attraction with his DevNet Zone session “ACI Anywhere with Cloud APIC on AWS (DEVNET 2603)”, which both enlightens audience on ACI open APIs and integration with AWS cloud. And there are many more sessions and you can create your own agenda from the sessions catalog.

Social Networking

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. Tuesday’s welcome reception at the WOS, Thursday’s Customer appreciation event are the highlights.  Special guest performers for the evening are yet to be announced, so stay tuned!

I can go on and on, but I’d never be able to cover all of the excitement in store. There is so much more you can explore on your own, and our Meet and Greet ambassadors will be happy to assist you at the show. As for me, if time permits, I plan on acquainting myself with some of the legendary artworks in Barcelona’s myriad Museums.  Safe travels and a happy Cisco Live.

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Ravi Balakrishnan

Senior Product Marketing Manager

Datacenter Solutions