I am neither an AC Milan soccer fan nor a connoisseur of haute couture, so it will be no surprise if you wondered what I am doing in Europe’s fashion capital Milan, and that too in the middle of Milan’s wintry January.

Without further ado, I will break the suspense.  Yes, I am one of the few, chosen as Cisco Datacenter leads for the Cisco Live Milan event. You may be thinking I have the best job in Silicon Valley, as I hop from Melbourne to London to Milan to cover Cisco Live worldwide, over the years. You are right, I do have an enviable job, bringing together the best of cisco datacenter technologies that help customers achieve more value for their investment, and I also make sure to have some fun in the process. During this event, I will be bringing you real-time excerpts of the action in the show floor, via social media. In this blog, I want to provide all you Datacenter IT and Networking professionals, highlights of various activities we have on the menu.


If like me you are fortunate to attend, I am sure you are looking forward to attend the wall-wall keynotes on Jan 28, hosted by Cisco Executives Rob Lloyd and Rob Soderbery. Rob Lloyd will discuss how Cisco and the ecosystem of Cisco’s partners are uniquely positioned to connect the unconnected with an open standard and an integrated architecture from the cloud to end devices In addition,  you’ll have the opportunity to check out the latest innovations in Cisco ACI and Data Center Networking technologies. Let us pick up action at the Cisco Campus and Datacenter area in the World of Solutions.


Cisco ACI demos are at the center of all action in Datacenter switching. .These demos in particular highlight the growing significance of Cisco as a datacenter infrastructure provider. With the successful introduction of Cisco ACI and its seamless integration with Cisco UCS, FlexPod, vBlock, UCS Director etc, we are able to demonstrate why infrastructure matters and its relevance to applications. I strongly encourage you to check out the Cisco ACI-Open Stack demo that highlights the provisioning and orchestration of a multi-tenant cloud environment and virtual applications through Open Stack, as well as showing integration of Open Stack on top of the Cisco APIC interface. Many of you have been eagerly awaiting the integration of L4-L7 services from Citrix, F5 with Cisco APIC, and we have put together a demo that illustrates the set-up and insertion of multiple network services into an application network, and the routing of traffic to the required services and the virtual workload. Other ACI demos include those that showcase Cisco Nexus 9000 platform programmability and Cisco ACI integration with Hyper-v, but in the interest of time, I will let you discover the exciting details of these demos at your convenience. Besides ACI, we have Unified Fabric based demos focusing on Nexus 7k and Dynamic Fabric Automation, VXLAN integration with Nexus switching platforms etc, to illustrate the comprehensive portfolio of switching products from Cisco. You will not be disappointed at the demo floor as the best and brightest engineers from Cisco business units will be available to engage you in technical conversations.

The Cisco Datacenter mini theater at the World of solutions, is a busy place with tightly scheduled presentations that run round the clock. Illustrious speakers have been scheduled to enlighten valuable customers like you.


Do not miss the following theater presentations:

Cloud as a Strategic enabler for IT, Jan 28, by Enrico Fuiano, Cloud Marketing

Application centric infrastructure, Jan 28, by Mike Herbert

Datacenter switching innovations, Jan 29, by Berna Devrim, Senior Marketing Manager

Big Data, Jan 30,  by Raghu Nambiar, Distinguished TME, Cisco systems

The Cisco powered cloud day program on Jan 27 (11.15 AM – 12 noon) features Soni Jiandani, who will present “Datacenter Transformation through Application Centric Infrastructure”. This session will help you understand how to dynamically align virtual and physical infrastructure to application needs. There are several other illustrious speakers on the Cloud day program, and refer to the above website for details. Soni Jiandani and David Yen’s Datacenter architecture session is another major draw at the event. The session runs from 12.00– 1.30 PM on Jan28. The session will unveil Cisco’s Unified Datacenter technologies among others and I would definitely mark this one up in my calendar as a must-attend.


Also, check out cisco’s premium Partner pavilion and Partner booths at the WOS, where EMC, NetApp, Nimble, VCE, Citrix   et al have setup demos and presentations to showcase integrated solutions with Cisco Datacenter products and technologies such as UCS, ACI etc., The Partner hosted demos is further endorsement to Cisco’s commitment to an open ecosystem and standards and open API based Datacenter strategy. VCE, NetApp, EMC , Citrix are all planning exciting presentations at the Partner theater, centering on joint solutions with Cisco ACI.

There are also case studies sessions, where Cisco and customers share best practices, lessons learned etc, so, do not miss the opportunity to learn from your industry peers. For hands-on technical experience nothing beats a Lab session. You can book in advance instructor led 45 minute Lab slots. These Labs come with mentors who will help answer your questions and provide guidance. Labs are available in multiple technology areas including hot topics like ACI and UCS. Besides, we have “Meet the Engineer” sessions that allow you to connect with the people who design and develop Cisco solutions through bookable and ad-hoc face-to-face meetings, so you can get their perspective on the best approach to your unique challenges.  We also have Technical Clinics in the world of solutions, where you can conduct whiteboard discussions with cisco experts on datacenter switching, UCS or any topic of your interest, on all days of the event. Lunch time Table topics offer an informal opportunity for you to network with Cisco experts. Table topics can center on breakout sessions to any trending topic. There are also Panel sessions that you can avail to hear experts discuss on big picture topics. As you can see, the set of activities you can engage with at Cisco Live Milan is quite vast and an early planning and scheduling can help you enjoy the event fully.

Anyway, I am out of time if I am going to get this blog posted for it to be of any use. I am re-capping the main activities I elaborated earlier:


GenKey-1, Welcome keynote, Rob Lloyd, Cisco President, Jan 28, 9.30 AM

Enterprise Networks session, Rob SoderBery, Jan 28, 11.15 AM

Genkey-5, Datacenter Architecture Session, David Yen and Soni Jiandani Jan 28, 12 Noon

ACI Breakout Sessions

Application centric infrastructure, by Tom Edsall, Jan 29, 2.30 PM

Network programmability and automation using Nexus 9000, by Paul Lesiak, Jan 30, 2.30 PM

Migration from classical Design to Insieme Fabric, Kannan Ponnuswamy, Jan 30, 2.30 PM

Application centric infrastructure, Srinivas Kotamraju.Jan 27, 3 PM

Policy Driven Data Center, Daylong Cisco ACI technical seminar, Jan 27, 9 AM – 6.30 PM, By Carlos Pereira, Mike Herbert, et al

Introduction to Cisco ACI, by Mike Herbert, Jan 28, 2.15 PM

Policy driven Datacenter Design, Joe Onisick, Jan 28, 4.45 PM

End-to-End Application centric Data center, by Carlos Pereira, Jan 29, 9 AM – 11 AM

Datacenter mobility and VXLAN design best practices, Bradley Wong, Jan 29, 11.30 AM

Cisco Nexus 9000 Architecture, Rene Raeber, Jan 29, 9 AM

Application centric infrastructure Panel, Tom Edsall, Brad Wong, Mike Herbert, Jan 30, 11.30 AM

For the full list of Datacenter breakout sessions, you can refer to  http://www.ciscolive.com/emea/attendees/wos/campus/data-center/

Datacenter: Demos and Theater Presentations, World of Solutions, Campus and Data center location

Demos: SAP automation with vnomic, L4-L7 services automation with ACI, Nexus 9000 programmability and automation, Nexus 9000 high-performance switching, ACI and Open Stack, ACI integration with Hyper-v

Theater Presentations: Application centric infrastructure by Mike Herbert,

Cisco Datacenter has a prominent social media presence, and check out Cisco’s Datacenter blogs, and other social media outlets, for insightful details on relevant ACI topics at: http://blogs.cisco.com/datacenter

So much to do so little time……have a great show and let me know if you come across any Datacenter Switching thread I did not cover here. I wish you a happy Cisco Live Milan 2014, and hope to meet you at the World of Solutions. You can also view a live video stream from the conference floor, by logging on to www.CiscoLive.com/Online. Enjoy the event. On a personal closing note, if time permits I want to connect with some of Milan’s traditions. I plan to see the famous painting of the Last Supper at the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie, which rightfully is termed a world heritage site.

Auf Wiedersehen


Ravi Balakrishnan

Senior Product Marketing Manager

Datacenter Solutions