With friendly locals, miles of amazing coastline, and plenty of things to do and see… San Diego is the perfect summer destination. Next week, a double treat awaits visitors. The San Diego convention center will wear a festive look as Cisco Live 2019, Cisco’s world-renowned annual customer and partner conference, rolls into town. More than 25,000 customers and partners converge to network, share their experiences, and potentially meet new peers onsite.  From technical education to future-focused thought leadership, 1:1 meetings with Cisco experts to connecting with Cisco partners, networking with your peers to having fun at the Customer Appreciation Event – Cisco Live 2019, San Diego is the place to have it all.

Opening Keynote

Like you, I am eagerly awaiting the keynote set for Monday, June 10, 10.30 AM PST.  Join Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins, and Engineering leaders David Goeckeler and Amy Chang as they share Cisco’s vision for the future and unveil new innovation that will transform our industry, your business, and our world.

There is also a technology keynote from Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins, and Senior Executives David Goeckler, and Maria Martinez, on how Cisco is redefining the boundaries of innovation to shape the future of digital experiences.

So, prepare your agenda in advance to get a broad exposure of the event.

Cisco Live offers a vast collection of technologies and innovations to its attendees, and I would not be able to do justice covering them all. For the remainder of this blog, I will exclusively focus on the Cisco Data Center Networking Business Unit (DCN BU) innovations namely: Cisco Tetration, Cisco Network Assurance Engine (NAE) and Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI). The logical place to start is with Cisco Exec Roland Acra’s Innovation Talk on the topic “Lifting the Limits – Data Center Straight Talk” which is scheduled for June 11, 3.00 PM PST.

From Roland’s session learn how Cisco tackles your hardest IT Ops challenges head-on and focus on the fact that there is nothing centered about data anymore. There are many more executive innovation sessions, so please browse the session catalog for details.


Let us now segue into Nexus 9000, ACI and NAE Breakout sessions. Numerous sessions are dedicated to Cisco ACI this year at the show. I’d recommend Srinivas Kotamraju’s DevNet  session titled “ACI Anywhere – DevNet-1216” on June 11, 10 AM PST, as a must-attend. This session is particularly special in that it is part of a larger “ACI Takeover session” within DevNet Zone that day and features several other attractions in parallel.  I am discussing the Takeover session in detail in later sections.  I also recommend Mike Herbert’s day-long ACI session TECACI-2009, for a close peek at latest innovations of ACI and its best practices.

Several ACI, Tetration, and CNAE breakouts feature prominently among a large collection of 1,000 plus breakout sessions this year with several experts addressing hot topics in container networking, operations, deployment, and ACI App Center. There are also several technical sessions featuring Tetration and ACI eco-system partner solutions. AVI Networks in particular, has a strong presence and its leaders Ashish Shah (session# SOLCLD-2017) and Sam Biggins (session# VILCLD-2003) are hosting breakouts on June 11 and 13 respectively.

I recommend a few PSO breakouts that I consider relevant to current Data Center trends. Daniel McGinnis, Senior Director, Data Center Marketing, is presenting a business session “PSODCN-1040” on how Data Centers are extending past the boundaries of on-premises hardware, into a landscape of digital infrastructure that is fast and always expanding. Danny is an amazing story-teller, and in this session you’ll learn how your team can simplify IT complexity by enabling your Data Center to go anywhere your data is.

Other key business-focused PSO sessions to attend include PSODCN- 2557 presented by Adam Ozkan, Neeraj Dhulekar, and Matthew Liddle on topic  “Building Hybrid Data Centers with Cisco Cloud ACI on AWS”.

DevNet Zone

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, NAE and Tetration. In addition, we have two cool demos featuring ACI and Nexus technologies. Check the DevNet program guide for details on presenter details, timings and the session abstract. The top draw in the DevNet zone this year is the special ‘ACI Takeover session” on Tuesday, June 11, 10 AM PST. Do not miss this session as you will get to hear Cisco Execs talk in their 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 ACI Takeover session also features a fun event where you get to crack tech puzzles and get a chance at winning a cool Bose headset. During the takeover session, you will hear our Business Unit execs present latest innovations featuring ACI Anywhere 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.

World of Solutions

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

This year, we are showcasing a big collection of solution demos spanning multiple architectures including UCS, HyperFlex, ACI, Tetration Analytics, NAE, tech-partner ecosystem solutions, security etc. It would take me several blogs to cover them all, so I will stick to my focus areas: ACI, Tetration, CNAE and ecosystem solution demos. Solutions from hundreds of Cisco technology partners are on display in the world of solutions.

Our ACI and Tetration Analytics, NAE, ecosystem solutions and demo showcase focuses on typical customer care-abouts. The demos include: Cloud ACI for AWS, ACI Multi-site, ACI App Center and L4-L7 services, ACI and Kubernetes, among major ones. There’s more, so please stop by our Cisco Data Center demo booths for a detailed engagement with one of our subject matter experts.

If you have some time, plan to attend the Cisco Data Center and Campus Theater presentations – they runs every 15 minutes. Many of these are condensed breakouts and cover customer top of mind topics.

These short duration presentations give you an overview on key topics such as how Tetration and ACI’s open API have enabled a broad L4-L7 eco-system with Avi Networks, F5, Splunk, ServiceNow, Tufin, and AlgoSec. There are several others you can choose from in the agenda planner.

I am personally leading several ACI/Tetration presentations in Partner Theaters (Avi Networks, NetBrain, AlgoSec, Tufin, NetBrain), Monday-Thursday. Check the respective Partner Theater lobby for timings and schedules.

Technology ecosystem Partner showcase

One of the key pillars that made Cisco ACI phenomenally successful is the Open and Secure eco-system of 65 plus leading partners that have built joint, integrated solutions with ACI.

Let me start with our strategic ACI ecosystem partner F5 (Booth #1323).  We recently announced a new, operations focused Service Center App featuring ACI-F5. The F5 booth runs round the clock demos featuring this App. Additional demos include, flow stitching with Tetration and F5 BIG-IP, Automation of Cisco and F5 devices with Ansible, among major ones. F5’s Payal Singh is presenting in Solutions Theater (WOS), June 12, 10.45 AM PST, on the ACI-F5 Service Center App. So, do stop by F5 Booth #1323 to catch all recent joint innovations.

Avi Networks, a rapidly emerging and formidable ADC vendor and has several successful customer deployments with Cisco ACI. This year at Cisco Live Avi Networks has a packed schedule at their Booth #635, in the partner pavilion. Key activities include, four speaking sessions, and strategic demos of joint solutions with Cisco.

AlgoSec, a longtime Cisco Partner has dual presence this year (booth #2736 in WOS) and a Pod in Security Village (#1529-b).  Besides demos featuring AlgoSec-ACI and AlgoSec-Tetration,  there are two state-of-art presentations on our joint solutions.

Title: AlgoSec and Cisco: Managing the evolved Data Center Network. June 12, Security Village Theater

Title: Tetration and AlgoSec Integration via Kafka, June 12, 11 AM, DevNet Zone

NetBrain, a key technology partner of Cisco, has a prominent presence this year at Cisco Live. (Booth #3238). Ongoing demos at the booth include Automation focused NetBrain-ACI demos, and thought leadership presentation by NetBrain CEO Lingping Gao at the Think Tank Theater, 12 PM PT.  Jason Baudreau, Director of Marketing, is co-presenting SOLDCN-2001 with Cisco Marketing Manager Ravi Balakrishnan and SOLACI-2000 sessions at the Solutions Theater. Mark these two sessions in your calendars.

Tufin, a key partner of Cisco in security management space, is showcasing latest innovations featuring Cisco ACI with Tufin security orchestration suite. (Booth # 2529)

We have other key ecosystem partners Splunk, Turbonomic, ServiceNow and many others showcasing Networking/Analytics joint solutions with Cisco at their respective booths. Please stop at the partner pavilion (in the WOS) to get a detailed tour.

More fun and entertainment

We also want you to have lots of fun amidst your busy schedule. Cisco customers will be in for a treat at the Customer Appreciation Event this year.  Good vibes, drinks, food, and live music! Each year Cisco Live takes a night to celebrate YOU!

This year is no exception. We’ve set out to create another unforgettable experience. On Wednesday, June 12, Cisco Live attendees will converge on Petco Park, in heart of the famous Gaslamp district in San Diego, for a one of a kind event.

Foo Fighters and Weezer will be there that night to delight you with their magical music.

I hope you enjoy the event, and paint the town red. And for those who are new, don’t feel overwhelmed as I have been there. Our Cisco ambassadors will meet and greet you, and make you feel at home. Do not hesitate to ask Cisco staff what you are looking for, and enjoy the show!


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Ravi Balakrishnan

Senior Product Marketing Manager

Datacenter Solutions