Cisco Live 2018 is arriving in Orlando a week from now, and the city is already abuzz with excitement.  More than 25,000 customers and partners converge to network and 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 Orlando is the place to have it all.


Like you, I am eagerly awaiting the keynote set for Monday, June 11, 10.30 AM EDT.  Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins will discuss how technology is changing everything we do, from how we run our businesses, to how we work, and innovate. With the explosion of connections, data, and exponential knowledge, IT professionals have a greater opportunity than ever to be the architects of the future for their organizations. Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins will discuss new innovation that is changing how we design and manage networks for those who want to transform to drive future success.

There are several other additional keynotes, from David Goeckler, Dr Michio Kaku, and Amy Webb futurist, author and founder of the Future today Institute. So prepare your agenda in advance to get a broad exposure.

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 focus on Tetration Analytics, Network Assurance Engine and Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) highlights. The logical place to start is with Cisco Exec Ishmael Limkakeng’s Innovation Talk on the topic “Delivering Intent for Data Center Networking” which is scheduled for June 13, 3:45 PM EDT.  From Ish’s session learn how to use insight to take action in your data center – on premises or in the cloud – with Cisco’s Intent-Based Networking for Data Center: Nexus Cloud Scale Switches, ACI, Tetration and Cisco Network Assurance Engine (CNAE). We also have Cisco Exec and VP, Enterprise product Marketing, DD Dasgupta speaking on topic “Solving the computing puzzle in a Multicloud world”, June 13, 10:30 am EDT.  Join DD’s session to learn more about the rapidly evolving requirements for computing on-prem and in the public cloud, in the core and at the edge, and in support of traditional and emerging workloads. And there are many more innovation sessions, so please browse the session catalog for details.


Let us now segue into ACI and the Tetration Analytics and CNAE Breakout sessions. Numerous sessions are dedicated to Tetration Analytics this year at the show. I’d recommend Tim Garner and Remi Phillippe’s session titled “DevNet Workshop – Tetration API ”as a must-attend. I also recommend Mike Herbert’s session BRKACI-2001, for a close peek at integrating and inter-operation of existing Nexus networks into ACI architecture.

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, ACI App Center.   There are also demo sessions featuring Tetration and ACI eco-system partner solutions. 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 on Intent based networking in the data center and explores the top strategies companies can factor into their planning as they meet business goals and compliance through a dramatically simplified and automated approach. Danny is an amazing story-teller, and in this session he’ll discuss how Cisco ACI, Tetration, and CNAE empower you to learn from, adapt, and protect your applications in a constantly evolving environment.

Other key business-focused PSO sessions to attend include Building Multi-Cloud Data Center Networks: ACI Innovations with Sultan Dawood, and  Accelerating Business Transformation by Simplifying Cloud Network Infrastructure delivered by Tony Antony.  Lastly, seasoned presenter Harry Petty is ready to engage you on a case study discussion session this year on topic “An ACI Case Study in Healthcare to Protect EMR Systems and Automate Operation: Session id CCSACI-2000”, Monday, June 10, 1.30 PM.

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, ACI, Tetration Analytics, CNAE, tech-partner ecosystem solutions, security etc. It will 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.   It’s your opportunity to explore the broader Cisco partner ecosystem, find answers to specific networking challenges, and hear unique perspectives from Cisco engineers and partners. Monday through Thursday, world of solutions remains open throughout the day.

Our ACI and Tetration Analytics, CNAE, ecosystem solutions and demo showcase focuses on typical customer care-abouts. The demos include ACI Anywhere, ACI Multi-site, ACI services manager integration, Tetration as a service among major ones.  Tetration is getting rave reviews with Partners and Customers and features prominently with demos on Automatic Policy Enforcement, Application segmentation and Ecosystem Partner solutions. There’s more, so please stop by our Cisco data center demo booths for a detailed engagement with one of our subject matter experts.

Also, this year we’ll be premiering an “Ask me anything” session, June 13, 2.30 PM EDT, featuring ACI/Tetration/CNAE at the campus theater in world of solutions. Cisco subject matter expert Tim Stack and myself will host this session. If you have some time, please plan to attend the Cisco DC and Campus Theater presentations – it 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 Citrix, F5, Splunk, ServiceNow, Tufin, AlgoSec et al.. There are several others you can choose from in the agenda planner.

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

Another highlight at the WOS is The DevNet Zone, Cisco’s software developer resource and community brought to you live. This is where we help developers and network engineers innovate using Cisco technologies and platforms. I am sure most of you developers will benefit from the Innovation talk, earlier on Wednesday, by Cisco VP&CTO, DevNet, Susie Wee, in her session titled “Connect to create”.

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.  Over past 6 months our Tetration ecosystem has grown to a significant 19+ partners and CNAE ecosystem to 10+ partners.

Let me start with our strategic ACI ecosystem partner Citrix. Our Citrix-Cisco joint solution excitement awaits you in booth #2107. Citrix theme “This is how the future works” aligns well with Cisco’s theme “Imagine-Intuitive” in all their theater sessions and booth demos. Check out the latest demo on cloud orchestrator mode of deploying ACI with NetScaler. The highlight includes Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins’s visit to Citrix booth, on June 12. Besides, Cisco’s Ahmed Dessouki and I will be presenting on ACI-NetScaler topic at the Citrix Mini Theater. It is truly action unlimited at the Citrix booth during the whole event.

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 #2506, in partner pavilion. Key activities include, two speaking sessions by Ashish Shah (Senior Director of products), and strategic demos of joint solutions with Cisco.

Here are the highlights:

Monday, June 11, 1.30 PM, Campus solutions theater: Completing your Digital Transformation with Smart Load Balancing, by Ashish Shah.

Monday, 4.35 PM, Investments village, ACI integrated load balancing and application services for an Intent-based L2-L7 Network” by Ashish Shah.

June 11 – 14: Daily demos featuring, Intent-based Application Services with ACI Integration, Cisco Tetration integration with Avi’s analytics-driven load balancing, and complementing APM from App Dynamics with App Insights from Avi.

NetBrain, a key technology partner of Cisco, has a prominent presence this year at Cisco Live. Check out our recently announced joint solution for details. NetBrain (booth #1951) is showcasing 5 cool demos this year and as well hosting round the clock, short presentations in their mini theater. NetBrain’s CEO Lingping Gao, is doing a Think tank session, June 12, at 1 PM, and in addition have distinguished speakers Grant Ho and Jason Baudreau presenting at the WoS.

Also, we have key ecosystem partners Splunk (#1438), Turbonomic (#1243), AlgoSec (#1675), BlueCat (#1919), Tufin(#1521), Avi Networks(#2506), SevOne (#1721) and many others showcasing Networking/Analytics joint solutions with Cisco at their respective booths. Please stop at the partner pavilion 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.  Universal studios Florida Theme Park  will be the setting for this spectacular celebration on Wednesday, June 13, 7:30 p.m. This year’s multi-stage artist lineup features a remarkable roster of seasoned and newly discovered talent.

With a diverse array of musical styles including country, rock, soul, and alternative it is sure to be an event you won’t want to miss.

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