The upcoming DevNet Zone at Cisco Live in San Diego will be the 5th anniversary of our first DevNet Zone at Cisco Live. The first was in San Francisco in 2014. We had just started up DevNet the preceding January and made a last minute decision to get into the Cisco Live game. It was a tough and steep learning curve, but 6 weeks later we went live with a resoundingly successful event.

Was it perfect? Nope, but we learned a lot. We knew we had to be relevant to the attendees, and to focus on our role in the bigger Cisco picture – our APIs and programmability. We are not a sales organization, so for events we consider ourselves more of an education space. The DevNet Zone was the hit of the event. John Chambers even changed his travel plans to come to the Zone for a second time.

I have personally been at every Cisco Live since that event. We are constantly looking at how to improve the experience and to increase attendance. Sure, we have giveaways, but our goal is to have attendees come to the DevNet Zone to learn and enjoy.

Cisco Live DevNet Zone Australia

Over the years we have had trainsets (introduced for the first time in San Diego in 2015), slot cars, Lego cities. But always with a goal of pulling people in and to show them new and interesting things.

DevNet Zone trains

So, what’s involved in making all this work?

The DevNet events team works all Cisco Lives (4), DevNet Create (our own external event) as well as “!mpact” (the Cisco internal sales conference). At any given time we will be working on multiple events simultaneously.  For example the Cisco Live US 2020 high level floor plan is already being worked as the larger Cisco Live team works on layout.

Cisco Live Latin America Cancun

Content selection

Content selection for the DevNet Zone starts about 9 months before go-live with a call for papers and existing sessions being opted-in for the next event. This is open for approximately 6 weeks. From that point we then begin selection. However, before we can even do that, we need to decide on a focus as well as understanding new product releases, some of which we only know as “something new”.

Finally, having what we need to start making decisions we start the selection process – this is a team effort by myself and the DevNet Developer Advocates who have a deeper understanding of the technologies and future roadmaps. This has to be at least 80% complete by 2 months before the event when the Cisco Live agenda goes live and people start choosing the sessions they want to attend.

Cisco Live Latin America Developer community

Floorplan and layout

About 3 months before the event we start to work seriously on floor plan, layout, networking, power, lighting, AV etc. Once again, a team effort.

Although we run our own network in the DevNet Zone (the only team in Cisco Live that does this), we are still fully layer 3 integrated with the core CL network. We deploy around 20 Catalyst 9ks on the floor with ASR(s), mobile datacenter etc. in the DevNet back office.

Please, do “NOC” it!

The event NOC (Network Operations Center) team does an incredible job in bringing up (and tearing down) an entire infrastructure in a week! If you have time, I suggest you go to their session and listen in – BRKGEN-1001.

We rely heavily on the NOC for internet access, event wireless, and security (they blocked 1.4 million malicious threats at Cisco Live 2018 in Orlando, Florida).  We have had Denial of Service attacks in the past, but since we have full integration with the core network we have run without any issues.

DevNet Zone NOC statsThese stats from CLUS 2018 in Florida give you an idea of
the network size and capacity requirements for the event.

Get ready for Cisco Live San Diego 2019

I am excited about Cisco Live in San Diego this year. I personally feel that it will be one of the biggest yet. We are located in Sails Pavilion. It is maybe one of my favorite locations for an event but also one of my worst. Basically, we are setting up shop in a tent. It is the most open, light and airy location we ever get.

DevNet Zone location at CLUS19

These all conspire to create major headaches for lighting, Audio/Video, cabling etc. But it just feels so open it’s worth it. PLEASE remember this when you rank our speakers, audio bleed and lighting will exist, it’s not their fault.

Cisco Live Europe DevNet content

Our focus is pretty exciting and relevant, as it’s something that has impacted me since the days when I was writing Procom and Expect scripts to push changes (yuk).
The size, complexity of networks today is unimaginable even 5 years ago. Enter Automation with all its new challenges and a plethora of new tools and acronyms many of which are bordering on cults. Stepping up to this culture (and yes, it is a culture) is daunting: where to start, what’s relevant for me, and what does all this mean? The only wrong answer is “ignore it”, it’s happening with or without us.

Cisco is a major player in this area and feel that we lead the industry in this area.
Therefore, at this event we are bringing a focus on automation. This will be evident across the board, from layout to content and demos, sessions on automation tools, Infrastructure as Code, CI/CD, etc.

To that end for San Diego we have:

  • 8 workshops
  • 3 classrooms
  • 1 theater
  • 16 demos

This equates to;

  • 99 Classroom sessions
  • 103 Workshop sessions (run twice)
  • Expert Panels
  • Presented by approximately 120 different speakers.


  1. Automation Journey — Network Modeling with VIRL. Deploy change with automation. Test and verify your changes. Monitor with streaming telemetry.
  2. Firepower and Meraki together — Build consistency into your security policies?
  3. Cisco Meraki — Build, Deploy, Engage
  4. New Webex APIs — embed Webex communications into your workflows
  5. IOS-XR Programmability — Build apps using IOS XR APIs
  6. ACI Programmability — Multicloud network automation with ACI
  7. Cisco DNA Center Platform — Day 0 Automation with Cisco DNA Center
  8. Wi-Fi Augmented Reality — Field Services Management – Cisco DNA Center API
  9. IoT Edge with GPU — Adding GPU intelligence to Cisco IoT
  10. Play>>Protect>>Defend! — IoT Edition
  11. Cisco VR/AR Experience — An Immersive Journey into the Network
  12. Design Thinking 
  13. DevNet Sandbox 

Check out the full schedule of sessions and workshops being offered in the DevNet Zone.


Meet the Developer DevNet CLUS

And check out some of the special featured activities, including:

  • Meet the Developer — Get mentored to get started with programming… Your journey to becoming a developer begins here!
  • Start Now classroom — Come check out the beginning 101 courses on GitHub, Python, Coding, Meraki, Cisco DNA Center, Cisco ACI and more… Save your spot to get hands-on with iOS, Swift and much more.
  • Sandbox Challenge — Play the DevNet Sandbox Tablet Teaser Challenge. If you get the fastest time of the day, a great prize will be yours!
  • Cisco Design Thinking — Experience the power of the end-to-end flow of Design Thinking.
    Get tips on running Design Thinking activities or workshop sessions with your team and customers.
  • DevNet Co-Creations — Discover the art of possible when you partner with the DevNet team to customize your innovation.
  • Innovative demos with Cisco DevNet partners.

Outside the DevNet Zone there has also been a new track created, BRKPRG (PRG for programmability). This is a new track that pulls from the NMS, Routing and DevNet breakouts. It has a total of 15 sessions, some are net new and some are pulled from Cisco Live Barcelona, a lot of these are standby only already so check them out NOW!

Welcome to DevNet

And if you’re unlucky enough to not be going to CLUS in San Diego … don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. You can get hands-on with much of our DevNet Zone content online at developer.cisco.com/ciscolive. And follow us live from the event @ciscodevnet.

Learn how you can get ready for the next phase of your DevNet experience, in person and online. Join our Cisco Live Chat Thursday May 23.

Welcome to Cisco Live!

Chuck Robbins DevNet Mike Mackay

Join DevNet: access the learning labs, docs, and sandboxes you need for network automationapplication development, and security.

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Mike Mackay

Manager, DevNet Technical Support

DevNet Developer Experience