Whew… I’m freshly back from Barcelona and Cisco Live Europe 2018. It was without a doubt my favorite and most rewarding, Cisco Live yet!  #CLEUR 2018 marked my one year as a part of the #DevNet team and as an event it provided an excellent bookend to an amazing year where we were able to put front and center all the amazing work we’ve done the last 12 months around network programmability, automation, and of course #NetDevOps.

DevNet Theatre at CLEUR
My captive audience for “How to be a Network Engineer in a Programmable Age”

DevNet Express: A pre Cisco Live Tradition

We started off the event early in typical DevNet and World Wide SE (WWSE) fashion with a #DevNetExpress for Data Center Infrastructure event running over the weekend.  We had over 70 people join us on Saturday and Sunday to spend their weekend fingers deep in Python, Ansible, PowerShell, and of course UCS, ACI and NX-OS Programmability.  I’m always impressed by the interest and excitement that our community brings to our events, but there is something special about getting warmed up for Cisco Live with two days straight of coding.

CLEUR DNE Group PIcture
Wonderful group of DevNet Express attendees who joined us before CLEUR

Classrooms, Workshops and Demos, Oh My!

You couldn’t turn around in the DevNet Zone without finding yourself presented with one of the many sessions presented by the best programmability experts at Cisco this year.  Whether it was Adam’s sessions on DNA Center programmability, Bryan providing hands on introductions to model driven programmability, or Francois showing how to make Ansible blast out network configurations everywhere I looked were standing room only audiences attentively absorbing all they could.

Full House at Network Sessions
All day, everyday you were sure to find full houses and standing room only at sessions on network programmability topics.

And new in Barcelona were three new network programmability demo booths where we were highlighting solution demos around streaming telemetry, application hosting, and NetDevOps across the Cisco network portfolio.  Teams lead by Cisco SE extraordinaries Kevin, Karthik, and Remington highlighted how the pieces from Cisco combine with Open Source solutions to provide value and what the future of network engineering and operations might look like.

Code, Code Everywhere
Kevin Corbin discusses the NetDevOps Demo with Cisco Executives

One of the highlights for the week was the new Black-Hat/White-Hat Security Challenge put together by my co-workers Matt Johnson and Krishan Veer.  In this challenge you had the chance to play the part of a nefarious hacker leveraging exploits into network infrastructure and security cameras to infiltrate the network and learn the secret code to the safe where all the business secrets were held.  Through DevNet Learning Labs, you had all the information needed on how to leverage these exploits to your advantage, but also learned how Cisco security technology could have prevented the attacks, were they have been deployed.

CLEUR Black Hat Challenge
Matt Johnson fills in TechWise TV’s Lauren about the Black Hat Challenge.

And DevNet is not just about Cisco technology, we’ve long had a history of providing sessions, labs, and Sandboxes on important developer topics that we think our audience is interested in.  This year two such topics were the return of Tom Davies and Vallard Benincosa helping shed some light on Blockchain and Crypto currencies with the launch of “DevNet Coin” and Dmitry Figol discussing Machine Learning and Python to a full house in a DevNet classroom.

Machine Learning Fills the House
Dmitry fills Classroom 1 at CLEUR talking about the importance of Machine Learning!

My Own Whirlwind Week

And speaking of session and content, I signed myself up for a full week of content covering topics including ACI Programmability, NetDevOps concepts like Vagrant for Network Engineers and CICD Pipelines, Micro Service Application Architecture, NETCONF/YANG, and of course one of my favorite presentations “How to Be a Network Engineer in a Programmable Age“.  I was overwhelmed with the amazing audiences that joined me all week for my sessions.

NetDevOps Workshop
I couldn’t believe the large audience that joined me at my workshops and sessions.

On a whim, I tried something new this year and headed off to the Cisco Live NOC where I grabbed two of the distinguished engineers who have been building and maintaining the networks for Cisco Live for years, Joe Clarke and Jason Davis.  I had a chance to ask them both a couple questions about how network automation and programmability is used in the network, and how important it is.  You can checkout the videos over on YouTube (Joe and Jason).

But one of the best parts of the week was getting a chance to talk one on one with so many network engineers about your own journey into network programmability.  I was honored every time someone stopped me after a session to talk about their own work and process, not to mention the number of folks that I talked with just hanging around DevNet Zone.  Whether is was the long-time network engineer who was trying to figure out how to get started with these new topics, or the brand new network engineers trying to figure out how to work programmability into their CCNA studies every one of those conversations and connection just showed me how important the work we are doing in DevNet is for our community.

Making Social Media Connections in Real LIfe
It was great chatting with folks in person that I was connected to in Social Media. Loved all the selfies I was asked to be in!

And I was more than a little humbled by all the kind words everyone had about how I’ve helped them through blogs, videos, Learning Labs and sessions that they’ve picked up by following me.  Thank you all for joining me on this journey, it’s far from over and we’ve so much planned for the remaining part of 2018.  Keep your eyes open, and your foot on the gas pedal!

If you were with me in Barcelona, let me know your favorite memories and highlights of the week in the comments or on Twitter.  And if you weren’t able to join, never fear.  We are working hard at bringing all the great content (or as much as possible) from Barcelona to the full DevNet Community with new learning labs, blogs, and webinars.  Stay tuned!  You’ll find a wealth of resources for you in the Networking Dev Center on DevNet.

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Hank Preston

Principal Engineer

Learning and Certifications