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Networking at DevNet Create 2017

Wow, what a week it has been for Cisco and especially for DevNet! Last week on May 23rd and 24th something magical happened. A lot of people were caught by surprise, but Cisco organized its first-ever conference catering to its developer community. As we ramp down a very successful event, it is worth having a look at where Cisco’s developer program started, where it is currently, and where it is going.

The Vision

Let’s start with the beginning. Rising like a phoenix from the ashes of CDN, Cisco Developer Network, and based on Rick Tywoniak’s vision for a new developer community, a small DevNet team took on the gargantuan task of planning, organizing and executing the impossible. 3 years ago on the dot, the DevNet team took part in its first major event, Cisco Live US 2014. Back in May 2014 the team was nervously stepping into unknown territory. Nobody could predict if the event would be a success or a failure. Fast forward 3 years for DevNet Create and just like then you could feel the nervousness and the excitement in the air. In both cases the events turned out to be hugely successful.


After that first Cisco Live in San Francisco’s Moscone Center it was apparent to everybody that more was needed. The community was and still is thirsty for knowledge. Since then, the DevNet Zone at Cisco Live events around the world kept growing both in physical size as well as number of attendees. Within these 3 years the community has grown tremendously with events around the world, hackathons, DevNet Express and support from the Cisco SE organization. We’re currently at around 500,000 users as part of our community and look at welcoming a lot more in the near future.

The Growth

So this year, we’ve decided to have our own conference. Just three years after that first DevNet Zone. The community is mature enough that we can have a completely separate event! Everyone was invited but the focus was on IoT, Cloud and DevOps application developers. As Cisco transitions more and more into a software company through acquisitions like AppDynamics, and by exposing comprehensive APIs, this developer community will be critical to Cisco’s success.


This is great but after all this is an enterprise networking blog. What do application developers have to do with enterprise networking? As an embattled network engineer, I was wondering myself what this conference has to offer me, the networking geek. Will I be able to find something that will “spark” my interest? It turns out there were a lot of sessions that I’ve found useful. Starting with Susie Wee’s keynote on the first day in which she mentioned how the lines between applications and a programmable infrastructure are becoming blurred, continuing with Todd Nightingale, Cisco Meraki’s GM/SVP that confirmed Meraki’s commitment to building relevant APIs, and ending with Anthony Shaw from Dimension Data on why you should not run in a datacenter as well as how you can integrate Cisco Spark in your networks as part of a monitoring solution. Personally, I’ve learned a lot of new things.

The sessions covering Cisco technologies were few and far in between. This was on purpose. The majority of the sessions on the agenda were not Cisco but industry related. So I’ve also brushed up on my containers, Kubernetes, micro services and API design best practices during the conference.

While I find the presentation sessions at these conferences useful I like much more to get hands on with the technology if possible. I found that I am not the only one that feels like that because the hands on learning labs and mini-hacks area was completely full for the most part of the two days. For the learning labs we’ve had at the event a subset of the labs that are available at The mini-hacks were fun challenges around Cisco Meraki, Cisco Spark, Cisco Jasper, AppDynamics, FastLane, CitySDK and Census API in which the attendees had to find a solution by hacking and combining features exposed by different technologies. There were also workshops in which the presenters demoed a specific use case and attendees could follow along on their personal computers.


Let’s not forget the Meraki challenge in which conference attendees that completed 2 Meraki mini-hacks on site or 3 self-paced learning labs are getting free Meraki hardware. A lot of access points are on the line so make sure you join in and complete the challenges to get your own at

There were several major announcements made during the conference:

  • Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) Technical Oversight Committee (TOC) voted to accept CNI (Container Networking Interface) as the 10th hosted project,
  • Cisco Spark SDKs for iOS and JavaScript and Cisco Spark Widgets for messaging and calling were released,
  • Cisco Meraki announced the investment of a million dollars worth of hardware, sample code and licensing that is available for Meraki developers for free, to name just a few.
  • The Department of Commerce introduced their Opportunity project leveraging the Open Data platform and their plans to create public solutions around it.

The Celebration

All in all it has been an amazing event and I want to thank all the DevNet Create participants for joining us at Bespoke in San Francisco for Cisco’s first developer conference ever! Big thank you to our contributing partners!


Last but definitely not least, thank you to the amazing DevNet team that has done the impossible and with very strict deadlines managed to organize and execute on Cisco’s first developer conference.

We’ve come a long way in DevNet, we’ve learned a lot, we’ve changed a lot and we adapted based on our community’s feedback. And we will do the same in the future. Look out for ever more events, more learning labs and workshops, more social responsibility projects, a bigger online presence and more Cisco SDKs and APIs. 3 years from now the Moscone Center will not be big enough to fit us all, but until then see you all at the next DevNet Create event!


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  1. I definitely left DevNet Create looking forward to the next one. There are a few things to fix, as is to be expected for a 1.0 release, but the event was beyond my expectations. Far beyond.
    I think a three day event, perhaps with a cooperative hack-a-thon as a complement would make it even better. It’s easier said than done, but I believe the community could be called upon to help provide the scaffolding.
    I’m sure other ideas are out there, and I bet the DevNet team is already looking into them, to get the ball rolling for the next one.
    Congratulations and thanks to the DevNet Team!

  2. “3 years from now the Moscone Center will not be big enough to fit us all”, I’m sure that is going to be true, but I really enjoyed the smaller more intimate scenario for this first event. I attended some great discussions on Chat bots, and got some great insight on developing APIs. Until next year, DevNet Create!

    • I completely agree, Chloe! People are talking about #DevNetCreate getting big… real big. This inaugural event will remain special. Let’s find ways to keep the vibe personal, maybe with special birds of a feather sessions within the conference.

  3. This is an excellent summary of the conference, thank you! As a Collab guy, it’s amazing to see Cisco’s strategy of branching out into IoT and Fog Computing at the Edge. Especially how important the partner developers are in getting us ALL there together. Cisco isn’t just pushing a proprietary solution or interface.

    You’re totally right, DevNet Create will become more important each year as we move down this road. It was a very rewarding experience attending this year. Hope to do it again!

  4. I liked your blog post. I really think DevNetCreate is going to keep growing. More and more developers are going to see the commitment from Cisco to the community.

    I am eager to see what solutions or ideas come out of this vibrant community and what exciting new sessions will be in the next DevNetCreate

    • Thanks for the comment Jose. I’m also curious about what Altus will come up with next. No pressure, but when do you think you will open a branch in the US? Don’t make us wait 3 more years for it please.

  5. Looks like Cisco DevNet Create was a smashing success. Good to see Cisco executing on the program. Should create some long term value for customers and partners!

    • Zeus,

      I’m a long time fan of your blogs on so having you read my blog and comment on it is an immense honor! Thanks for your feedback and hopefully we’ll see you on the next DevNet Create! Or Cisco Live, whichever happens first 🙂

  6. I was my privilege to represent World Wide Technology as speaker at the inaugural DevNet Create. At WWT we have integrated solutions which incorporate Cisco technology and other industry leaders. We run our Advanced Technology Center with a Layer-1 Matrix switch solution that leverages APIs between software and hardware, providing both CAPEX and OPEX savings. Our professional services solution architects and deployment engineers are not only trained on ACI but also network programmability to reduce the time to deploy fabrics in customer networks. I encourage all our consulting system engineers to complete the Meraki Network Associate training, and using the Meraki gear, learn how to interface using the device provisioning APIs. The API is the new CLI. DevNet Create was a great event and we look forward to it coming to the east coast to help our Federal customers do more with less- automating the infrastructure is an enabler for that initiative.

  7. Excellent write-up Adrian! I’m so bummed I wasn’t able to join you and the rest of the team at the first Create, but I KNOW I’ll be at the 2nd one 🙂

    • Hank, you were definitely missed but if we can work on a network programmability workshop for the next DevNet Create we can look it over. 😉

  8. Awesome evolution and great conference. Speaking of non-Cisco presenters – it was great to catch up with Ben from Howdy (Botkit!) and the team from PubNub as well. I can’t wait to see what next year will bring!

  9. It felt as if I was there, even though I wasn’t! I couldn’t get there but was following the action online. So good to see a vendor-organised conference not going on about their products, but educating and informing the attendees about things that matter to them in the industry. A refreshing change!

  10. I was not able to attend in person, but thankfully the webcast of the whole event was here to save the day! The DEVNET team delivered such a great conference, with awesome keynote, speakers, labs. The passion that DEVNET has injected into this is amazing, as network engineer going ‘DEVOPS’ and learning to code, this has opened my eyes to the possible of my success so much.

  11. I came to the event excited about the opportunities presented to us the network engineers. I had everything planned: a long list of sessions I was very interested to attend and a couple of mini-hacks to challenge myself.

    Well, it did not go as planned.
    I found myself in a “Uber Developer Platform” ride, learning how to “Add Voice and Video Calling to my App in 3 Lines of Code” while going toward “The Opportunity Project”.

    Fascinating two days ride, just too short.

    Thank you!

  12. I was thrilled to be a speaker at this, the first of I am sure MANY DevNet Create conferences. For me, the best sign of a good conference is that you are frustrated because there are more sessions than you can attend! And in two jam-packed days, I was always frustrated because there was always more to see and do than I had time for.

    Very much looking forward to the next conference, and of course to the DevNet Zone at Cisco Live!

    • Christopher,

      Thanks for taking part in DevNet Create as a speaker. I thought your workshop on integrating Cisco Spark with Splunk was as relevant as it gets. Being able to share critical information within a team ASAP can make the difference between keeping everything running and going through a complete meltdown. Hope to see you on the next DevNet Create with new workshops and sessions!

  13. And what an awesome event it was! I had the opportunity to check this out, and loved it. I’m not a developer, however, being able to see what other people are creating and doing, sparked an interest. I thought the community at this event was awesome, friendly, and had an amazing passion! I hope this conference continues growing and I can’t wait until next year!

  14. DevNet, Thank you for creating this special event aimed at developers! It was a great opportunity to learn about some of the new innovations for developers coming from Cisco and partner organizations!

  15. #DevNetCreate was a groundbreaking event for Cisco and the industry. You guys and the community have been very successful in building DevNet and now DevNetCreate. Building developer programs is everyone’s holy grail right now. There are people in companies: “We got to build a developer program.” “Throw some money at it.” They might have some lip service from the CEO or full commitment. What is the key to success….answer: to get the companies and to actually conceive, to build, and deploy a successful developer program for a company.

    I have to say that building the developer program is not as easy as you would think. I would think it should be easy, like get out there, go find some web service that’s running free developer community stuff.

    • John,

      You are absolutely right. It is not easy at all building a community, especially one around developers. The competition is fierce, the expectations are very high and the room for mistakes is very limited. The quality of the offering has to be extremely high to keep people involved.

      Thank you for providing feedback, this is how we get better.

  16. Wow just wow this was such an amazing couple of days. Such a great crowd and awesome energy. I learned so many new and interesting things. I can’t wait for the next one.

  17. I had the opportunity to attend to this first Devnet Create, and the experience was fantastic. It was an space of learning and networking where we had the possibility to see what the industry is doing around iot/devops/programability and how Cisco and other companies fit in that space, how the applications meet the infrastructure. Mini hacks spaces where we learn how to integrate Meraki splash pages with the new Spark widget was cool, and how messaging tools like Spark can help to solve issues like incident response management …those are examples of the things we saw and learn in Devnet Create…without doubt, the possibility to have APIs in the infra can help the organizations to acelerate their digitization process and events like Devnet Create are spaces where we can learn how can we do it. Congratulations to the Devnet Team.