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.
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.
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 https://learninglabs.cisco.com. 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 https://devnetcreate.io/2017/pages/meraki/meraki.html
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 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.
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!