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Wrapping up Cisco Live 2014

May 22, 2014 - 0 Comments

Wow! It’s been a big, big week. This was my first Cisco Live and it did not disappoint. With more than 25,000 attendees on site, I have never been involved in such a huge customer event. I am always excited to interact with our customers and partners, and there were so many folks to talk to at this event it was almost overwhelming! Still, we whittled it down to a few folks that can give you an idea of why they make the investment to attend Cisco Live. Take a look at this video to see what some of our partners had to say.

Again, what an event! Here’s a quick wrap up of the last two days of Cisco Live 2014.

Fast Track to Fast IT: Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure

Wednesday kicked off bright and early with Soni Jiandani, SVP Insieme Business Group leading the way to talk about application centric infrastructure (ACI), which is Cisco’s approach to software defined networking (SDN). ACI takes SDN a step further to provide an architectural framework to address multiple operational challenges.

Soni talked about being able to deploy enterprise applications in mere hours. She showed how you could manage and roll out enterprise applications that incorporate network and security policies in real time. According to her, with Cisco ACI, you can control across your entire enterprise infrastructure, which allows you to provision, deploy and troubleshoot easier.

Soni was joined on stage by Rob Soderbery, SVP/GM Enterprise Networking Group, and Scott Clark, VP of Cisco Services, to provide an overview of Cisco’s ACI strategy. They also brought customers up with them for some in depth, technical looks at deploying ACI today.

The Internet of Everything Ecosystem – Bringing IT and OT Together with the Internet of Things

Immediately following Soni’s presentation, we moved on to Internet of Everything (IoE) keynote on bringing IT and operational technology (OT) together with the Internet of Things (IoT). Mala Anand, SVP Cisco Services Platform Group was the host for this in depth look at the IoE ecosystem.

Mala focused on the fact that IoE is generating unprecedented opportunities where companies can develop new services, enhance productivity and efficiency, improve real-time decision-making, solve critical problems, and develop new and innovative user experiences.

She was also joined by Bill Schmarzo, CTO, Enterprise Information Management & Analytics, EMC; Doug Davis, Corporate Vice President and General Manager, Internet of Things Group (IOTG), Intel Corporation; and George Kurian, EVP, Product Operations, NetApp. The four of them walked through multiple scenarios made possible by IoT. They discussed topics such as:

  • Big data
  • Hybrid IT architectures
  • Distributed computing
  • Analytics
  • Security

Mala was particularly effective at explaining the IoE ecosystem and how it is being implemented and will be implemented in the future. Using real cases, such as managing the influx of huge amounts of data created by IoT, Mala was able to show how companies are already benefitting from the transitions going on right now.

A New Security Model for an IoE World

One of the predominant themes in all the presentations at Cisco Live has been Security, and Chris Young, SVP, Cisco Security Group took a good look at the current threats and approaches to security in a great keynote speech on Wednesday afternoon.

Cisco announced a stronger security solution earlier on Wednesday, and there was a lot of discussion about the new security solutions throughout the day. Chris, and his guest Bryan Palma, SVP, Security Services, touched on all of those points during their presentation.

Chris talked about technology changes driven by cloud, mobility, and IoE are accelerating creating significant opportunities. No one solution can solve every security problem, and that is why Cisco believes it’s time for a new security model. That model has to be threat-centric so your organization gains better visibility across the entire attack continuum: before, during and after an attack.

Bryan then spoke about managed and hosted capabilities and the managed threat defense offering. He mentioned that there a puzzle pieces that make a security solution successful:

  • Analytics
  • Intelligence
  • People
  • Technology

Cisco has all the pieces to that puzzle and it is putting all those pieces together into Managed Thread Defense in order to provide the best solution for customers and partners.

Shaping the Future of the Network with Enterprise Solutions Built on ACI

The final keynote for Wednesday saw Pankaj Patel, Exceutive VP and Chief Development Officer bring several guests onto the stage to speak about how mobility and private cloud are key drivers shaping the future of the enterprise network.

David Yen, SVP and General Manager, Data Center Group; Sujai Hajela, SVP of Product Management and Strategy for Cisco’s Enterprise Networking Group; Tom Edsall, CTO, Insieme Business Group; and Parvesh Sethi, SVP, Cisco Services were all on hand to talk about how technology convergence combats complexities in IT, while allowing for all new services and capabilities.

Reimagining Education

Finally, we wrapped things up on Thursday morning with guest speaker Salman Khan, Founder of The Khan Academy and author of The One World School House.

Sal is well known as the founder of the Khan Academy, a nonprofit that provides free, high-quality education to “anyone, anywhere” in the world. The Khan Academy offers more than 5,100 instructional videos on its YouTube channel, covering everything from basic arithmetic to college level science and economics.

Sal based his talk on his book The One World Schoolhouse, from which he provides a blueprint for how online technology can play an integral role in educating communities across the globe. In an engaging, and often humorous, speech, he talked about how Khan Academy got its start, from an idea to help his niece, to its current state as a non-profit offering a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere.

Sal gave examples of students around the world that have benefitted from Khan Academy and really reinforced the idea that none of it would be possible without the collaborative technology available to us all today. Sal is pushing for taking education and making it, like shelter and clean drinking water, a fundamental human right for the betterment of humans as a whole.

This was an inspiring presentation that really documents how much the reach of initiatives such as Khan Academy are increased by the technology and collaboration solutions that are expanding every day.

Heading Home

We are all finished here in San Francisco but I wanted to encourage you to watch the replays of all these events I recapped these past few days. I am heading home to the east coast and closing out this year’s conference season. Be sure to let me know what you think of our coverage of Cisco Live 2014.

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