Since I wasn’t able to find time in my schedule to write up a Day 2 post this morning, I’ve decided to condense both days into a single post. Please bear with me, Cisco Live is extremely immersive and finding time to do this usually means skipping out on something else.
Monday, July 11th – Day 2
Monday kicked off for me by taking a free certification exam, which is offered every year to Cisco Live attendees (full conference only). After failing my CCIE R&S v5 written last year, I decided I might as well take TSHOOT to re-certify my CCNP. Unfortunately, I managed to fail this exam as well. I didn’t bother reading that there had been some changes since I last took it in 2012, including that there were now multiple choice questions. To avoid any NDA issues, I’ll just say that you should make sure you know what is going to be on an exam before you take it. This even applies if you think you are able to pass with ease.
Anyhow, following this disastrous start to the day, I was able to attend the keynote in a VIP suite for Cisco Champions. It is always nice to meet new people, and this was no exception. This was Chuck Robbins first opening Keynote for Cisco Live after being handed the reigns last year by John Chambers. I felt like it had a different vibe, but John also had the advantage of speaking at these for 20+ years. Chuck did a great job and gave some great insight into the direction that Cisco will be taking in acquisitions and partnerships in the future.
My afternoon was comprised of attending BRKCCIE-3345: The CCIE Candidate’s Introduction to MPLS L3VPN Networks. This session was led by Keith Barker (@KeithBarkerCCIE) and Scott Morris (@ScottMorrisCCIE). They have been doing this session for several years, and their rapport is phenomenal. This is my favorite type of session, where I not only learn a lot, but I enjoy the presentation. These guys know their technology, and if you have the opportunity to either attend this session or view it online, it’s a great one if you are studying for your CCIE.
The evening wound down for me with a vendor event at the House of Blues. As I expected, it was wall to wall people, and the decibel level exceeded what I’m comfortable being around, so I exited post haste. I was then able to meet up with some of the other Cisco Champions for dinner. If you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Lauren Friedman (@lauren), make sure you do so while you’re here. She is one of the people in charge of the Cisco Champions group, and if you’re interested in finding out more about the program, look for her or anyone with a Cisco Champion ribbon on their badge.
Tuesday, July 12th – Day 3
Hoping to actually start the day off right, I made my way to the breakfast area to fuel up for another fun filled day of information overload. I know that people have complained about the meals at CLUS over the years, but I will definitely give the event staff credit this year for moving 28,000+ people through the lines with speed and ease. After a quick breakfast and time to load up on some needed caffeine, I sped off to my first session of the day: Multicast Troubleshooting.
A quick tip here: If you want to get the most out of a session, sit as far towards the front as you possibly can. You won’t be as distracted by things such as your phone or computer because if you’re anything like me, you’ll fear that you will be spotted and called out.
Anyway, I made it a point to sign up for this class because in my four previous Cisco Live’s, I had never taken a session with the legendary Denise Fishburne (@DeniseFishburne). My multicast is probably one of my weakest areas in my CCIE preparation, so I hoped that she would help to clear up some of my difficulties in understanding this technology. In a word, yes, she definitely did just that. Denise is my new favorite presenter, and I can see why she was inducted into the Cisco Live Speaker Hall of Fame this year. If you know anything about multicast, you know that it is not the easiest thing to understand. I can’t recommend this session enough, and so far I’m batting 1000 on great sessions at CLUS.
Following a quick lunch, as I had to skip today’s keynote due to other obligations, I headed off to my first lab of the week: Dr. Evil’s secret VIRL hands-on lab. This was essentially an opportunity to broaden my horizons when it comes to VIRL, which I’m using heavily in my CCIE lab preparations. Unfortunately, there were some issues with the lab due to the wrong VM being built for the students, but we were able to work through most of the technical issues and I was able to take away some new knowledge on how to make this great product work even better for me.
What more can I say. Honestly, if you’re still reading this blog up to this point, I’m happy you’ve stuck it through and made it to the end of one of my longest yet. I hope you will continue to follow my journey through the week, as some huge days are yet to come. (Customer Appreciation Event & Kevin Spacey). Please feel free to hit me up with any questions, comments, concerns, or just a hello at @net_introvert.