Cisco Live Europe 2019: My take from Barcelona

Cisco Live Europe 2019

Cisco Live Europe 2019 by Joacim Wicander, CCIE Datacenter (in English due to popular demand): This is the second time I get to go to Cisco Live in Barcelona, and I was full of expectation about the technical seminars and networking with old and new peers in the business.


Sunday tip – register onsite for Cisco Live Europe

On Sunday me and my colleague from Conscia Netsafe in Malmö traveled down to Cisco Live Europe Barcelona, starting by car around 06:40 in the morning.

Joacim Wicander

After arriving in Barcelona, we tried to register at the #CLEUR stand at the airport, but the queue was really long so we took a cab to Fira entrance north and registered onsite instead. now we were ready for the week to start.

Sunday night we had our first Conscia Dinner, at restaurant Azotea Quinto y la Quinta, almost all the Conscia team and customers were present.


Monday –serverless apps, DevOps and a great dinner

Monday my Cisco Live Europe-schedule was packed, I had two four-hour technical seminars called ”Creating Serverless Applications on Cisco Container Platform” and ”How to manage and build your ACI fabric DevOps style”. Two really good seminars.

After the technical seminar I had booked a Cisco Live Europe-test, 300-180 Troubleshooting Cisco Data Center Infrastructure. Sadly, I failed this test and have booked a new date.

The second seminar ran a little late so I almost missed our second Conscia Dinner. Thankfully a colleague waited for me and we had a good dinner at the restaurant El Principal del Eixample.


Tuesday – Intersight, showcase and a great dinner

Tuesday I had a full schedule again, it started at 09:30 (so I missed the keynote) with an instructor-led lab called ”Configuring and Troubleshooting of Cisco Intersight with UCS”, sadly the equipment in D-cloud that we were supposed to use had issues with connecting to Intersight so we never got to do the lab properly. This was through no fault of the instructors, they were good at providing a workaround.


Joacim Wicander Cisco Live

After I was finished with the lab I had a long lunch, so I visited the Cisco Showcase and the Hub during this time. In Cisco Showcase I had an excellent discussion about the new All NVMe HyperFlex nodes that were launched that day.

The Tuesday afternoon schedule was full of breakout sessions, the first one was called ”Deploying Kubernetes in the Enterprise with Cisco ACI”. this session ran a little late and I wanted to talk to the presenter so I missed my first DevNet session of the week. Next i hade booked a session called ”ACI vPOD, providing secure network policies for classical ethernet networks”.

Tuesday dinner I was actually in time for the group travel from the hotel, the restaurant where the dinner was held is called Restaurant Casa Carmen Garcia.


Wednesday – Hyperflex NVMe and a great dinner

On Wednesday I had a splendid day, with three Hyperflex sessions where I met two really cool, friendly and extremely knowledgeable Cisco Employees.

The first session on Wednesday was called ”The New HyperFlex all NVMe node innovations – moving beyond All Flash”. When I walked in and found me a seat in the first row I walked by a smartly dressed fellow with a cool hat on, I sneaked a peak of his badge and he had a really cool first name there, J.

We said hello to each other and J started to talk to the guy who was the presenter for the session. the session started and pretty early in the session the presenter said if we wanted to go deeper into how NVMe works we should go to the session by J on Friday called ”NVMe and NVME over fabrics Deep Dive”, and the presenter pointed at the cool guy sitting to my left, J. I told J that I would see him on Friday. After the session had ended I talked a few minutes with the presenter and J.

Session number two on Wednesday was called ”Lessons Learned: Troubleshooting HyperFlex from a TAC perspective”, when I entered the room I saw that the presenter was talking to J, so I went to the first row and started to sit down when i heard J saying ”Are you following me?” jokingly, and when I looked up I saw that he was talking to me, so me, J and Allen Clark (the presenter for the session) started talking a little before the session started.

Session number three on Wednesday was called ”Hyperflex Data Platform – Technical Deep dive”. When I walked in and took a seat in the front row i didn’t see J, I thought no more of it. The session was awesome and when it was over and I started to stand up I heard a familiar voice behind me saying (jokingly) “Are you stalking me?”, I stood up and turned around and found J standing two maybe three meters behind me, laughing.

We started talking about different things regarding HyperFlex and NVMe with the presenter and Allen Clark (the presenter from the troubleshooting session earlier) we had a really good talk where Allen told me and J that he had two new HyperFlex all NVMe nodes in his lab that he was going to stress test, he said he wanted to try and find the limit of the NVMe disks. J just shook his head and told us that he had done exactly these tests on a couple HyperFlex nodes in his lab and he couldn’t overload the disks, it was the CPUs that would give up first.

Joacim Wicander Cisco Live 2

On Wednesday I also had the pleasure of visiting our Conscia booth in the Partner Village which exhibited our Port Utilization & ACL Manager for DNA Center.

Wednesday’s dinner was a smaller affair, just us Swedes (from the Conscia Group) and our customers, not all as some went to see soccer. we added one person from a customer who hadn’t travelled with us to Cisco Live, he had been told on Friday afternoon that he was going to Cisco Live.

During that dinner me, one of my colleagues and the customer had a blast, it’s been a long time since I’ve laughed so many times in just a couple of hours, we had some serious discussions though.


Thursday – Micro Segmentation, Azure, Istio and motorcycle guys!

Thursday morning I was able to book a Meet the Engineer for me and a customer (thanks to Ylva and Håkan Palm at Cisco Sweden for making this happen) so we could discuss how to proceed with Cisco ACI in their datacenters.

The schedule for Thursday was packed as always, I started out attending a session called ”Practical Applications of Cisco ACI Micro Segmentation”. The next session I was supposed to attend was called ”Automating ACI” but I had to skip this session so that i could attend the ”Meet the engineer” meeting with our customer.

The meeting started with a guy called Javed, it turned out that he was the developer on Cisco Multi-site and the Multi-site Orchestrator (MSO) and he could answer our questions in less than 10 minutes. Then he asked us if we had any more questions, and we started to ask about Cloud APIC (especially for Azure), he invited three more guys and we moved to a meeting room. Once we settled in the room, we had an extremely good discussion about Cloud APIC in general and Cloud APIC for Azure. We ended up being kicked out of the room, because it was booked, so we wrapped up the discussions.

Both me and the customer were extremely satisfied with this meeting and I can say that the myth that Cisco Live Europe doesn’t have the ”good” engineers/developers is far from the truth. The four developers we had the meeting with were developing the Cloud APIC for AWS, AZURE and probably more. These guys were really good to have our discussion with (again thanks to Håkan Palm for making this happen).

The rest of the day (Thursday) I attended two DevNet sessions called ”Understanding Istio Service Mesh on Kubernetes” and ”Deploy and manage Microservice-based Applications across Multi-Cloud” and one breakout Session called ”Mastering Openstack and ACI”.


Joacim Wicander Cisco Live 3

On Thursday, Cisco Sweden; Håkan Nohre, Chung-Wai Lee and Christopher Svensson also arranged an excellent Hacking Lab which had it all: evil cats, gullible mice and scary revelations, finished off by some Kahoot.


After all these sessions on Thursday I went to the Hub and The Gateway to chill out and have a beer with my peers, I ended up in a massage chair. After the beers and massage in The Gateway lounge we went to the Customer Appreciation party and enjoyed an evening in the Circus Theme, some cool performers were entertaining us, for example the Motorcycle daredevils below.


We didn’t stay to late, we still had one more day of session to attend.


Friday – NVMe, Python and a happy return home

Friday I had three sessions booked, two breakout and one DevNet. The two breakout sessions being ”Inside Cisco IT: Evolution of Cisco IT Infrastructure with Cisco HyperFlex” and ”NVMe and NVMe over Fabrics Deep Dive” and the DevNet session was ”Coding 1002- Getting started with Python”

Jay Metz New

For the Session ”NVMe and NVMe over Fabrics Deep Dive” J was the presenter, and his presentation made me understand the complexity behind NVMe and NVMe over fabrics really well.

After this it was time to reluctantly leave Cisco Live Europe and go home.

In conclusion I can say that Cisco Live Europe was well worth the investment, both in time and money. I’ve learnt about new technologies and met new peers from both Cisco and colleagues in the business in Barcelona.

In case any of the technologies mentioned above may be of interest for you organisation, or if you wish to get updated regarding Cisco Datacenter solutions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Conscia Netsafe.

Are you perhaps a Swedish speaking Datacenter fan looking for more relevant reading? See my little piece on Cisco Intersight.

Would you like to read more about Cisco Live Europe 2019? See our Norwegian colleagues post Hola Barcelona (in local language).


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