Top 5 Things About Cisco Live 2021

by John Mark Ivey
Cisco Live Skyline ATS

It’s no secret that I’m a long-time fan of Cisco Live! I got the opportunity to attend my first Cisco Live back in 2011 in Las Vegas. Countless IT conferences later, including some great ones such as AWS re:Invent, VMworld, Microsoft Ignite, and any number of IBM technology events, Cisco Live continues to hold the top spot in my collective business travels.

The Cisco Live organizers outdid themselves again this year even with the pared down digital event due to COVID-19. The three-day Cisco Live event which span the globe depending on your time zone was so awesome. It’s not just a time for Cisco to celebrate their accomplishments and make big tech announcements, Cisco Live has always been about learning which is why I’ve been such a fan over the years.

Not unlike other Cisco Live attendees, it’s not always easy to carve out time from work when you’re not on-site at an event like Cisco Live. What I was able to catch of the delivered content was professionally presented and informative. I’m also a pop culture addict so you know I tuned in for The Killers and Train performances. Overall it was a great event, but don’t take my word for it. Some of our bloggers also weighed in on what they thought the best of Cisco Live 2021 was below:

David Alicea is a Network Engineer with Griffith Foods. He has a master’s degree in Network and Communication Management, is a CCNP, and blogs at https://zerosandwon.blog/

“Cisco Live is over! Even though I would have loved an in-person Cisco Live, I had no complaints about the event. Everything worked out flawlessly. Cisco did a wonderful job with the sessions and special guests. Out of the two days, the two words that stood out to me were “Inclusion” and “Hybrid.” Inclusion is extremely important. The more we can welcome people to the table and give them opportunities, the faster we can come up with solutions that do not just work for one person but work for everyone. We can see that Cisco is leading in this area. As a customer it makes me happy to see this. Sometimes, that “table” we are working together at might not be in the same room. That table might be across the world somewhere. This is where “hybrid” comes in. Employees need the ability to continue to perform their job functions from anywhere. Cisco is providing those solutions across many different realms.”

Teneyia Wilson is Network Administrator for DXC Technology. She is a CCNP, CCNA, and holds CompTIA’s Network+ certification. She tweets at https://twitter.com/TeneyiaW

“I enjoyed Cisco Live again this year. It’s only my second time but I’m looking forward to more. The social engagement and entertainment were like being at a get-together with friends and my tech communities. Everyone was posting photos, videos, and messages throughout the entire event; it was nice seeing them enjoying themselves. Cheers to the Cisco Live social media team for keeping the conference fun by having contests. I know a lot of people fight to win that cape. My favorite part was using the Learning Maps to narrow down and focus in on the sessions that are relevant to my current certification studies and my daily tasks at work. The sessions were ordered in a specific path to help us get a complete understanding of the technologies and solutions. I appreciate the work that went into that. Can’t wait to see everyone in person next year!”

Evan Mintzer is an Information Security Engineer with Ashfield Engage and serves as a Cisco Champion and Cisco Live Customer Advisory Board member. He blogs regularly at http://www.itsecdef.com/

“My day job is in IT security so hearing how important security is to Cisco really resonated with me. Jeetu Patel (SVP & GM, Security and Collaboration at Cisco) spoke during both keynotes, which just illustrates this importance. Another big topic was Cisco’s SASE solution, which connects both users and sites together in a secure manner. There is that security again. I think it is great that Cisco can make all their products work together holistically. One of my favorite sessions was about leveraging endpoint security in an encrypted world. This session showed how different Cisco products (Duo, Umbrella, etc.) work together to secure the remote endpoint while connecting the end user to company data using a zero-trust model.”

“Of course, the parts of Cisco Live 2021 that I will remember the best will be the music. DJ Nick did an awesome job with a bunch of 2-minute dance breaks that had me tapping right along and the musical acts made it even better. My daughter showed up for The Killers playing “Mr. Brightside” and I really enjoyed the Pentatonix version of “Bohemian Rhapsody.” The virtual event has its upsides, but I am looking forward to when we can be back in person.”

Girard Kavelines is currently working toward achieving his CCNA, and then pursuing this CCNP. He blogs regularly at https://techhouse570.wordpress.com/ 

“It’s hard to believe another Cisco Live has come and gone! Every year we gather at an event this spectacular – it’s indescribable! Packed with technology, live performances from incredible artists, keynote addresses and so much more. Every year Cisco Live raises the bar in being the premier IT event, and this year was no different. Here are some of my favorite takeaways from this year’s event.”

“For me, the ground-breaking announcement that ThousandEyes would be deploying agents on every piece of Cisco Catalyst 9000 series hardware starting April 5 was huge. To say impactful would be an understatement. Incorporating ThousandEyes into Cisco’s portfolio was a no brainer, but now having real-time monitoring, visibility and so much more at your fingertips makes deployments even more efficient and maintaining down the line easier. What I loved as well is the capability to be utilized at any level of support – be it the helpdesk, system administrators, or engineers. One of the most common things network admins hear is “The network is down.” Before pinpointing the root cause of a network being down was like looking for a needle in a haystack. With this though, everyone at any level can troubleshoot faster, resolve client issues and monitor through their dashboard external applications, IP address & more. This was one of the most informative pieces I felt came from Cisco Live Day 1 but there was definitely more!”

“Cisco Live capped off Day 1 with my favorite session of the digital event – the Engineers Of The Future panel. They fired on all cylinders and put an entirely new meaning on the Turning It Up event theme. We’ve known for quite sometime that Network Automation will continue to change our entire IT landscape including how we work, what we do, and our individual roles. Everything has been forever shifted to automate more day to day tasks and deployments of network gear to say the least. But the entire panel not only gave us insight into where we are today but also where are headed. Just the assurance that these new tools and technologies aren’t here to replace us was priceless. They are here to help us and guide us into coming together in sharing knowledge, tips, and mentoring now more than ever to grow with our industry’s need to evolve.”

JMI: I can’t thank our bloggers enough for sharing their Cisco Live insights above. And here’s hoping we’ll be seeing each other at Cisco Live 2022. Fingers crossed.

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