Cisco Live 2019 – A Whirlwind of Networking Goodness

Cisco Live 2019 came and went in a whirlwind of fantastic meetups, excellent sessions, and genuinely nerdy networking conversations.

Cisco Live session content was top notch. Jasper Bongertz’s Wireshark talk blew the audience away with useful packet capture and troubleshooting tips, and Denise Fishburne’s Network Detective presentation captivated the audience with methodical troubleshooting processes and issue isolation techniques. Both sessions are a must watch for network engineers. Seriously, you will thank me (send coffee) and more importantly you should definitely thank them for giving so much to the community!

Tech Field Day captured a ton of great content this year as well.  I especially recommend this NetBeez presentation highlighting the exciting ways their monitoring solution is fighting the good fight by helping to prove it’s not the network. Their new integration with Cat9K switches is also covered and definitely worth checking out.

This year also featured the distribution of Amy’s Army of Angry Routers. Angry routers were given, angry routers were received, and a new site header came to be.

Cisco Live 2019 was also especially memorable in the recognition that this very blog received! As Cisco 2018 IT Blog Award winner for Most Entertaining, yours truly had her big screen moment! I couldn’t be more thankful for each of you who took the time to vote! Thanks for reading along, laughing along, and sharing along with my adventures, snark, and bits of wisdom. You all rock, and obviously have the best taste.


And finally, my favorite part of every Cisco Live wrap up, the photo gallery! So many long time friends, so many new friends.  The networking community is genuinely the best and you all make it that way.

Published 06/23/2019

Cisco Live 2018 – Geek Camp Returns

It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly a month since Cisco Live 2018! The amazing week at Geek Camp was filled with fantastic sessions, Tech Field Day goodness, and lots of great conversations with incredibly talented people.  Engineering Deathmatch had a great lineup, and even launched a new quiz show that was super fun to watch. I am eagerly waiting the posting of those videos. (hint, hint @samplefive).

Seeing long time friends, meeting new folks, and networking with the engineers in the trenches makes Cisco Live an extraordinary experience every year.  I am constantly impressed by a community of people willing to share, mentor, and embrace one another – figuratively and sometimes quite literally, in an effort to educate, help, and support one another in this incredible field. You all know who you are, and you all are phenomenal.


Cisco Live 2017, engineering awesomeness.

Spending a week with amazing engineers always ranks high on my list of reasons to attend Cisco Live every year.  The networking community and the behind the scenes work of the Cisco Live team make this event truly fantastic every year, and 2017 was a definitely a hit.

I especially enjoyed participating in Tech Field Day once again.  OpenGear presented Lighthouse 5 which focuses on automating setup and maintenance, leveraging new API goodness. OpenGear’s API aims to enhance scale of deployments, while streaming workflows.  I found it especially fun watching Slack be leveraged to enroll and communicate with the OpenGear device. Nerdy goodness I recommend checking out.

If you are looking for a monitoring solution, I highly recommend you check out this excellent PRTG demo by Benjamin Day of Paessler, who not only knows his stuff, but refuses to use even one Power Point slide for his Tech Field Day presentation.  The man is a genius. The PRTG notification enhancements, maps, and overall flexibility really stood out, definitely cool stuff. You won’t be sad you watched.

And in the final bit of Tech Field Day learning for me, NetApp’s presentation on their FlexPod SF solution took a room full of network engineers and captivated their attention on storage. I know it sounds hard to believe that network engineers could find a storage presentation fascinating, but Jeremiah Dooley managed to pull off this incredible feat, and I highly recommend checking out this session.  He covers all the important details of the FlexPod SF announcement, including the available architectures, in a way that makes network engineers forget that this is a solution focused on storing bits, and not just moving them.

The return of Engineering Deathmatch to Cisco Live featured several episodes with some of my fabulous (and lovingly voluntold for EDM) friends, who couldn’t be more amazing. I’m excited to check out the Engineering Deathmatch site as the episodes air over the coming weeks.

And lastly, my favorite annual tradition of Cisco Live wrap up blogging, the photo gallery of crazy, brilliant, hilarious engineers being remarkably phenomenal. I heart you all.

Published 07/04/2017

2016 Cisco Live, US – Geeks for life.

Putting together a wrap up post on Cisco Live US always makes me smile, and 2016 is no exception.  As many of you know, this CLUS marked 5 years since Tom and a small group of engineers first bonded over networking nerdiness and an addiction to 140 characters.

We’ve followed and helped each other through upgrades, outages, career changes, certifications, and a plethora of engineering challenges. We’ve commiserated with the suck that sometimes is our jobs, we’ve championed the hard-fought successes of our peers, and as a bonus, we’ve managed to provide an ever flowing stream of hilarious commentary along the way.

I’m thrilled to be part of a networking community that just keeps growing larger, and I’m continually impressed with the engineering talent this group represents.  I’m also pleased to have been part of Tech Field Day at CLUS as well, which continues to do an amazing job bringing great content and engineers together.

Just check out this awesomeness. Could there be anything better? No, no there could not.

Tom’s Corner – Cisco Live Twitter community 5 years later…

If you’re an annual attender of Cisco Live like I am, you might be noticing there’s some pretty cool stuff taking shape for 2016.

This year will be the 5th anniversary of Tom’s Corner – the first ad hoc gathering location for us geeky, twittering engineers*.

Hard to believe, but in 2011 we were just a smallish group of network nerds, some with quite a bit more hair in those days, and of course, the one random photo-bomber guy on the left. Still nobody knows who that guy was…

The Twitter Group 2011

The amazing amount of talent represented and the camaraderie of the network engineering community is what makes Cisco Live the place to be.

This year I’m also looking forward to witnessing some epic Engineering Deathmatch action. If you aren’t familiar with Engineering Deathmatch you gotta watch this video.  You won’t be disappointed.

And if that weren’t enough Cisco Live goodness, I gotta admit I’m pretty excited about hearing Keyser Söze, err Kevin Spacey, speak.

Other useful details for attendees:

  • The scheduler will be available on  April 26th for NetVets, May 3rd for the rest of us.
  • The band this year is Maroon 5, and the CAE is going to be at the shiny new T Mobile Arena
  • Newbies to Cisco Live can get a super cool mentor to help them figure the conference thing out, just sign up here
  • Tech Field Day will be at Cisco Live this year as well, look for fabulous content from them. If you’re interested in being a delegate for this or any event, apply here
  • Awesome blogs to watch for new Cisco Live content and to read past posts for excellent conference advice: @fryguy_pa, @scottm32768, @mrtugs@net_introvert, @networkingnerd, @someclown, @aconaway, @danieldibswe, @gingmarCisco Live Attendee Blogs
  • The annual twitter list is out, sign up here!

*Tom’s corner even had it’s own check in on Four Square. In case there was any doubt we were and still are total nerds…

Published 04/11/2016

Cisco Live 2015 – Community rocks.

FullSizeRender (22) The San Diego sun has set on another Cisco Live, closing out an amazing week of learning and community. As usual, Cisco Live 2015 was one jam-packed, over-before-you-know-it, week full of opportunities to learn and network with incredible peers.

Once again, I got to be part of Tech Field Day, attending presentations by both OpenGear and Netbrain.  I highly recommend checking out the videos for both, you won’t be disappointed. Netbrain even announced a DevOp version of their product, which allows you 10 free nodes. Super cool stuff, the demo will knock your geeky socks off.

And, of course, I got the hang with so many fabulous engineers, some I have come to know well over the years, and others were new shiny faces. Now I shall subject you to my camera roll, because awesome. Enjoy.

A Canadian and a Texan walk into a bar... @ghostinthenet @that1guy_15
A Canadian and a Texan walk into a bar… @ghostinthenet @that1guy_15
Oh, the priceless expressions of Canadian @Rob_Coote. It doesn't get any better. @sharpnetwork
Oh, the priceless expressions of Canadian @Rob_Coote. It doesn’t get any better. @sharpnetwork
The extremely intelligent, very kind @jamieljones, a total honor meeting her. She is an inspiration to anyone working to get their digits.
Wireless guys loving on wireless. @jsnyder81
Wireless guys loving on wireless. I find it’s better not to ask… @jsnyder81
Awwww, these guys... @tonhe @ciscovoicedude
Awwww, these guys… @tonhe @ciscovoicedude
The fabulous @pilotmike, oddly without his Blackberry. @denisefishburne
The fabulous @pilotmike, oddly without his Blackberry. @denisefishburne
FullSizeRender (15)
Anti-social social dining. @avalonhawk @scottm32768 @radzima
Because network engineers ARE superheros. @scottm32768
Because network engineers ARE superheros. @scottm32768
Behold @vcabbage, the self proclaimed pretty, pretty princess.
Behold @vcabbage, the self-proclaimed pretty, pretty princess.
Some look better in skirts than others, just saying... @kathleenmudge @wifijanitor @subnetwork @ucgod @fryguy_pa @lauren @denisefishburne
Some look better in skirts than others, just saying… @kathleenmudge @wifijanitor @subnetwork @ucgod @fryguy_pa @lauren @denisefishburne
Yeah, what can I say about this? ;) @grinthock @Rob_Coote
Yeah, what can I even say about this? @grinthock @Rob_Coote
The incredibly smart, incredibly witty @drjmetz.
The incredibly smart, incredibly witty @drjmetz.
The expressions are priceless. @kathleenmudge @lauren @ucgod @wifijanitor
The expressions here are priceless. @kathleenmudge @lauren @ucgod @wifijanitor
Usually it's his backside people are posting... @networkingnerd
Usually it’s his backside people are posting… @networkingnerd
These two crack me up. @scottmorrisCCIE @denisefishburne
These two crack me up. @scottmorrisCCIE @denisefishburne
I love that @samplefive is just having a normal conversation in the background. @wifijanitor @fryguy_pa
I love that @samplefive is just having a normal conversation in the background. @wifijanitor @fryguy_pa
Social media gurus @kathleenmudge @lauren
Sweet and amazing social media gurus. Thanks for all you do. @kathleenmudge @lauren
These two are fabulous. But don't tell them I said so... @fryguy_pa @subnetwork
These two are fabulous. But don’t tell them I said so… @fryguy_pa @subnetwork
Kilts.  There were kilts. (Why??!!) @subnetwork
Kilts. There were kilts. (Why??!!) @subnetwork
It's importance to have balance in your networking career.  @denisefishburne @nmarus
It’s important to have balance in your networking career. @denisefishburne @nmarus
FINALLY this guy decided to join us for a Cisco Live. About time... @JTIE_6EE7
FINALLY this guy decided to join us for a Cisco Live. About time… @JTIE_6EE7
Because UC engineers rule.  @mlundbom1 @ucgood
Because UC engineers rule. @mlundbom1 @ucgood
The awesome ginger princess @jay25f with the fantastic @denisefishburne.
The awesome ginger princess @jay25f with the fantastic @denisefishburne.
Awwww...thanks @drjmetz for this pic. @networkingnerd
Awwww…thanks @drjmetz for this pic. @networkingnerd
The @ucpappy trying to collaborate on some new fangled device. @ucgod
The @ucpappy trying to collaborate on some new fangled device. @ucgod
The caffeinated side of the social media hub.  @fryguy_pa @bbaize @wifijanitor
The caffeinated side of the social media hub. @fryguy_pa @bbaize @wifijanitor
The non-caffeinated side of the social media hub. @bcjordo @hankito @tonhe
The non-caffeinated side of the social media hub. @bcjordo @hankito @tonhe
Completely impressed with the technology aid @CiscoTACOPS brings to disaster situations. @aconaway @bcjordo @densaer
Completely impressed with the technology aid @CiscoTACOPS brings to disaster situations. @aconaway @bcjordo @densaer
Networking - it's about community.
Networking – it’s about community. And this community is incredible.
How we all felt by the week's end. @lauren
This sums up perfectly how we all felt by the week’s end. @lauren

Published 6/19/2015

The Sparkly Side of Cisco Live 2014

In case you were living under a rock in the networking world, Cisco Live 2014 happened last week and in a big way.  Thousands of geeks took over San Francisco and it’s safe to say a good time was had by all!

A few things made my week in particular quite excellent, one of those being the Cisco Champion(s) Program. The Champion events were excellent opportunities to get to know fellow engineers and have a good time laughing it up with friends.  A special thanks to my fellow ginger and partner in plotting world domination, Amy Lewis (@commsninja), who definitely leveled up her already extraordinary unicorn wrangling skills. Her own talk was also fantastic and you should check it out here.

IMG_0732  IMG_0721

Tech Field Day also organized some great events, including round table discussions for us blogger/social media types.  These pictures don’t do justice to the staggering amount of brain power gathered around the table, but you can check out the videos here.


I’d be remiss not to give an extra special thanks to these two guys, Tom (@networkingnerd) and Stephen (@sfoskett) for all the work they do to build community in networking.



This Cisco Live was also the week of fabulous tweeps bringing me all sorts of fun and shiny presents.  From a Batgirl t-shirt from Jeff (@fryguy_pa) to actual sparkly bats from Tom (@networkingnerd) and Denise (@denisefishburne), I love that this group laughs and jokes together.  A sparkly PVDM from Erik (@ucgod) and a tiara (also from @denisefishburne) rounded off the gifts. The opportunity to dub Pete Lumbis (@tacCCDE) as the king of TAC, complete with a tiara and a sword, certainly made my week.



Last but not least, the awesome events organized by @ciscolive @kathleenmudge @rbakker and the rest of the Cisco Social Media team, allowed for some quality time with awesome engineers.  These are just a few pics below. From the looks of it, by the end of the week dignity had clearly taken a vacation, not that there was much of it to start with in this crowd.





Good times with truly good friends. Can’t wait till next year!

Special shout out to Kale Blankenship (@vcabbage) for creating a CLUS set of Cards Against Humanity. This one is my favorite:


And congratulations to @bcjordo who got his CCIE digits on Monday, way to go!


Cisco Live 2013 Rocked!

2photo 5

You know that person in the office that goes on vacation and then insists on showing you all the pictures and telling you all the stories?  Well, buckle up, I am *that* person for this Cisco Live wrap up episode!

My week kicked off with the Empowered Women session on Sunday afternoon and I have to say this was one of my favorite events.  Historically, the number of women at tech conferences is notably low, but this stroke of genius event filled the room with female engineers and reinforced the notion that the number of women in IT is growing, even if at a slower-than-I-would-like pace. Padmasree Warrior, CTO and Strategy Officer, as well as others gave excellent speeches, and I felt practically giddy at being able to sit across the table from other women and talk technical.

Meeting up with my fellow tweeters and bloggers at Cisco Live always makes the week, and this year was no exception.  The Cisco Social Media team, led by Kathleen Mudge did a phenomenal job keeping all us social media addicts happy with comfy sofas, snacks, and timely answers to any questions we came up with along the way.

The sessions and events were also quite excellent and rather than bore you with a long narration, I think it’s a good time to share some photos.

An entire week of technical discussions with fellow nerds, yes please.

photo 3

And how about these awesome faces?

  photo 1

We twitterers even had a shirt this year, obviously I was not a fan of the color.

2photo 2

There were some pretty amazing speakers, many of them authors as well, here’s one of my personal favorites.

3photo 4

And intense technical discussions were definitely the order of the day, every day.

3photo 3

The Customer Appreciation Event at Universal Studios got two thumbs up from this voice guy (and everyone else!)

4photo 4

By the end of the week, the exhaustion starts to show. But we love it…

5photo 4

Finally, since this was Ed’s first Cisco Live event, he got to ride in style.

4photo 3

Wanna read more about Cisco Live 2013?  I recommend these posts as well:

Ethan Banks

Tom Hollingsworth

Greg Ferro

A very special thanks to all of you on twitter who make working in networking just that much more awesome!

BNiDe8dCAAAMyoA.jpg large

Bonus that will make your day: Members of the Packet Pushers singing Living on a Prayer, you know you want to click this link

Published 7/01/2013

Cisco Live blog post – the Clip Show Edition

So you know those episodes of your favorite TV shows that are nothing but clips of other episodes? Well, think of this particular post as one of those cheater episodes. As much as I love Cisco Live, all the good stuff has already been written up and now I will show you just where that good stuff lives.

First up is Jeff Fry’s blog which I absolutely love, not only because it’s a great wealth of information on Cisco Live, but also because he always has at least one post that contains a map. Being a directionally challenged individual, this is one post I highly recommend.  Jeff also has several other great posts on Cisco Live 2013 so be sure to check them out as well, and while you’re there be sure to check out his fabulous technical posts on pretty much any topic networking related, you won’t be sorry you did.

My second hat tip goes to Tom who happens to be the keeper of the Great Twitter List of Awesomeness for Cisco Live 2013.   Tom has several great posts on what to expect from the event in general and useful info on the annual Tweet Up.  And, of course, while you are hanging out on Tom’s site, don’t forget to check out his post on the infamous Cisco Live 2011 Tom Tramp Stamp, which includes a link at the bottom of the post to said tattoo. That’s just good entertainment right there.

Next up is Teren’s blog which includes info on the CAE, Disney discounts for Cisco Live attenders, and a nice post on why you should be going to Cisco Live and better yet, why your boss should support you. Teren also has posted some fantastic photos of last year’s event here so be sure to check them out if you went last year or if you just like clicking on pictures of strangers.

For more good tips on what to pack and what to expect, I recommend checking out Scott’s post and Bob McCouch’s post.  I’ve hung out with both of these guys at past Cisco Live events and the advice they give is practical and spot on.

Last, and certainly not least, if you are interested in more information about the keynotes for Cisco Live 2013, be sure to check out John’s post on the subject here.  He’s summarized the speakers and dates for you, so be sure to bookmark a link for when you are planning out your schedule.

And that’s a wrap on our tour of all things Cisco Live 2013, as you can see, Cisco Live is quite the event! Hopefully the impressive work of these bloggers makes your trip just a bit easier and certainly less overwhelming!

Published 6/11/2013

*I apologize to my blogger friends who have posted on the subject and that I have missed, please leave a link to your blog in the comments!