ISN – Some Concluding Thoughts from Cisco Live – Barcelona 2018
It always amazes me the scale of Cisco Live and the sheer number of sessions available to choose from is mind-boggling. Unfortunately, you have to be very selective as you simply can’t squeeze every session in that you’d like to attend. This visit I decided to mainly focus on security, as that seems to be a hot topic currently and the direction that ISN are leading with Cisco – but I also left a little time for new product information throughout the portfolio.
For me, these sorts of events are mainly about four things:
- Finding out about the latest and greatest products and solutions.
- Getting in-depth technical training on products we know.
- Finding out about products we don’t know about.
- Meeting contacts and industry peers.
Cisco live, as always, fulfils these demands and more – although these days less and less physical products are on display as most tend be either software based or housed in some far-flung datacentre!
Anyway, I thought I’d try and put together some of the most useful snippets of information that I learnt during my visit.
So, what are they?
- So much is becoming software based and automated, if we’re not embracing this then we need to start doing so. So many new products have API’s and we’re expected to interact with them in order to get the most from them. It was obvious from the size of the Devnet area and the number of sessions they ran that Cisco is a software company, I even attended an introduction to Python session just too whet my appetite, and yes, I’ll be installing Python and watching the Youtube tutorials from 13 year olds when I get back.
- I went along to a session on how to create a good wireless Lan guest portal where the speaker went through the various options and capabilities of the WLC V’s ISE. With ISN recommending ISE Express to our customers I was pleased to see that it’s still the right product for WLC based networks.
- Moving into new areas, I noticed a big push for Cisco DNA and creating an encompassing LAN Fabric. It’s currently in its early stages and has a limited set of supported devices but the idea of an integrated LAN , Wlan and security fabric sounds very appealing. Mind you, I went to a tech session on building such a fabric and can see the level of new skills that we’ll need to acquire is not to be underestimated!
- More up my street were the in-depth tech sessions on the new Firepower platform where we learnt about the internal architecture and incredible speeds that the new 4100 & 9300 devices can achieve (multiple 10, 40 & 100Gbps interfaces. Most importantly though, the multi-context support is due this year! I was pleased to hear that the ASA code will still be developed but FTD seems to be the new way and we’re going to have to embrace that.
- Continuing on the security path, I attended an advanced IPS session which really showed the extra value we could extract from our ASA & SFR IPS installations; I suspect that 80% of the possible features are untouched by many users and I think it’s important that we mention these when undertaking POV’s and running through these with our customers.
- Finally, I went along to a Hacking for network engineers’ session where we were given a wealth of information on how hacking is carried out, the idea being that it allows us all to think about how best to secure our customers (and our own) networks from intrusion, that’s it, I’ll be digging out my Kali Linux box again very soon and putting that to good use!
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