Greetings!  Paul here with an update of my experience at Cisco Live!

Looking back at the original post, I must take some ownership on a delay in posting.  I foolhardily projected an update post every day from Las Vegas, NV.  My colleague, Rob, informed me that it was a little brazen, and was he right!

Prime lesson from Cisco Live, there is not enough time to do everything you plan to do, even on site!  I found myself originally enrolled in many sessions engaging my entire day.  I learned about the 'World of Solutions' (WoS) and how I can get hands on with almost every vendor and some advanced Cisco architectures.  That said, it has been a month since we've been back.  Rob & I have done a few Cisco Live recaps around North and South Carolina.  We've learned what are the most important topics from our personal opinions and customer interactions.  In this post, I seek to share some information regarding the resoundingly popular topics.

1) Tetration -
This was the biggest announcement in my eyes.  I've heard rumblings of this product for the past few months from Cisco, but it had no name.  Cisco's transitioned focus to a software company is paramount with Tetration Analytics.  Tetration empowers companies with the knowledge of every packet, every flow (variability within, between, and changes within), and provides application dependency mapping.  I visited the WoS booth after the session to see it with my own eyes.  I've used Splunk, network general, infinistream, gigamon, et cetera before, but this was blazing fast!  A search of over 80 Billion unique flows resulted in approximately 50,000 results from back in May 2016 in less than 200ms!

Really fast search results, that can't be it, right?  Correct!  There are many use cases for Tetration.  Operations personnel can research issues historically without worry, you can map application dependency to understand the network, and you can help ensure compliance objectives.  When reviewing the uses for Tetration the application dependency mapping is huge.  Chuck Robbins said it best in his opening keynote, "Configurations tell you what should happen, the network tells you what IS happening."  ACI adoption in the user space has been sporadic, mainly due to application mapping.  Users want to move to an SDN strategy in the data center with microsegmentation, but they're afraid to break existing connectivity.  Tetration allows you to move seamlessly.

2) Application Centric Infrastructure
ACI has been out for a bit now, and as someone who has deployed ACI for customers, I was eagerly awaiting some advancements in multi-site ACI deployments.  Available now Q3 2016, ACI's Multi-POD solution is available.  Allowing you to stretch a fabric between multiple pods with a single APIC cluster for management.  What does this mean? You can have an intra-DC POD setup, perhaps 2 sites (primary/DR), or 3, or 4, or (coming in Q4CY16) 6!  
What is this "ACI GOLF" thing?  Well, Project GOLF allows an ACI Fabric to connect to an external L3 domain where "GOLF devices functionally behave as ACI 'border leafs and is complementary with ACI multi-fabric solutions" like the above.  So what participates in GOLF? Nexus 7000/7700s, ASR 9000s, ASR 1000s.  Want to read more about it? Check Project GOLF's white paper out here.

3) IWAN 2.2 Cisco IWAN
Andre Laurent taught a very engaging and exciting deep dive into IWAN design and deployment.  It was great to see others utilize IWAN for the purpose of customer improvement and company gain with real world applications.  The most important piece of information, which I previously heard through some Cisco reps in our region, is that IWAN 2.2 is set to come out Q4CY16.  What does IWAN 2.2 do over IWAN 2.1 today?  The primary benefit is multi-WAN link hub support.  Currently, IWAN hubs are limited to a single WAN link per IWAN best practices and primarily due to PfR.  Cisco is pushing the boundaries and enhancing their offering by allowing IWAN 2.2 to go up to FIVE (5) links per hub!  I've had many customers seek to move to IWAN, but some have multiple links or MPLS clouds and can't fully migrate to a smaller footprint requiring 2-3x more hub routers than they desired.  IWAN 2.2 will be a game changer in the SDWAN space and further enhances Cisco's already potent offering.

4) APIC-EM applications Cisco APIC-EM
APIC-EM is a free application.  I repeat, free application, for active Cisco customers!  There are many applications already in it that provide tremendous benefit, like plug-n-play, topology visualizer, IWAN (beta), and EasyQoS (beta).  There are more, but let's talk about those four.

Plug-n-play allows a customer to utilize a central repository for bootstrapping network equipment for zero touch deployments.  Topology visualizer helps to put the network into perspective and expedite troubleshooting.  For example, mapping out a user using wireless and a CAPWAP tunnel shows how many times it is traversing a particular switch architecture as opposed to FlexConnect enabled APs.  The IWAN app can be utilized to help manage, control, and even deploy IWAN in your infrastructure.  EasyQoS helps you utilize a top-down approach to QoS.  There are different QoS settings depending on the hardware, different queue sizes, buffers, et cetera.  If you've ever managed custom QoS across an array of devices, you know the pain.  Now you can configure the global policy and have the application push it out to the devices you select and the app will change the configuration as needed based on the hardware it is being applied!

5) Cloud Defense Orchestrator
Tired of managing all your Cisco ASA (hardware and virtual) and FirePower services separately?  Well, so was everyone else!  Cisco announced Cloud Defense Orchestrator as a way to centrally manage your environment. Key take aways?  Policy change management, scalable orchestration of changes, policy analysis and optimization, & policy management and reporting.  If you're a security manager, this is definitely worth looking into!  

6) HyperFlex
HyperFlex is a hyper converged offering from Cisco.  Just last week, I participated in a training at our office by my colleague, Brad Craig, who is leading our HyperFlex effort.  I even put on twitter, "So easy a network guy can do it", and I am not lying!  I was able to stand up HyperFlex with the guide and it worked as advertised.  This is truly a new and remarkable product form Cisco.  We currently have a HyperFlex in our office and are more than happy to help demo and answer any questions you may have!  Converged infrastructure, Hyperconverged Infrastructure, or piece mail, every one has it's purpose and use cases, let us help you come to the right conclusion for your business.

As with all your technology needs, ROVE is here to help map your business objectives to IT initiatives.  Everything listed here, and more, can be discussed at length with you; and we would love the chance!  Let's get the conversation going.  Thanks for reading!
-Paul @paulmc3
ROVE @WithRove

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