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July, 2010

Cisco Live 2010! The last two days…

The last two days are basically a blur…  These sessions were more technical, deeper, and focused.  I had to skip the customer appreciation event on Wednesday night to study for my CCIE Routing & Switching written exam, which I very thankfully passed.  My primary focus on that isn’t to get my CCIE…at least this year.  It’s to renew my CCNP that’s coming up in October plus the 43 other specialist Cisco certs I now carry due to various partner requirements and my own need for punishment.

Had some great sessions.  My last session was Troubleshooting the Nexus 1000v given by Louis Watta.  Louis is awesome.  He is very active on the Nexus community forum helping people out and has answered several questions for me so when I saw he was giving that session I dropped the one I had scheduled on UCS QoS & Security and got in his.  It was well worth it.  I’ll be working through some of what he covered in the lab and making some posts on it and hopefully show you how to use his information to troubleshoot your own N1Kv implementations.  The troubleshooting features and tools have gotten so much better over the last two revisions of the 1Kv and there is a lot you can now do to help dig yourself out of a hole (like being able to define a System VLAN on an ESX box itself if you forgot).  Good stuff.

Another highly notable sessions was on frame flow through the UCS system given by Sean McGee.  Jeremy already did a great writeup and overview of that session here.  Again, great technical session.  There wasn’t a lot of new information there but it was the first time I really saw it all put together as Sean walked you through every decision the UCS environment makes on how to forward frames in and out.  As he put it, he didn’t just say “it does this and this” he told you how each piece thinks and then you can figure out what it’s doing based on the configuration and setup.  I love that kind of session.

There was also a an in-depth troubleshooting session on the UCS platform.  It’s is just astounding how much information you can pull out of the UCS system if you want to do it.  This is where the idea of Cisco making a blade system like this shines.  Cisco people are used to being able to really dig in to modules, SFPs, supervisors, etc and pull very granular data, but in most cases you don’t get that with a server platform.  You do now.  Want to go pull the frame counts and errors off the chip on the UCS mezzanine card?  You absolutely can.  I just hope (and Jeremy even mentioned this) that there weren’t many people just considering UCS in that session or the amount of data might scare you off.  I see it as a hugely powerful tool and differentiator.

Just wanted to share what other sessions and activities there were.  Cisco Live isn’t just about routing and switching anymore…it’s a lot more and gets better and better.  So now I’m on a plane on the way home.  It was a great week but I can’t wait to see my wife and son.  Have a happy 4th!

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