I am fortunate to work for a company that truly believes in continuing education for all it’s employees (one of the many perks of working at SealingTech). Each employee gets a set amount to spend to further their education. While some choose the collegiate path, I have chosen the certification path where I have gone to CCIE level bootcamps and this year’s Cisco Live conference in Orlando, Florida. Cisco Live was a great experience. I got to meet a lot of great peers and make new friends. I was able to brush arms with the authors of books from which I studied throughout various certifications.
There is an overwhelming amount of sessions to attend from all different disciplines of networking; from automation to security to zero-touch deployments and deep dives on protocol operations. Through the sessions I tailored my experience towards my goal of achieving my CCIE Routing and Switching certification. At Cisco Live there is a large amount of resources geared towards CCIE candidates. I attended many sessions to help in that journey:
Advanced CCIE Routing and Switching Techtorial
Cisco 360 Virtualisation – New CCIE Routing & Switching Configuration and Troubleshooting Labs
There was a wealth of knowledge to be gained from attending those sessions. From exposure to unfamiliar testing interfaces to time management during the exam. In some of the class environments we worked through troubleshooting tickets together and it was great learning other people’s perspectives on what to look for and why. The Cisco 360 Virtualization session was a great hand’s-on experience for getting a peek behind the curtain of the CCIE lab environment. Other sessions were great for exposing some of those corner cases you find yourself in, in working with protocols:
It was extremely valuable learning from the experts who literally wrote the books on the subject matter. Each session I had an ‘ah-ha’ moment, where I thought I knew how a protocol would react and was proven incorrect given the circumstances. This is exactly why I attend conferences and sessions — to gain exposure to the experts and the corner cases they’ve seen so I can learn from them and add their methods as tools in our networking toolboxes.
I took notice at Chuck Robbins keynote as he was talking about Cisco’s partnership with Google with bringing Kubernetes to the UCS platform and what this means to the community. I thought this was great because here at Sealing Technologies we have already fully embraced Kubernetes independent of hardware platforms, and have developed a platform called EDCOP (Expandable Defensive Cyber Operations Platform) for conducting DCO and CND, inline or passively. It’s reassuring to know that I’m here at Cisco Live representing my company that shares a vision that aligns with great companies like Cisco and Google.
While at the conference I took advantage of my full conference pass by scheduling my free exam at their testing center and took my CCIE Written exam. I scheduled the exam for Monday at 1:15pm. I arrived 15 minutes early as suggested and after checking in I was put into the holding area. Before being escorted into the room the staff there were frantically running around saying “The network is down!”. This was very ironic that the network went down at a facility hosting a networking conference full of 60,000 network engineers. It also was a nightmare for me, since this was happening just moments before I was taking the highest level exam of my certification journey. They gave us the option of returning later or waiting it out. I chose to wait and I’m glad I did. 30 minutes later the testing center opened again and I took my test… and passed!
Other notable sessions I enjoyed:
Hitchhikers Guide to Troubleshooting IPv6 was a great deep dive look at things to consider and problems seen in real network when deploying IPv6. I haven’t yet deployed IPv6 outside of a lab environment so I’m making sure to learn all I can from those who’ve been-there done-that. The Web Decryption on Cisco Security Devices was focused on transparent and deliberate web proxying on Cisco’s FirePower used for Man-in-the-Middle attacks for purposes of gaining visibility into your own traffic.
Cisco Live is an excellent conference not just for those who have a focus on networking technology but for anyone with a focus on technology in nearly any aspect. You will find people to talk to about nearly every discipline; wireless, security, visibility, monitoring, virtualization, automation, routing & switching. I have been saying post-event that Cisco Live is not a “Cisco Centric” conference, except for the marketing, but a technology conference that spans many disciplines and goes far beyond Cisco brand boxes. I was happy to see this. Thank you Cisco for hosting such an event and thank you SealingTech for allowing me to go. I am already planning my Cisco Live trip to San Diego for the 2019 year and making sure I take some co-workers with me 🙂