Cisco Live 2017 was a busy week. From the various keynotes and the product announcements there is a fair amount of news to keep an eye out for.
New Catalyst 9000 switching range:
Cisco announced a new Catalyst 9000 range, not to be confused with the Nexus 9000 range. The new Catalyst 9k range is designed to push forward the software-defined trend down into the access layer. We already know about SD-WAN and SDN for our data centers and WAN connections but now we can software define our access layer. Currently, we have three different flavors of the Catalyst 9k available to us. The 9300, 9400, & 9500 series.
- 9300: This is your new 1U fixed switch model. A much more advanced 2960-X capable of supporting all the existing features of the 2960-X while adding more impressive forwarding specifications and the ability of SD-Access. Another key feature of this new lower end switch is you can attach storage to run containers. This switch also provide mGig connectivity which will future proof your purchase for years to come.
- 9400: The 9400 series is a larger chassis switch capable of housing 8x power supplies, 2x supervisor modules and a few different modules for client and network connectivity. The Chassis can also support on board storage to run applications within a container based environment. The chassis also supports ISSU and some very impressive throughput and power output for more demanding access layer environments.
- 9500: The 9500 is another 1U fixed switch, however the 9500 series adds much more forwarding to the portfolio, supporting 40G connectivity to aggregate your network together, while supporting many of the additional features that are available on the 9300 & 9400 series switches.
Cisco Network Intuitive
One of the bigger announcements from Cisco was the Intuitive network, but what exactly is the network intuitive? Well, this is where the network starts to program itself based on defined policies. This is were the new Catalyst 9k’s start to shine. The Catalyst are based off the newer UADPv2.0 ASIC, which is a newer programmable ASIC chip but that is just one piece of pie. The intuitive network is a collaboration of different tools tied together also involving Cisco’s DNA Center as your eye in the sky management console. This management console will only be one of many, as there is a heavy reliance on Cisco ISE and also APIC-EM depending on the level of deployment you are looking. So while this a great initiative it will introduce its own level of overhead. However, Cisco doesn’t typically steer us wrong so I will be very interesting is seeing where this new Intuitive Network bring us in the near future.
Deeper Collaboration with Apple
Tim Cook himself appeared on stage at Cisco Live with Chuck Robbins, it is not typically common for Tim Cook to take the stage with other companies so this one was definitely a treat. During this discussion they spoke about enhancing the partnership between Cisco and Apple in order to provide a more secure communication experience. It’s said later this year we should be seeing a new connector that increase visibility between apple devices and network traffic. It’s said this will tie-in with Cisco umbrella to provide a more holistic security solution. This is something we’ll see as part of iOS 11 which should be released in the upcoming months along side the new iPhone release.
Bryan Cranston Keynote
Every year we have a celebrity keynote, and this year was no different. This year the guest speaker was none other than Bryan Cranston. The guest keynotes are notorious for great motivational speeches and Bryan does not disappoint. If you have not watched the keynote yet I recommend giving it a listen watching and listening to Bryan & Chuck go back and forth is quite entertaining. It goes over some interesting history around Bryan’s life and how he got to where he is today. Fair warning though, any animal lovers might want to skip the first couple minutes of the keynote.
This is a very interesting topic, especially since Cisco acquired MindMeld earlier in the year. During one of Chuck Robbins keynote’s he spoke about the topic of using AI to improve network functions and security. If you do follow technology news outside of Cisco, you will be aware of other initiatives in artificial intelligence, which opens up many other important discussions. For Cisco however the potential is almost limitless, I imagine we will see integration with SD-Access/DNA, Sparkbots, and integration with Cisco’s Umbrella security solution.
Hours & Hours of technical sessions available to watch for free
Now, that we are few weeks past the conference many of the recorded technical sessions have been uploaded to the Cisco Live 365 website and are available to be watched for free. All you need to do is register for a free account. I can not say enough about the value provided by these sessions. These sessions cover just about every technology offered by Cisco at all different levels from CCNA to CCIE and everything in between. Many of the sessions will have the session presentation available to watch as well as the session presentation available for download in PDF format. Do keep in mind not every session is recorded so they all might not have the video available but almost all of them will have the presentation available.
Cisco Live is always an exciting week, between Cisco’s announcements, the technical sessions, social interactions, and the keynotes there is no shortage of news to keep the technical industry rolling along. 2017 was no exception, I do feel the announcements were a little lack luster compared to previous years, but the Intuitive networks announcements can certainly change the landscape of networking as we know it. It’s an initiative I will be following closely as time passes since ‘software defined’ is the future and these beginning phases are going to quickly take root over the next few years as companies begin to start implementing the groundwork to make this a reality.
Cisco Live will be over in Orlando June 10-14 in 2018 and the website is already live and active, with dates and the ability to purchase passes at a discounted rate. If you need to compile a handful of reasons to participate in the conference check out the previous Cisco Live post.