The second day started with my favorite session so far and I did not expect it. I am not a programmer but I thought the UCS XML API session was great. I have heard a few times that all functionality to manage UCS via the UCS Manager, the XML API or the CLI is full featured but never dug deeper. Catherine Liao gave us 15 minute primer on XML, XML Schema, etc. to get us started. Then we got into a few ways you can code to the XML API and see API response and error handing. What brought out the geek in me was talking about different use cases. Here are the notes from that section:
1. Display System: You could use this type of example to generate a report of service profiles, etc. and you could include firmware version.
2. Mobile System Monitor, they have a beta iPhone app that uses the API. Took him about 80 hours to develop it. Check it out at http://www.timeline.com/simu
3. Auto provisioning of systems like what Cisco IT is using to deploy workloads.
The other highlight of the day was the keynote with John Chambers. I always like to hear him speak, he knows how to communicate his ideas very well to a crowd. The big WOW from the session was the announcement of the new Cisco Cius “See-Us” tablet device. The first reaction is that it is a competitor to the iPad but it really is focused as a collaboration tool using unified communication (with “Video as the new Voice”) being a key piece of it. Plus it is focused as a business, education or communication device. Afterward when everyone was leaving the event I noticed John Chambers still hanging out and talking with people. So I headed down and had a few minutes to chat with him and get a picture.
It was a pretty cool day that ended on the patio at the top of Mandalay Bay looking out on the strip listening to great live music from Phat Strad. Thanks to the Cisco datacenter group for organizing this fun event.
I am a little late on my day one blog but here it is . . . The focus of my first day was around the core network in the datacenter. We have Cisco UCS so I attended a few sessions on FCoE and the Nexus 7000 hardware.
FCoE covered basic concepts for the first half and then they dug into the details of how FCoE is really FC but contained in an Ethernet packet. So it was a good refresher on FC concepts and how things map under FCoE. We also got an understanding of how the FCoE protocol has been built to provide the lossless nature needed to support fiber channel traffic by using flow control. During this session I wanted to login to one of my FC Cisco MDS switch to check out some show information as we covered them in the session. Since I am only using my iPad this week I used the Citrix Receiver app to remote to my desktop. It worked very well, pretty cool.
For the Nexus 7000 hardware session I now know the basics of how it is structured. Since my experience is with the 6500 what stood out for me was the fabric for the switch is not on the supervisor but on it’s own fabric modules that go in the back of the chassis. This allows for up to 5 fabric modules and up to 230 Gbps of bandwidth. Based on your needs you can start small (3 is the base recommendation for redundancy and adequate capacity) and add to it over time. Today Cisco announced a new module line called the F Series that will allow you to add IO modules that will be able to start to reach that 230 gbps of bandwidth. Another interesting thing from today is next year there will be a 9 slot Nexus 7000 as well as new fabric modules that will get the bandwidth up to 560 gbps (I am going on memory for that number).
I shifted gears in the afternoon and attended an IT Management session from Cisco’s Paul McNab focused on IT Aligning to Business Strategy. This was pretty cool discussion that gave insight into how Cisco has approached disrupters as opportunities and how using collaboration to increase speed to respond and broaden your scope. An example that stood out for me was that the value of the technology we purchase today may only have 18 months of life, this means IT needs to get value out of that investment very fast or you will loss your competitive footing. By using new tools and technologies such as collaboration tools, unified computing, etc. to maximize your time and resources are ways IT can bring value to the business. This session is one I would not have expected to see at a tech conference, however, it fits well into my interests.
Finished out the day with the show floor, World of Solutions. It has been a few years since attending a Cisco conference and it reminded me how diverse Cisco is. You see cabling, storage, data center, server components and voice vendors all in one room. We had a great first day and look forward to the rest of the week.