#CLUS here we come!

So #CLUS is almost upon us, let the feast of networking goodness begin!

Over the coming week or so I'm planning to immerse myself in the Kool-Aid (never mind drink it) and geek out about some of the exciting stuff that's coming up from the networking giant so many love to hate on!  I make no apologies for this - my recent career has been built on the back of their gear and this peculiar ability that I amongst many others have to be able to make it do what we (or our customers) want it to do *most* of the time.  Disclosure: I am a fan and a #CiscoChampion.  (I am also pragmatic and obviously know when things aren't so good, but on the whole I think these things balance out)

I'm expecting to see loads of announcements and developments for the Digital Network Architecture (DNA) - hopefully new integrations and some SD-WAN capability for DNA Center.  For Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) could we perhaps have some nice shiny hybrid cloud capabilities?  Plenty of IoT, definitely - people will be betting big on connecting up all the things and doing cool stuff with AI and Machine Learning to the vast oceans of data the things generate.  And no modern networking event would be complete without programmability, lots of it - #Devnet is such a key part of Cisco's strategy these days - a big chunk of my time is going to be spent in front of a laptop prodding and probing at APIs for all sorts (and adding new stickers to my laptop).

Buzzwords ahoy!  I've already used a load - ML, AI, SDN, SD-WAN, API, IoT - but I expect there to be some newer contenders, in particular IBN (Intent Based Networking).  In its purest form, this is something I'm particularly interested in - the idea of abstracting the configuration of a network as a whole to the point where you can ask a controller in simple terms to "allow this group of users access to that application", "prioritise this application over that",  "use low latency links for voice traffic" or similar, and the controller parses the requirement into configuration of the necessary network elements and executes it.  This is the stuff that changes the face of the networking industry - it's handy knowing how to program network devices individually (ie teach your network engineers to use Python), but it will not be the end game!

As a #CLUS virgin, I'm planning on leaning on the community to guide me through the week - in particular the awesome #CiscoChampions - an incredible group of Cisco partners, practitioners and users, the most supportive, helpful and influential people you'll ever meet.  They are a band of sisters and brothers who have been recognised by Cisco as being advocates for the products and technologies which Cisco have brought to bear, across social media and the blogsphere.  Being a part of this community of experts in all fields has really opened my eyes (it's through their encouragement and support that I started this blog) … and cranked up the excitement for #CLUS another notch with the promise of hanging out with these uber geeks!  

And amongst all of this, I have a job to do!  I plan on using the time to understand the impact that these new and exciting capabilities could have on what I, my team at ANS, and the rest of our business, can bring to our customers.  Expect a blog post or two along the way discussing the ideas that spin up out of the sessions and subsequent conversations.  Understanding the future will also help when I'm wearing my other hat as a member of the CCIE Advisory Council, looking at ways in which the Cisco education programme needs to change and adapt to this new landscape to ensure that the CCIE and other qualifications maintain their relevance and integrity for those who pursue and renew them.

I can't wait!

And once I've washed off the last traces of the sticky fruity drink and the excitement has died down, I'm planning to be busy communicating all the new stuff to my colleagues through education sessions in the office, to customers during architectural and design review meetings, and to anyone else who'll listen over social media as part of the  #CiscoChampion programme.

Let's hope the week lives up to expectations, and watch this space for revelations through the week!


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