This year, for the fourth year in a row, I’ve attended Cisco Live Europe .

I’ve earned the “Netvet” status, that means my name was on the wall before the keynote, ain’t that great? ;-)

Aesthetics apart, this year’s event was the biggest I’ve attended so far, twelve thousands people in a huge venue (for European standards) and a lot of sessions available.

Here’s my recap of the event.

The Venue

Berlin messe is big, that’s the same location of IFA (the European CES). The sessions where spread across multiple pavilions but they were well interconnected and maps were clear, no problems on that.

The usual advice for any Cisco Live is: go with comfortable shoes. You’ll walk a lot, your fitbit/health tracker will be proud of you!

The Sessions

Sessions quality at Cisco Live are simply awesome. They can’t replace a full week of training on a specific products of course.

My feeling about the sessions is they’re meant to either go deep on vertical topics (the Deep Dive) or to give a structured approach on a particular technology that will work as a framework for more reading/study.

I’ve attended as many sessions I could but I left without remorse when I wasn’t sure it was useful for me to stay in the room (more on that later).

All the presentations and session recordings will soon be available online .

The People

Cisco Live is about technology of course but one of the aspects I enjoy more every year is making new connections with smart people.

In my daily work I meet customers, competitors and colleagues, the only contacts outside those are either through social networks or conferences.

When a session is not very interesting I leave the room and go to World of Solutions or DevNet and wander around looking for interesting products or people.

I got involved in a chat about ASA with a gal who works in a big MSSP in Sweden and we shared our views about ASA products and the new Firepower integration.

I had a chance to talk with Tom Gilheany - Cisco product manager for Security Certifications & training - and got very useful advises about how to update my security skills for the new FirePower products .

These are just a few examples but I can tell there was plenty of opportunities and even a quick chat with the right person can have very high value.

The Social Network

The only social network I use everyday is the Twitter .

During Cisco Live I shared my thoughts and read the discussion about product announcements and events. For some reason that led me to win the Twitter Challenge ;-)

The Food

It is a commonplace that Italians always complain about the food when traveling abroad.

I gave a negative feedback on Thursday’s “lunch in a box”, I understand the A/B testing approach but I don’t appreciate airplane-plastic style food outside an airplane.

No need of more comments on that point, just enjoy a picture of Currywurst ;-)

Final considerations

I confirm that for many reasons Cisco Live should be in the schedule for any Network Engineer that works with Cisco products (is there really somebody who don’t?).

I hope some day to attend the US edition too to get a chance to see a bigger event and have the opportunity to meet even more Network Engineers to share knowledge and experiences.