This year again I had the privilege and pleasure to attend one of the best events for networkers: Cisco Live Europe 2023 in Amsterdam.

I’ve attended Cisco Live Europe almost every year from 2013, in 2018 also as Tech Field Day delegate .

This year was a bit special, the first in-person edition since Covid-19.

I was happy to have once again the opportunity to meet old and new friends, enjoy the technical sessions and collect a bunch of vendor swag.1

The sponsors

Among the new product announcements and technical sessions, what caught my attention the most were the main sponsors.

Excluding hardware manufacturers AMD and Intel, out of 5 main sponsors three were software houses that create network assurance products:

I won’t go into the details of the product, that’s not what I’m interested in pointing out.

The point is it is clear where VC investments are going (IP Fabric and Fordward Networks are young companies still close to startup status) and probably also the market demand, especially for customers with complex networks and MSPs that need to manage multivendor e multicloud networks.

As an IP Fabric user myself , I can easily see the value of such solutions and the positive impact they have for network opeations and design teams.

Of course many hardware vendors offer solutions that somehow try to solve the same problems, but my experiences have not been positive in the past.

Now some competition might push vendors to produce better software since the alternatives are there and point to a market that has long been asking for better and more effective tools. The market is large enough to make room for multiple solutions, each specializing on a specific vertical.

As a former2 network engineer, I can only appreciate better tools that integrated with network automation can multiply the leverage and reduce the amount of repetitive and shallow tasks like data entry and maintaining an inventory.

We’ll see how the market evolves but if I have to make a prediction, network assurance will grow and improve. After trying it out no one wants to go back to working on spreadsheets or creating network diagrams that get old in no time.

My sessions schedule

Some people asked me which sessions I attended.

As evident from the report I focused mainly on Cisco ACI . I believe the technology is mature enough to be adopted in many cases; it offers many advantages both in terms of functionality and simplified datacenter management.

In between ACI sessions, I attended some DevNet sessions and Daren and Peter ’s sessions. The former was about network assurance and the latter about lessons learned during a long and successful career.

Meeting people

The last part of this post is about meeting people in person.

I am not sure whether I belong to the introvert or extrovert category. In any case, during the event I realized how much I had missed attending live sessions, talking to people, exchanging an opinion, an idea, or even just a smile and a handshake.

In a time of economic uncertainty, with mass layoffs and conflicting opinions about remote or office work, it sometimes goes by the wayside how dependent we are on social interactions and that no matter how convenient, less polluting, more effective it may be, seeing each other through the intermediary of a screen is not equal to seeing each other in person.

Cisco Live is just that, a way to take a break from work for a few days, engage in learning and socializing.

Like every year I return to work full of ideas, inspiration and convinced that I have chosen a career that can give me much satisfaction.

  1. The green policy prohibited exhibitors from distributing gadgets in order to reduce the environmental impact of the event. ↩︎

  2. Although my career has been oriented toward design, architecture and consulting roles, I believe I still have the network engineer perspective. ↩︎