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Roundup: Cisco Live 2011

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Unless it's 15,000 network geeks loose at Cisco Live! 2011 - in which case, what happens in Vegas proliferates on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and blogs. Here's are some highlights and links from the event.

Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior addresses the audience during her keynote at Cisco Live 2011.

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Unless it's 15,000 network geeks loose at  Cisco Live! 2011 - in which case, what happens in Vegas proliferates on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and blogs. Here's are some highlights from the week:

Cisco (CSCO) started off the week revitalizing its workhorse switch family with updates to the Catalyst 6500.

  • CEO John Chambers explained how the company will focus on architecture and be a leaner, quicker company that has five top priorities.
  • Wednesday was the announcement of UCS product update, cloud strategies and a keynote from CTO Padmasree Warrior. With a continued focus on architecture, Warrior spoke about the origins of UCS and how it began with the notion that the data center will fundamentally change.  She explained that the network of the future will focus on programmability, virtualization and configuration/automation. The keynote demonstration compared the 'good enough' network to Cisco and showcased the Cisco Cius and its configuration and automation tools - enhanced by Cisco's recent acquisition of NewScale.
  • During the Wednesday press conference Cisco VP of Access and Virtualization Soni Jiandani gave a deep dive into UCS technologies and the journey to the unified fabric.  As a fabric-based architecture, she explained that 85 percent of UCS deployments are in legacy data centers and that the greenfield opportunity Cisco had in its Allen, Texas data center has resulted in a 60 percent savings by using UCS. With over 10,000 applications certified on UCS and an open API the application layer is extracted to allow an easy migration to further evolved architectures and it enables dynamic capacity adjustments. When asked why Cisco doesn't have its own cloud Jiandini responded that they don't want to compete with their customers -- just enable them and allow the enterprise to leverage the UCS platform. In this YouTube video Jiandini explains the journey to the Unified Fabric.
  • Past Cisco Live attendees made the request, and this year Cisco delivered William Shatner in the closing keynote. Click here to view the  recorded stream of Carlos Dominguez interviewing Shatner.

There was no sign of the Cisco modular data centers, but the Cisco Network Emergency Response Vehicle (NERV) was on the expo floor for a tour. NERV is a self-deployable command and communications resource for first responders, critical infrastructure, and other organizations that have been affected by a catastrophic event and require mission-critical networking to recover normal operations. It meets or exceeds the National Incident Management System (NIMS) standards for type II mobile communication centers.

During the week there several other related news stories about Cisco:

  • As the conference was getting underway, rumors were circulating about a possible 5,000 to 10,000 Cisco employees being laid off in early 2012.  Figuring into the "becoming leaner" initiative, there is sure to be more on this information at the next Cisco earnings call. One possible source for those layoffs is the report that Cisco is in the process of selling off its set-top manufacturing facility in Juarez, Mexico.
  • Installing one of the largest and most sophisticated video surveillance projects of its kind in China is one step closer for Cisco.  The ambitious project will network as many as 500,000 cameras to help prevent crime.  In June Cisco was quick to address concerns from human-rights advocates and authored the blog post - Cisco Supports Freedom of Expression, an Open Internet and Human Rights.
  • Also on the Cisco blogs - embattled responses to HP about the Cisco comparison of Catalyst 6500 vs. HP's A9500.  Cisco's Director of Marketing for Unified Access Solutions Scott Gainey writes Hey HP....Really? Time for a Reality Check!
  • The finance industry and analysts had a fair amount of chatter about Cisco last week -- saying that cost-cutting plans at Cisco should benefit Broadcom (BCOM) and Marvell (MRVL), as Cisco invests less money in developing chips internally.  Also noted was the release that Microsoft plans to fully integrate Skype with Lync, its platform for enterprise voice-over-IP and messaging.  This further validates the Cisco message of the importance of the network as well as video being the focus of IT, as much of Skype is used for video calls.

Next year Cisco Live! will be in San Diego from June 10-14.

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