Cisco Live EMEA 2017 - What to Expect

Today I am lucky enough to be going travelling to Berlin, Germany with one of my colleagues; we'll be attending Cisco's annual conference Cisco Live EMEA. As many of you will likely know Cisco Live is the go to event for network engineering folks the world over, with classes, seminars and presentations from all manner of people across all kinds of topics.

Having not been to Cisco Live before I have tried to plan to focus my visit on subjects which are most important in our organisation at present. I can't however help but notice that there is a significant focus towards Cisco ACI, Automation, Application API Programmability, 'Zero-touch', etc. Almost all of these sessions are completely full, which demonstrates a very clear interest in the industry towards this area, something I look forward to hearing and seeing more of during the trip.

During the conference I have scheduled to attend the below sessions and plan on writing about them after and possibly even tweeting live!

  • Be my guest! - Design and Deploy Wireless Guest Access that Works [BRKEWN-2014]
  • WiFi Considerations for the Open Workspace [PSOEWN-2000]
  • Simplify Application and Infrastructure Deployments Using F5 BIG-IP and Cisco Nexus [BRKPLT-2300]
  • Nexus 9000/7000/6000/5000 Operations and Maintenance Best Practices [BRKDCT-2458]
  • Securely Designing Your Wireless LAN for Threat Mitigation, Policy and BYOD [BRKEWN-2005]
  • Ethernet Evolving - Ethernet at New Speeds, Deterministic Networking, and Power over Everything! [BRKCRS-3900]
  • Cisco Catalyst 3850 and 3650 Series Switching Architecture [BRKARC-3438]
  • Intermediate - Enterprise IPv6 Deployment [BRKRST-2301]

Particularly looking forward to the Nexus Maintenance Best Practices and WiFi sessions; both of these solutions are being adopted and depended upon more and more in our Enterprise.

Bodmin Moor and The Cheesewring

We decided that today was a great day for a walk, it wasn’t raining and it wasn’t too cold, just a normal mild December day. The destination was Bodmin moor, just a short drive from where we are staying with family in Cornwall. I had been told there was a large ‘Cheesewring’ rock formation on the top of a hill and with such a peculiar description I needed little more in the way of invitation to go and see it for myself!

We parked at a small car park in the village of Minions (yes, like from the film), I believe the car park belongs to the Minions Heritage Project and is located here. The walk from the car to the Cheesewring is around a mile, in a north-north-west direction across marshy moorland, it’s pretty easy to find. Scattered across the route were sheep, cows and even wild horses, the marshland was covered in very strange crater-like holes, some of which were really quite picturesque and almost creepy!

The walk didn’t take too long although the walk up the granite-ridden hill towards the actual Cheesewring formation was a bit more demanding it was certainly an easy walk for most able people. The rock formation itself is completely natural, known as a Tor and is formed through weathering of the granite rock, which is quite unbelievable given the scale and height of the thing. It really is quite impressive and even more so for something that’s completely natural.

My hope was to climb on top of the rocks and stand for a picture, but on closer assessment it really isn’t something that could be scaled without assistance. They really are quite high and towards the middle there is a larger protruding rock that hinders any attempt to climb up! There is a smaller rock formation slightly higher on the same hill that is much less complex and can be climbed to provide a fantastic view of the moor, in the distance you can just about make out Plymouth Sound and the Tamar Valley.

The Cheesewring is not the only worthy sight close to Minions, there is a group of Megalithic stones known as The Hurlers which are completely accessible and similar to the famous Stonehenge although on a smaller scale, they are quite impressive and although I cannot find a reliable source on age they’re certainly incredibly old. In addition to this there are a plethora of Cornish mines scattered across the moor and beyond in varying states of ruin.

If you’re after a short walk in east Cornwall then this is perfect, it has a great balance of things to see and do whilst also providing stunning views across Cornwall and Devon. Oh, and of course there’s no better way to top it off with a nice cold pint at a pub, we stopped off at the ‘Who’d Have Thought It Inn’ a St Austell Brewery pub with great service and even better beer.

BrewDog Leeds - Review

My close friend @geekyjames and I are unequivocal fans of BrewDog, the Scottish craft beer company. Known for their iconic Punk IPA beer and brash attitude towards typical business convention they are without doubt one of the most notable new breweries globally. The company is expanding rapidly and has just opened a brand new brewery in Columbus, Ohio, looking to begin their expansion in the USA - as impressive as that expansion is, @geekyjames and I are quite content exploring their more local bars and our latest is Leeds in the North of England, a town neither of us had visited before.

I’ll start by saying Leeds took us both by surprise with its fantastic craft beer scene, there were several absolutely fantastic bars dotted across the city. Brew Dog Leeds continues this trend and occupies an absolutely perfect central location just south of Leeds Corn Exchange. The interior space of the bar follows the typical BrewDog style, exposed stained wood work, harsh metal fixtures and raw brickwork. The iconic tattoo-like painted walls are prevalent throughout with the downstairs area featuring a large dominating solid stone bar with high-table seating and a prominent black spiral stair case. Upstairs there is a beer-chiller room, the beer kegs are brought up using an electric winch, which I thought was most novel! Upstairs offers a more intimate and relaxed space, with booth style seating offering retro computer games. The room has a high ceiling with exposed rafters making the space feel very large despite its small size.

BrewDog2.JPG

We visited at peak time on a Tuesday evening and the bar was busy but by no means full (others in the area were) which provided good ambience without being oppressive, we were easily able to hold a conversation and have good fun with the Super Nintendo!

Undoubtedly one of our favorite of BrewDog’s bars this was a complete gem and we will certainly be back to visit again. Leeds also has a unique BrewDog spot called ‘ShuffleDog’ which we didn't have time to visit but look forward to dropping by in the near future.

Our First Home

Quite frankly I'm confused as to why this was not on the list - it has been one of the most exciting, stressful, rewarding and challenging things that I/we have ever done. As I write, we're just over two weeks in and it's only now beginning to feel real.

Victoria and I had lived in a relatively small flat together for just over four years - almost all of our relationship. Our little flat had became a huge part of our life; through it we studied, travelled, pursued our career goals and built new friendships. We had many happy and historical moments together here, be it crazy St Valentine's Dinners, Christmas mornings or Surprise Champagne. Of course we had sadder moments too, which will always have a moment in our hearts. The flat, as it become known was something that facilitated a huge and important part of our lives; we entered as teenagers and left as young adults, professionals and with a enormously strong relationship and bond. The flat as it is now clear to us was our incubator, a small compact space providing us all the life support we need to pull through and make it in life.

Many people have asked me if I was sad about leaving, though I never felt sad I did feel aprehension for what the future holds. The feeling of aprehension was outwieghed however by the feeling of gratitude, for the space that allowed us to succeed and for those who continually support us.

Our new home couldn't be more perfect, it's everything that we wished for. The location is in the village where we both grew up, right by the River Medway and close to family. We have an office, a garden and a brilliant pub around the corner. The sense of community has taken me away, something I never realised we should even look for when buying a house. Yesterday we watched the annual fireworks at Medway Yacht Club, a great evening and only 5 minutes walk away.

I eagerly await writing more posts sharing what I hope will be more happy and exciting memories.