Spent the week of July 21st in Anaheim for Networkers 2007. I didn't get to all the breakout sessions I would have liked, but of course the beautiful thing about networkers is that they record all the sessions and allow you to download the slides and presentations afterward.
I spent some time in the World Expo area talking to a few vendors, picking up some freebies and trying to win some prizes. I also spend some time talking to a lady who is working with the second life group within cisco. We had a great chat. SL is definitely an example of the interfaces to come. The Cisco academy had a lounge I was able to hang out in and chat with some other instructors. Made some good contacts and got some great information. In between I still managed to get to sessions on Wireless Mesh technologies, 802.1x, Data Center design and CCIE security.
The CCIE security was a techtutorial I did for 8hrs on the Monday. The instructor was none other than the guy that decides what does and doesn't go into the CCIE exam. Needless to say it was a very valuable session. The cool thing about it was that I realized I'm really not that far off from writing the exam and having a chance, but it would still require a massive studyfest to get myself to the point where I live and breathe cisco's security solutions. Anyway the instructor provided some interesting hints on what to focus on for the exam.
Another interesting session was on 802.1x and what it takes to get an enterprise into identity based networking. Lets just say that at the end of that session I realized you have to REALLY REALLY want this stuff to implement it. There are so many variables out of one vendors control that the last half of the presentations seemed like band-aid solutions on how to work around the issues. Anyway, it was enlightening as well.
My CCNP exams all expired a long time ago so took the CCNP Routing and switching composite certification exam. Man was that a long exam! Plus since this was my first time doing these testlets missed the four out of the first five questions by clicking on next instead of the 1,2,3,4,5 on the side. I asked one of the proctors if I could start again, but got shutdown. At this point I was thinking I'm done for since there are only 57 questions and you need 80% to pass. Anyway, I battled my through it and ran out of time as I was about to click on the last question so that was five questions I had lost. Well I was totally shocked to see the congratulations come up on the screen. I must have nailed all those question that I really had to think on, but wasn't sure. What a relief! 2 down and 2 to go. Although I'm not too worried about the security exam.
Although there was free food and booze, I only really got into it on one night, the first night. Happened to hook up with a cisco rep and his clients as well as some ladies from global knowledge. Well, they must have had some preauthorization for spending because we they just handed over their credit cards and said let it rip! I was introduced to my first "soco". I had no idea that's the shortened name for Southern Comfort, but hey it tasted good. However the night was still quite tame and everyone was well behaved.
The highlight of the week as always was the customer appreciation event. The brought in a bunch of female tribute bands, AC/DShe, Led Zepella and The Iron Maidens. All were excellent especially considering I'm big Maiden fan. Then, believe it or not, they brought in KISS all painted up and singing their greats. They had face painters on hand so I even had my face painted up as Gene Simmons. There were over 9000 people at this conference and they must have had about 60 busses to transport us from the hotel to where the even was located. Took about 40mins just to get there. The only down side to it all was that it was over by 11:00pm. However Kiss put on a great show.