2nd Annual Cisco Connect VT

Did you miss the 2nd Annual Cisco Connect VT event? Well, sit back, relax, and read this article to catch up on everything you missed.

The first thing you missed was an amazing overall event. The local area crew from Cisco, lead by no other than event champion, and Cisco AM, Jenny Phelps, came together with some other amazing sponsors:

Additional Cisco organizations present:

This year’s event started with morning sessions. Attendees could choose from Meraki Lab, HyperFlex Lab, Umbrella/Duo presentation, Webex Admin lab, and a threat analytics lab. I personally did the Meraki Lab and attended the Umbrella and Dup Lunch and Learn.

The main event kicked off around 2pm. Jenny gave a fantastic opening speech speaking to how small and wonderful the IT community is in VT.

The first presentation was “21st Century Network Security. The talk spoke about the ever expand threat landscape and the various technologies Cisco is implementing to try and prevent attacks and hacks. Most notable was Umbrella and how they aim to stop attacks at the DNS level.

The next presentation was from Duo. Cisco’s aquisition of Duo completed in early October. Duo is a great add to the Cisco Security portfolio and brings exceptional multi factor authentication. Duo works with many major SaaS and on-prem technologies. They even provide a single point of entry for your end users and from there can login to any other services your company uses, even on prem internal and/or custom applications.

Next we got a great overview of the Cisco SD-WAN portfolio, including Cisco Meraki and Viptella. SD-WAN is absolutely the way of the future, replacing expensive MPLS connections and lowering the TCO of corporate network operations, and literally saving some companies millions of dollars in infrastructure service costs.

Then we got an update from the Cisco Collaboration team. The way we work has changed. Corporate cultures are changing everywhere. The expectation was once that every worker had to sit at a desk. Today, the knowledge work can be sitting and working from anywhere. The coffee shop, the library, the beach, from home, and maybe even the office. The team showed off the new Webex interface allowing up to 25 video endpoints to connect in the same Webex meeting. The tight integration in Microsoft Exchange (also available in other mail suites) made it super easy to schedule a meeting from Outlook. Simply type “Webex” as the meeting location. After Exchange accepts the meeting Webex room details are automatically added to the meeting for all attendees.

A short break to get up, stretch, and mingle visit with sponsors and connect with other IT Pros.

After the break Cisco Meraki went through their product portfolio and demoed the Cloud Management interface.

The last presentation of the day was “Build an Intent based Data Center with Cisco.” They discussed the intent life-cycle of Learn, Adapt, and Protect. Learn the network traffic, adapt to evolving threats, and protect network assets. Cisco Validated Designs, or CVDs, were also disccused. CVDs are designs validated by Cisco. So, when products are implemented per CVDs they can get better longer term support. The end of the presentation was rounded out by Vermont’s own Orvis company IT team sharing their experience with their migration to Cisco HyperFlex. With HyperFlex they replaced 18 nodes of ESXi with just 7 HyperFlex Nodes and saved a lot of money on their VMware and Microsoft licensing costs.

After the main event was the prize giveaways. Vendors gave away Yeti Coolers filled with VT beer, American Express gifts cards, Apple Watches, and Amazon Echo products.

Then, everyone departed the Trader Dukes Hotel and headed down the street to the Guild Tavern for cocktails, food, and networking.

Overall the event was a huge success! I had the opportunity to speak with Jenny after the event and she is already thinking about next year’s Cisco Connect VT. Keep an eye on social media and watch your inbox, you do not want to miss this event!

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