Last week was Cisco Live US 2015 in San Diego and what a week it was. It was Auvik’s first time at the big event, and we were very excited to be there. The show didn’t disappoint. I’m not sure if Cisco Live is the biggest IT conference in North America, but with a reported 24,000 attendees it certainly has to be near the top of the list.

And the energy! It’s amazing the things that happen when you bring together network nerds by the thousands. Fun, learning, hats, tech, beer, learning, networking, and fun.

Here are some of the great things we saw, heard, and experienced while at #CLUS.

Goodbye, John Chambers

This year we said farewell to Cisco’s CEO of over 20 years. John Chambers’ yearly keynote has been a staple at Cisco Live so it was a little bittersweet to see John take the stage. His focus was on Cisco being ready for disruption and change in the digital world. With the passing of the leadership torch to incoming CEO Chuck Robbins, it’s going to be interesting to see where Cisco will go in the next few years.

Cisco employee holding a sign for John Chambers keynote CLUS 2015

Photo: Auvik Networks

Cisco VIRL (Virtual Internet Routing Lab)

VIRL is Cisco’s new emulation software that allows network administrators to work with the Cisco IOS, IOS-XR and NX-OS operating systems. I was definitely looking forward to seeing VIRL in action (both on its own and in the DevNet zone paired with Oculus) and it was just as cool as advertised. You can check out what VIRL looked like through the eyes of Oculus on Dan Bourque’s YouTube channel.

Cisco VIRL Oculus Rift simulator at CLUS 2015

Photo: Auvik Networks

The Cisco hat

After 26 years, the tradition of the Customer Appreciation Event hat is still going strong. This year, the hat was a fedora and it came in two flavors — black or white. While it lacked sparkles (a la 2011, when the show was in Las Vegas), it looked pretty stylish and was fantastic to throw on at 4am to catch your flight back home.

Cisco Live US 2015 hat

Cisco employee modeling the 2015 CLUS hat / Photo: Auvik Networks

This girl really killed it with her fedora style.

World of Solutions

Auvik staff at Auvik booth in World of Solutions hall CLUS 2015

L to R: Dana Vandepoele, Alex Hoff, Marc Morin / Photo: Auvik Networks

For the four days of the event, my home away from home was the Auvik booth in the World of Solutions exhibition hall. Without a doubt my favourite part of Cisco Live was having discussions with the IT and network pros who stopped by. You’ll never meet a more collaborative bunch of people, willing to share their knowledge and insights. See also: beer.

IT pros at Cisco Live US 2015

L to R Jody Lemoine, Dana Vandepoele, Ben Story, Jacqui Murphy, JT / Photo: Auvik Networks

We gave a lot of Auvik software demos. Before the show, we’d built a little “screensaver” to run on the TV whenever we weren’t giving demos, but we hardly ever used it because we were giving demos ALL THE TIME. It was awesome.

Cisco Live 2015 - giving software demos at Auvik booth

Photo: Auvik Networks

Equally fantastic was seeing people come back two and three times, bringing new people with them on each trip to introduce them to the fabulousness of Auvik. And having people walk up to the booth and say, “I’ve been hearing people talk about you. I’d like to see your software.” Yay! Thanks for all your votes of confidence.

Walk this way

contributed by Jacqui Murphy

Guys, Steven Tyler was totally looking forward to seeing ME at their #CLUS concert! Me. Personally.

Signed photo of Steven Tyler Aerosmith form CLUS 2015

Sadly, I couldn’t stay awake long enough on Wednesday night to catch their show — I was zonked after three days of walking, talking, and demos (see World of Solutions above). But I totally stalked this Steven Tyler impersonator.

Steven Tyler Aerosmith impersonator at CLUS 2015

Photo: Auvik Networks

One lucky Cisco Live attendee won a guitar autographed by the band. Wow. Very jealous.

“Amazingly simple, wickedly powerful”

We had a lot of fun with people trying out the Auvik tagline in different voices. Here’s Mark Kimble giving it a Dr. Evil spin.

Engineers Unplugged

contributed by Alex Hoff

I was thrilled to shoot a short segment for the Engineers Unplugged YouTube show on location at #CLUS. Scott Dickinson from ConnectWise appeared on the segment with me and together we had the chance to explain how network administrators can use Auvik with ConnectWise to resolve issues. Then we both did our best to draw a unicorn. (What do you think?)

Engineers Unplugged at CLUS 2015 Lauren Friedman Alex Hoff Scott Dickinson

Engineers Unplugged L to R: Scott Dickinson (ConnectWise), Lauren Friedman, Alex Hoff (Auvik) / Photo: Auvik Networks

And what a treat it was to meet the Engineers Unplugged host Lauren Friedman. Thanks, Lauren. Thumbs up!

No word yet on when the segment might air but follow Auvik on Twitter and we’ll keep you posted.

Racing in Cisco Partner Village

While exploring the awesome vendors in the Partner Village, Jacqui Murphy and I found race cars. It’s not every day you get to race your boss. It’s not every day you get to beat your boss in that race. (She claims she lapped me. This is not true, no matter what she may say on Twitter.) I got to put my name on the Winner’s Circle whiteboard for posterity.

car races at Cisco Partner Village CLUS 2015

I won! / Photo: Auvik Networks

See you all at Cisco Live 2016 in Las Vegas!