Cisco Live DevNet Zone: Larger Than Ever

For the past couple of Cisco Live conferences, Cisco has had a DevNet Zone. This year’s Cisco Live in San Diego was the largest to date and the DevNet Zone was proportionally larger than last year, with many new attractions and opportunities for learning. It is clear that this is an important topic for Cisco.

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At the end of 2013, Cisco announced its DevNet initiative. The company launched a Cisco Developer Network (CDN) site and allowed limited access to developers who were working on real projects, testing and training. This was right around the time that the first versions of Cisco onePK were becoming available. The goal of Cisco DevNet was to establish a community that would bring creative thinking to the world of networking and help create new and innovative applications. The goal is similar to Cisco’s Fast IT initiative to make networking, computing and storage provisioning fast to support business agility.

At Cisco Live 2014 in San Francisco, Cisco had their first DevNet Zone. At this Cisco Live you could sign up for a special low-cost attendee badge that got you limited access to only the DevNet Zone. This encouraged other people in the industry, who might not have attended Cisco Live otherwise, to attend the DevNet sessions, learn about Cisco’s APIs and start to work on coding applications. At this DevNet Zone there were 53 theater sessions, augmented collaboration demonstrations, a 24-hour hackathon, and coding workshops.

Through formation of the DevNet Zone, Cisco encouraged developers to bring their creativity and coding skills to the world of networking. The initiative also supports their traditional network engineer stalwarts by helping them avoid becoming part of the eroding IT middle class.

Also, you don’t have to attend Cisco Live to get involved and gain access to these learning resources. To get signed up as a DevNet member you simply go to the DevNet Portal, create a login or use your CCO account, and complete your profile. This provides access to Cisco’s APIs, SDKs, sandboxes and code examples. Additionally, there are a host of Learning Labs available where you can explore the DevNet software offerings.

At this year’s Cisco Live in San Diego, Cisco once again created an amazing space for the DevNet community. There was a full schedule of events taking place in this zone throughout the conference. This year’s DevNet Zone had several large classrooms and one large DevNet Theater.

The DevNet Zone also had a learning labs area that was set up with a G-Scale train in a loop that demonstrated the functionality of Positive Train Control (PTC). There were sensors around the track that would detect where the train was and relay the train’s location to an application. There were laptops set up around the train where anyone could engage in one of the DevNet Learning Labs and interact with the on-site environment.

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There was also a DevNet Demo Center this year. This area had a variety of exhibits that described different technology that Cisco and its partners have developed.

There was an entire workshop area that focused on using Cisco Virtual Internet Routing Lab (VIRL) as a platform to perform development and testing. With VIRL you can create a replica of your production environment and then perform a proof of concept and testing before deployment into a live network.

Cisco also had a DevNet Loot Scoot where attendees at different stations, sessions, workshops, labs and demos accumulated codes, credits and badges in a type of scavenger hunt. Then they could use the Loot Scoot app to enter the codes and receive some very nice prizes.

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If you weren’t able to attend Cisco Live or if you were too busy at Cisco Live to take in all that the DevNet Zone had to offer, you can still access the DevNet Learning Labs on your own time. A good way to get started is by taking the Coding 101 through Coding 210 classes. These classes offer a way to get started using RESTful APIs, learning basic Python skills, parsing XML/JSON, and gaining familiarity with common developer tools. Depending on your area of focus, you might want to delve into the collaboration, IoT, SDN or mobility topics.

Through the DevNet Learning Labs portal you can also gain access to the DevNet Sandbox, which gives you access to virtual lab equipment that you might not have access to otherwise or which might be cost prohibitive for you to set up in your own lab. These labs are available 24/7. The Sandbox gives you access to Application Policy Infrastructure Controller Enterprise Module (APIC-EM), the Open SDN Controller (OSC), Jabber, WebEx, Intercloud Fabric, and other Cisco technology.

I encourage you to explore the online DevNet resources over the next year and try to attend a Cisco Live event near you to experience first-hand the amazing DevNet community in action.

Learn more about GTRI’s Cisco Live involvement and our status as an Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) Authorized Technology Provider.