Opening Session
Time Square, New York city, today sees the commencement of F5 Agility 2014. Beginning with a recap of 2013 and looking forward to 2014/15 from CEO and President, John McAdam, and Sr VP of Sales, Chris Deardurff.

Next on stage was Joe Theismann, former quarterback of the National Football League and Canadian Football League. Joe shared inspiring stories of courage and success in addition to, with a stroke of comic genius, questioning the support of rival team supporters in the crowd - his gibes at the lonely Cleveland supporter having much of the room in stitches.

Joe closed out his talk sharing stories of the importance of collaboration and contribution and, most importantly attitude, ending with the statement, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”.

Many Rivelo, EVP, Marketing & Business Development took the stage next. Acknowledging the tough spot following Joe Theismann, Rivelo talked about the newer technology challenges of services communicating with other services both in a commercial perspective and in the home, citing his ability to change the temperature in is Seattle home from his cell phone here in New York.

Following discussion of the new availability and security concerns that come with the Internet of Things, he referred to a conversation with a customer earlier today who explained they were definitely behind SDN but, they had evolved beyond it already and are now focused on Software Defined Infrastructure, on solving the whole datacenter problem, and not just the network.

Alliance Partners
VP of Business Development, Calvin Rowland took the stage, and with him a couple of bar stools and the commencement of the technology alliance partner panel discussions. Rowland’s first asking Manny Rivelo to return to the stage and with him CTO of VMware, Ben Fathi, who explained VMware’s strategy of taking the intelligence out of the hardware and into software. Of delivery Compute, Storage & Network in x86 hardware managed via policy. This is VMware’s SDDC vision.

Fathi mentioned a number of Openstack announcements at VMworld in a coupe of weeks from now, and some work they have been doing with Linux container company, Docker.

The next alliance partner to join the stage was Cisco’s SVP , Soni Jiandani, who joined Manny and Calvin to talk about Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI). Jiandani shared the importance of app centricity, ‘system driven networks’, describing the reality that networks are and will consist of both physical and virtual elements. That, most importantly, whatever the form factor, they must be policy driven and application focused. Rivelo, supporting this vision, shared real world customer scenarios whereby innovation is stalled due to most ops staff working 80% of the time on break/fix due to a lack of policy focus.

Soni, addressing the audience, asked what if we could give you a network with zero-touch provisioning? What if we could have the network let us know when architectural change will be needed based on its self-awareness and intelligent telemetry. What if the network can understand the richness of F5’s iApps application fluency and if all of these elements could be managed via an app centric policy with the entire network.

Calvin asked Soni to share her thoughts on alliances and on open standards. Tackling open standards first, Soni explained that Cisco solutions are based on IP (Internet Protocol), a standard that everyone is familiar with. She then explained the extensibility and open source contributions that Cisco is heavily invested in, citing OpenStack and OpenDaylight as examples.

Rivelo, then closed out with confirmation that these are all touch point between F5 and Cisco. Manny, a former employee of Cisco, explained how strong the alignment is between our visions.

Solution Expo
After a short break we travel to the Solution Expo to join our sponsors, customers and partners for food and discussion before a good nights sleep and a full day of talks hosted by numerous F5 subject matter experts.

Tomorrow has me hosting the ‘Journey to the Cloud’ sessions. If you can make it, please stop by!