I spent the day at the RSA show in San Francisco yesterday. It was pretty busy and we had lots of briefings with analysts and press.

The book signing sessions that we hosted with Eric Greenberg were very popular.

The show had a pretty fragmented feel to it. Interestingly, Juniper was absent from the show with the exception of a workstation within the RSA booth.

Cisco's Self Defending Network/Adaptive Threat Defense announcements were somewhat interesting. While they covered lots of areas, it did not seem to garner much attention in the press or discussion at the show other than people talking about the fact that people weren't talking about it. I sat through Cisco's presentation on Adaptive Threat Defense. In general it is an attempt to deliver a coordinated response based on negative security logic. It relies on agents on devices and communication between multiple Cisco boxes. As an side, historically we've seen that when your networking devices don't have sufficient intelligence, you turn to agents to get the job done. The market has never really embraced this approach. ATD will also require new versions of IOS to be installed, something many enterprises are reluctant to do. Cisco claimed that they are in Phase 3 of a 4 phase roll-out in this area - I found that statement to be a little puzzling - the first 3 phases must have been rolled out in "stealth mode". One of my colleagues who was also watching the presentation summed it up well when he commented on a slide showing network topology that claimed to "clean up the mess of point solutions" - he said "I thought that was the before picture". Someone else characterized the presentation as "the life on Mars presentation".

Cisco is using some of the messaging that we've adopted citing that it's all about "the secure and optimized delivery of applications". To be fair, that phrase was originally coined by Mark Fabbi at Gartner.