I’ve never been to a Live! meet­ing before. I’m fas­ci­nated by how each user group has it’s own per­son­al­ity. Live is a lot more like Microsoft TechEd than Dream­Force: largely male geeks, look to be in some­what bet­ter shape than pro­gram­mers. What­ever wor­ries the indus­try has about Cisco, they weren’t appar­ent here. Cisco blew out the atten­dance with a 30% growth over last year (15,000). No scrimp­ing was evi­dent at the show with a big and loud exhi­bi­tion and danc­ing girls warm­ing up the keynote crowd (which began, by the way, with a Flash Mob includ­ing dancers dressed as atten­dees and ushers).

Cham­bers seemed some­what sub­dued in the keynote although a sub­dued Cham­bers is still very ani­mated by any other stan­dard. The only real news in the keynote con­tent was the ele­va­tion of secu­rity to a first pri­or­ity. Video of course is still impor­tant; the Flip was not men­tioned. Sep­a­rately Cisco announced a major refresh to the Cat­a­lyst 6500 (first shipped in 1999 and remark­ably rep­re­sent­ing $43B of rev­enue). The refresh doesn’t seem a retreat from the Nexus 7000 as much as a way of offer­ing a lower-performance, lower-price option to exist­ing cus­tomers. I asked peo­ple about “Jaw­breaker” (the rumored new data cen­ter offer­ing) but no one was talk­ing although there was some “wink-wink, nod-nod, do you know what I mean.”

What’s still not clear yet is what Cisco’s busi­ness strat­egy is going for­ward, net of lay­offs and shed­ding of busi­nesses. Cham­bers is doing a Q&A with the indus­try ana­lysts later this morn­ing but I’m not hold­ing my breath.