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.