Podcast review – Cisco Champion Radio

Cisco Champions Radio is a spin-off from Cisco community recognition program that get members from the community and SME’s together to discuss Cisco related products/releases, tools and educational services. It covers the entire gamut of Cisco products from its core routing and switching to the data center to unified communications. The technology and product podcasts are interspersed with community related information. One of particular note that was very interesting was S2 E7 – Creating videos & podcasts as IT professionals. This podcast has a number of Cisco community members that either run, edit or produce their own podcasts or video content and go into a discussion around the best tools for the job. The main comment from everyone involved was for others to just make content, get out there and begin to make content. Yes it may not be super quality at the beginning but you will improve over time. The other primary comment from everyone was to make sure that you get good audio. Even for video content the visuals can be jumpy or glitchy but if the audio drops out so will your listeners/viewers.

And that leads me to my one complaint about Cisco Champion Radio. The audio. The discussion is carried out over Talkshoe and it just sounds really tinny. There are times where it sounds a bit fuller but generally it’s tinny. I know that the producers are looking at other options and it was even part of the episode 7 discussion so hopefully in the future another platform can be utilised. It’s not the first community podcast I’ve heard run across Talkshoe which has had a similar audio quality. The APAC Virtualization podcast also suffered a similar fate. Which just goes to show how compelling the content for both podcasts is if you can sit through tinny audio.

So what are Cisco Champions? Cisco Champions are the equivalent to VMware vExperts. They are community members that discuss, review, promote and critique Cisco’s product range. I think their own description is far better at explaining it than i can:

Cisco Champions are a network of people who are passionate about Cisco and enjoy sharing their knowledge, expertise, and thoughts across the social web and with Cisco. The Cisco Champions program encompasses different areas of interest and geographical areas within the company, providing a variety of opportunities for Champions to participate in the program. To learn more about the Cisco Champions program go to

The format of the podcast is a questions and answers style podcast with one leader from the Cisco Champions program that mediates the conversation and keeps things moving. There are usually 2 or 3 guests on the show, one being an SME from Cisco in a particular product/area and the others being Cisco Champions that work for other vendors or service providers. The content of the episodes range from deep technical to high-level overviews. All the guests are really clued in and have a deep understanding on the subject being discussed and provide some real food for thought. I’d recommend listening to S2 Episode 4 about VIRL for a prime example of this. It was a really in-depth discussion and really made me want to go and get my hands on VIRL. I was thinking about it before but now it’s definitely on the cards. One of the advantages of Cisco Champion Radio is that it’s not a closed podcast, it’s possible for people to join in live and listen into the discussion and ask questions to the guest. This expands the scope to the podcast to really engage with the community in real-time. Most other podcasts can only do that after the podcast has been produced. If you want to attend any of the Cisco Champion Radio episodes live you can access the details on how to attend from This is the advantage the Talkshoe does provide over some other platforms. I’m fairly new to Cisco equipment, especially considering other engineers out there, so pretty much all the content is of interest to me as I try to expand my knowledge beyond just data center technologies and into the networking sphere. Thankfully every possible product/solution is covered on Cisco Champion Radio so I’m sure if something hasn’t come up before now it won’t be long before it is covered by the team.

If you want to access any of the back-catalog of Cisco Champion Radio episodes head on over to and select a link or just add Cisco Champion Radio to your iTunes podcast list. I’d highly recommend it.



Podcast review – In Tech We Trust Podcast

I originally came to the In Tech We Trust podcast as it was mentioned by Nick Howell over on the NetApp Communities Podcast so I thought I’d check it out. In Tech We Trust is a relatively new podcast that is hosted and run by some podcasting stalwarts from the IT industry in Nigel Poulton, Hans De Leenheer, Mark Farley, Gabriel Chapman and Rick Vanover. These guys have some serious IT backgrounds and knowledge to bring to the table and if you want to know what the trends are in IT, what’s the top topics to look at etc. then this is the podcast to listen to. In some recent podcasts they’ve discussed Docker, OpenStack, MesoSphere and VSAN vs VSA. That’s just the technology aspect. For me the most interesting area that the guys cover is the positioning of these products and where vendors are positioning themselves in the market. All of the presenters have an understanding of the business side of IT and provide really good insight into topics like ‘what the Cisco divorce from EMC means’ or ‘why IBM are selling off their server platform to Lenovo, can Lenovo make a play into storage?’. In order to understand the industry fully and also understand which trends are likely to become mainstream there’s a need for general IT workers to be across the business aspects of IT and not just the technical side.

There’s are a great rapport between all the presenters. Nigel Poulton is the primary host and keeps the discussions moving throughout the podcast. However, the responsibility of the main presenter moves around between the presenters from time to time and also if someone drops off or can’t make the podcast then it can still go ahead as there’s another host available. The core presenters remains the same but depending on their availability some presenters can’t make it all the time (I’m looking at you Rick Vanover!!). I think the discussions when all presenters are online are more in-depth and varied that when it’s just one or two presenters. This doesn’t diminish the podcasts where there’s just a few online though. There are times when the discussion gets heated but there are no wallflowers here, everyone gets stuck in and gives their opinion and there’s no ‘yes-men’ which I think add the most value to the podcast. It’s a discussion not a mouth-piece for how great/crap a specific product is.

The production quality of the podcast is good. There are times when people drop off and sound like their talking from the back of a cave but considering there can be up to 6 presenters on the same podcast at once then this would have to be expected. Despite this criticism I have to admit that this rarely happens. The vast majority of the time there are no issues and given that all the presenters are in different time-zones it’s amazing that they are able to produce a podcast at all. There’s some serious commitment from everyone to be able to churn out one podcast a week.

If you’re going to listen to just one podcasts to get a feel for the interactions between the guys then I’d recommend Episode 15 – Our First Annual Christmas Quiz. I was listening to this in bed last night and couldn’t stop laughing. My wife thought I was having some sort of spasm attack. I had to reassure her that a joke about 69 being your favourite number is funny no matter what age you are. Some of the other podcasts to check out are Episode 16 – 5 Trends in 2014, Episode 11 – Archiving Fibre Channel Connections to a Titsup Cloud, Episode 9 – Startups vs Big Companies, Episode 6 – Cisco Divorces EMC, Episode 5 – VSANs vs VSAs and Episode 1 – Cisco Wars and EMC Shipping Alpha Code.

If you have some free time definitely catch up on an In Tech We Trust podcast, I really don’t think you’ll regret it. You can find the podcasts either over at the iTunes store or on PodBean.

Podcast review – NetApp Communities Podcast

Over the past couple of months I’ve been getting more and more into Tech podcasts. I had listened to one or two from time to time but never really kept up with any of them. Since I’ve been taking public transport more and more (as well as getting tired of listening to the same music on Spotify) I’ve been really enjoying passing the time listening to some tuned in tech-heads going into whats new on the market, deep-dive technical discussion and general chit-chat about the state of IT and what lies ahead. Some of the podcasts have been insightful and extremely educational. I’ve gone through a few different podcasts and have settled on the below list as my staple diet. I’m going to review each of the podcasts and highlight what I like about them.

  • NetApp Communities Podcast
  • Packet Pushers Podcast
  • In Tech We Trust Podcast
  • Cisco Champion Radio
  • ProfessionalVMware – vBrownBag

So, NetApp Communities Podcast. This runs on an almost weekly basis and is primarily hosted by Nick Howell (@datacenterdude) with extra insight coming from Glenn Sizemore (@glnsize) and Pete Flecha (@pedroarrow). I haven’t listened to every single podcast but I believe the format has changed in recent times to be more around a core group of guys and then SMEs for various product teams or vendors join in to discuss some of the offerings of NetApp and it’s partner vendors and also have a look at the general IT landscape. For example, recently after Cloud OnTap was announced at NTAP Insight the chief architect Kevin Hill joined the guys for a discussion of its features, capabilities and how it extended the NetApp portfolio. It gave greater detail as to what Cloud OnTap could achieve which was not necessarily obvious in the released documentation. Another great part of the Communities Podcast is the Recaps that take place at the large vendor conferences such as Insight, VMWorld and TechEd. It’s not always possible to stay on top of all the events out there and the amount of information and news that gets produced by these events so it’s great to have a digestible, bite-sized nugget that can be consumed quickly and means you can keep up to date with the latest announcement.

There’s a great dynamic between the presenters and one of the things I really like is the complete lack of ego this guys have. I’ve listened to a number of podcasts where the speakers have some sort of God complex and there’s a bit of a pissing contest not only between the presenters but also between the various vendors. There’s no attacking vendors in this podcast and that another thing I really like. There’s a definite focus on NetApp products and services and the guys do a great job providing in-depth details of these as well as highlighting the positioning of the products. But there is no attacking other vendors. It’s about highlighting what’s good about NetApp and its integration into other products/vendors, and that’s it. Don’t get me wrong, there’s quite a bit of ‘NetApp are great’ moments but I getting the feeling its more out the pride these guys have in their jobs and in the company they work for. There’s an obvious love affair here between NetApp and its employees. These guys sound happy and sound like they love their jobs and it really shows.

The production quality of the podcast is top-class. Even at the Recap events which are sometimes recorded live on the conference floor the quality of the sound recording is good. There is the odd time where isn’t not fantastic but they are few and far between. On the whole it’s a great recording and rarely do you have to suffer through listening to someone talking inside a tin-can.

This is a great podcast for anyone interested in NetApp and a good one for anyone that’s not. Give it a try on whatever podcast app you use or you can access them over on datacenterdude podcasts