Cisco Catalyst 9500 Series Switches Reviews

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May 11, 2021
Sébastien Vandenbussche | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
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  • Catalyst 2960 X/XR Series
  • Catalyst 9500 Series
Cisco Catalyst 9500 Series Switches are both used in our infrastructure to fulfill 4 main goals:
- Wired and wireless access to end-users of our hospitality (fairs/congress)
- Provide up to 10gbps connectivity between nodes
- Network connectivity inside our offices
- Provide a strong resilient network and infrastructure (vm's, access points, ups).

This with the support of our provider (proximus)
  • Excellent quality (hardware and software)
  • Very good support (provider/cisco TAC)
  • Long-lasting
  • Sometimes expensive depending the features needed (hardware or software)
  • Fans always noisy
  • Monitoring solution (prime) sometime a little bit long to configure
Very well designed for fixed infrastructures. However, might be a plus for Cisco Catalyst 9500 Series Switches to gather information around the world about venues/concert/hospitalities/congresses, the way they proceed and/or operates. The IT in this field of "Networking" is very recent and expands at an increases growth very quickly. The desires of end-customers might change within a week or a day, and they need to reconfigure the switching side cans be easier (ie: cron's, easiest QoS, P2P or not, ...)
We use virtualization for almost all our servers and Cisco Catalyst 9500 Series Switches gives a huge leap in the bandwidth: we did come 12 years ago from a 100/1000bmps infrastructure to a full 10gbps infrastructure. Improvements in terms of virtualization (vMotions) but also IOPS on server (needed by appliances) have been sustained by this great product.
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March 18, 2021
Girgis Hady | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
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  • Catalyst 9500 Series
We are using Cisco Catalyst Switches 9500 series as a core switch for our Campus - it gives us the stability and resilience in building our campus network. Cisco 9500 series gives us the opportunity to double our network performance, throughput, and capabilities, with a great bandwidth ports up to 100G.
  • Great performance.
  • High port density.
  • High bandwidth capabilities.
  • Some changes in solution than before.
  • Needs some training to gain new knowledge.
Cisco Catalyst Switches 9500 Series fits perfectly in medium to large companies as a core or aggregation switch with the benefit of virtual stack - you can use two of them as a one switch for expansion, durability and high availability. It gives you the flexibility to use all Catalyst Series features with a great throughput and high performance with high interface bandwidth.
While Cisco Catalyst Switches 9500 series had designed to use it with automation and DNA solution, we still didn't apply the DNA on our campus as it also need other items to be replaced on our network. However to be ready is a good thing. That's why we acquire 9500 series to be ready when we go for the automation era and implement DNA.
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May 01, 2021
Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
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  • Catalyst 9500 Series
Currently, the 9500 Series is used as well as core switches layer 3 in some factories, and some distribution layer 2 in some major Campus. This is to address the Virtual Stack topology. It's perfectly suitable to replace the 4500X VSS topology. It gives us the opportunity to win in terms of throughput and network performance.
  • Virtual Stack ability
  • High speed uplink (40 and 100 giga)
  • Very good performance
  • A bit different than VSS, so need a bit of training
  • Licence cost
  • Meraki interoperability
Those models are designed to replace distrib layer 2 and core switches layer 3. They are very powerful and very reliable. The Virtual Stack is not so difficult to build and gives good performance for downstream switches. They can also allow servers to be interconnected via port-channels 2 different cabinets, for an ESX for example.
We really recently acquired and deployed them. I hope in the very [near] future when we have more time we'll be able to "play" with DNA center and enjoy all the benefits of this new tool [so] that we can win some precious time and that DNA center will help us to manage the network more effectively. Looking forward to having more time.
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March 31, 2021
Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 8 out of 10
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  • Catalyst 9500 Series
We use them as our core distribution network layer 2/3 switches with [the] future vision of rolling out SD Access. We see it as the future proof platform which is highly scalable due to stacking capabilities. It is a perfect fit for our active data centres. [These] series provide you high stability.
  • Stacking
  • SD access
  • Security
  • Switching capcity
  • Bandwidth
Cisco Catalyst 9500 Series Switches are well suited for small enterprises if you are not looking nor have [a] need for extreme bandwidths but you have SD access on your agenda. And vice versa, if you have a high demand for traffic throughput - you should consider [the] Nexus series.
Cisco Catalyst 9500 Series Switches do allow you to enable time-saving automation due to being SD Access capable, but you need to have this agenda on your table. It certainly allows you to scale due to its stacking capability and saves rack space as it is only 1 RU in height.
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December 14, 2020
Daniel Aldridge | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
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  • Catalyst 9500 Series
These [Cisco Catalyst] 9500C-40X units are used for high speed link aggregation and for small scale data center core switching. The main problem these switches resolved was a small scale solution to the lack of 40Gbps+ stand alone interconnect networking.
  • Documentation
  • Support
  • Stability
  • Ease of configuration
  • The 9500C does not have dedicated stackwise, in order to stack these switches you must consume some of the available ports on the switch itself.
  • Virtual Stackwise is a little cumbersome to configure and get running properly
  • The newest iteration of Catalyst switches REQUIRE the DNA licensing platform, even though it will not be used.
The [Cisco Catalyst 9500 Series Switches] is very well suited for datacenter core and distribution models, they work very well as a replacement for the 3850 switches that many smaller organizations use for core switching.

The 9500 series also works very well as a top of rack aggregation switch for SFP and QSFP connectivity.
The 9000 series of switches do require the purchase of DNA licensing, even though you and your organization do not currently or many not even intend to use it in the future. The realization of this certainly made for a pause when considering the product. If you are a larger organization that stands up racks of equipment monthly, these features will certainly be for you. But for small to mid sized organizations may see very little value added from this required expense.
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December 14, 2020
Alejandro Pineda | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
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  • Catalyst 9500 Series
The Cisco Catalyst 9500 are our distribution switches were all the access switches are connected. Since they are able to support a high density 40Gbps port are perfect for this function. That high density of port helps us a lot to reduce the footprint on our datacenter reducing the cost in cooling and energy.
  • Great bandwidth.
  • Port density.
  • Available ports for 10GBs, 40GB and 100GB.
  • License cost of ports.
One of the best benefits of the Cisco Catalyst 9500 is the support of the different type of ports, these really help to reduce the cost to buy a different solution for each business need. There will be a high transactional platform that will need a high thought put port like 40GB or solution that will need less, but with the Catalyst 9500 you will not need an extra switch and consolidate all in one switch.
One of the capabilities is the time saving automation since you can prepare a switch creating a template from other that are in production that help the reduce the time of new implementation and to scale up the core network.
Read Alejandro Pineda's full review
December 03, 2020
Bill Holmberg | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
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  • Catalyst 9500 Series
The speed and versatility is really great--SFP ports for either copper or fiber, 1GB, 10GB, or 25GB. They are rock solid switches that run our core and run 24/7/365 for years without issue. The new user interface is great, and you can also use the old SSH CIOS commands too.
  • Fast switching
  • Constant uptime
  • Variable port configurations
  • Easy changes
  • High availability and failover
  • Incorporate more of the Meraki reporting
  • Continue to improve the UI
  • Cost is still high
Great for core switching between hosts and SAN--not really appropriate for end-user cubicles direct. The cost per port and the cost of SFP+ modules is best left to the server room, as opposed to the aggregation switches.
Since we are entirely a VMware shop, the ability to handle all of the traffic from all the virtual servers has been fantastic, and the ability to upgrade the port connectors to match the variety of interconnects from switches, servers, blade hosts, and storage has made the use of the Cisco Catalyst 9500 Series Switches a dream.

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December 09, 2020
Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
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  • Catalyst 9500 Series
Cisco Catalyst 9500 Series Switches are used by my organization as the backbone or core of our enterprise network switching. We implemented these switches to replace the our Cisco 6509 Series Core Switches. The use of the Cisco Catalyst 9500 Series Switches allowed for increased bandwidth between our various distribution points across our organization while adding other additional benefits.
  • Cisco Catalyst 9500 Series Switches are capable of 10g/40g with a great selection of ports for these speeds.
  • The Cisco Catalyst 9500 Series Switch is a very capable piece of kit, supporting a lot of Cisco's new feature sets.
  • Cisco IOS is the gold standard for switch operating systems.
  • When initially implementing the new Cisco Catalyst 9500 Series Switches, we had issues where features promised were not delivered until a later firmware release
  • Issues with some parts of Cisco TAC providing different resolutions to the same issues that contradicted themselves
We actively use Cisco Catalyst 9500 Series Switches in a dual-active pairing through StackWise. For a medium-sized organization such as ours, the connectivity options that Cisco Catalyst 9500 Series Switches provide are more than sufficient for backbone speeds between our various distribution points across our institution.

I do not believe these switches are for those feint of heart or those not already used to Cisco IOS-based devices. Minor configuration errors, as with any switch, have great potential for bringing your business down to its knees.
We have used Cisco Catalyst 9500 Series Switches as the beginning of our processes to start automating processes within the networking area of our organization. While we have automated a lot of areas from other parts of infrastructure (servers, application deployments, etc.) the Cisco Catalyst 9500 Series Switches were our first stop into creating automation efforts within our networking stack. These efforts are helped by the ability to use Python module on the Cisco Catalyst 9500 Series Switches.
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December 04, 2020
Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
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  • Catalyst 9500 Series
We use Cisco 9500 for our core infrastructure. They have been chosen with Cisco after consultation and advice, they are proper size and have enough performance for our needs. They are easy to configure and we have connected to them database servers and few other distribution switches and they work really well, so far no issues with software or hardware.
  • High data transfer.
  • Easy switch between nodes in redundancy/stack pair.
  • Great Cisco support.
  • Initial high cost as its Cisco and you can find other vendor much cheaper.
  • You have to buy Cisco DNA even if you do not want to use it at start which increases the cost.
Communication between web servers and database servers or just doing replication of database where you need to get proper speeds so all copy in lightning fast speeds. This is how we use it and I think this is how I would recommend to use it. Also they can be used as core for your large office infrastructure.
We do not use Cisco automation - DNA as we already use other product for automation. We have other vendor products so using this solution only on one part makes no sense. If you will be using automation from Cisco you have to be vendor lock which I do not recommend but it depends on company specific environment. Cisco build for years good switches and I hope they will stay this way.
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January 29, 2020
Idan Malei | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
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  • Catalyst 9500 Series
We use Cisco Catalyst 9500 Series Switches for backbone and aggregate floor switches, stacked with StackWise Virtual, and we used 10G-40G ports.
  • Easy to config
  • Fast
  • Stackwise
  • Rollback
Cisco Catalyst 9500 Series Switches has various models to fit anywhere.
I'm hoping to learn about automation.
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January 29, 2020
Franck Labbe | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
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  • Catalyst 9500 Series
We use Cisco Catalyst 9500 Series Switches in a MAN MPLS loop for our customer MAN.
  • Routing
  • Mpls
  • Better sfp compatibility
The Cisco Catalyst 9500 Series Switches work very well for our campus core network.
We didn't use automation.
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June 15, 2020
Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
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  • Catalyst 9500 Series
We are using the Catalyst 9500 as core switches. We have them in a virtual stack and they have been working very well since migrating to them almost 3 years ago. We use them to connect our edges, data center, IOT networks as well as all of the other remote switches.
  • The virtual stacking works really well.
  • Speed and performance have been great.
  • The build of IOS-XE they are running has been bug free.
  • We did have some bugs in older versions where memory was running up on them. This was fixed with new IOS updates.
  • We did see some limitations with the virtual stacking, but I believe they have expanded their capabilities.
We moved from a Nexus 5k to Cisco Catalyst 9500 Series Switches. They served our needs better than the Nexus 5k and were much easier to use. I would say if you had heavy data center needs you would still need to look at a Nexus series but if you want an all-around great performing Campus switch, this is the one to look at. In my case, I didn't need high port density but did need the performance so it was a great fit for me.
Doing on-the-go upgrades from the web GUI has been able to save me time and the ability to reboot each switch one at time is really another time-saver. I have also been gaining some insights with what is going on the network by adding it to Cisco DNA Center.
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June 17, 2020
Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
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  • Catalyst 9500 Series
We use them as our new edge-core devices where we can do routing and it gives us the flexibility to have high speed interconnects to our edge closets. This solves the problems of not worrying to have a big chassis to implement and configure, and it has the opportunity to have a virtual chassis.
  • Virtual chassis
  • Ease of configuration
  • Integration into DNA
  • Licensing needs to get fixed, too many options.
  • Make software updates easier.
  • Make the virtual chassis bigger.
  • Support third party optics without having to get traceback errors.
To get a high-speed switch with layer 3 routing, this is the switch for you. It is easy to set up and implement quickly. You can use the right to use licensing for the most part to get the features you need to get up and running. The drawbacks are getting the licensing and the lead time is out there aways.
We have started to utilized the automation properties of Cisco DNA, and these switches can be deployed through DNA in the fabric. The first pair we used, we set up manually, and look to implement our future switches this way to make it easier for the future. We are still waiting for the benefits to appear.
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October 30, 2019
Orlando Rosas | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
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  • Catalyst 9500 Series
They represent the core of our network, all the communication of our critical services crosses this equipment. The problem that it represents today is that administration becomes complex as we integrate more remote sites with the same technology. Administration via command line becomes an extensive and complex job.
  • Throughput
  • Redundancy
  • Security
  • Modular
  • Pricing
  • Port density
  • Administration
Well suited for large enterprise core and distribution switches, scenarios with large throughput demand, critical services and 24x7 operations.
Less appropriate for small enterprises and OT industry, these switches are not useful and it becomes expensive to mostly have them in small enterprises. For OT the physical environment does not allow for a switch like 9500.
We have been working with Cisco switches for a while now. Our experience with the 9500 series has always been good. They are very stable and powerful switches. All of our critical services are based on a 9500 and we’ve [only] had two breakdowns, this is a good product and fits perfectly for our standards.
Read Orlando Rosas's full review
September 26, 2019
girgis hady | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
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Verified User
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  • Catalyst 9500 Series
We are using Cisco devices all over our network, and use the Cisco Catalyst 9500 series as our core switch. We use 2 devices with virtual stack to provide high availability and dual connection to each access switch to provide fully redundant connectivity. Also, we use these switches as a DHCP server, NTP server, VTP server to all network switches and users.
  • High performance.
  • High-density ports.
  • Great availability of features.
  • Provide more documentation.
Cisco Catalyst Switches are suitable for campus network to connect users to the network, I prefer Cisco Catalyst 9500 for the core switches and Cisco Catalyst 9200 for the access switches to connect users to it. Catalyst Switches are less appropriate in a data center connectivity due to the high performance needed inside the Data Center, so Nexus switches are better there.
We Haven't used the automation feature in the Cisco Catalyst 9500 Series yet, but hopefully, we will use it in the future and benefit from it.
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June 27, 2019
Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 8 out of 10
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  • Catalyst 9500 Series
We are currently using CAT 9500-40X and 9500-32C at our campus and branches. The switches are used at either distribution or core layer.
  • It supports programmability
  • It supports 10, 40, 100 Gig interfaces
  • It can be used as fusion router in the SDA deployment
  • 9500-32C is not supported in the DNA
  • There are some bugs on the stackwise virtual stacking uses. The stacks get splitted and manual reboot is required to fix it
9500 is well suited if the requirement is for fiber ports. The 9500 has only fiber ports. The chip sets on the 9500 are powerful. So, they are recommended on the aggregation layer on the larger deployment at the campus or branches. However, they are not suited if there are requirements for copper ports and traffic load is not huge.
We haven't used any virtualization and programmability features of the CAT 9500 yet. However, we are planning to use programming/API to configure and manage the switches. Right now we are using DNA Center for automating the switches deployment.
Cisco TAC engineers are very responsive and supportive.
It has great potential. It can support 10, 40, 100 Gig ports. The chipset are high processing capabilities.
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October 30, 2019
Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
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  • Catalyst 9500 Series
At my organization Cisco Catalyst is used as an interconnecting devices for our complex security solutions. The 9500 Series has excellent performance stability benefits.
-------
Cisco Catalyst se encuentra interconectando una solución de seguridad compleja con excelentes prestaciones de estabilidad desempeño
  • High performance | Desempeño
  • Very stable | Estabilidad
  • Very reliable | Confiabilidad
  • Virtual Stack Wise
  • Precios
  • Stack
Para interconectar dispositivos que necesiten alta velocidad de procesamiento es ideal. // Their ideal use is for interconnecting devices that require a high processing speed.
Mi organizacion no ha sacado provecho de estas ventajas // My organization has not utilized any of these advantages.
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February 04, 2019
Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
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  • Catalyst 9500 Series
We decided to implement them to manage our throughput and security needs. The Cat9K family allows us to better enforce our policies with software-defined segmentation approach. We were also interested in getting more information about encrypted traffic without adding inline appliances that reduce the scalability and increase costs. We're planning to integrate it with our Stealthwatch installation that already leverages the netflow traffic generated by the latest switching and routing Cisco family.
  • Programmability
  • Analytics of Encrypted Traffic
  • Software Defined Access
  • Security
  • Netflow
  • Cost
I suggest using these switches only if you want to benefit from the power of network programmability or if you want to implement policies across your campus (and not just the traditional perimeter) and consider the network as a critical element of your business, for which you need infrastructure that is scalable, resilient and quick to reprogram.
The automation of the catalysts has allowed us to standardize the procedures and scripts developed over the years by our staff. In this way we have sped up the procedures from hours to minutes, allowing to concentrate the OpEx on other more innovative activities. Standardization has also made it possible to spread these practices to new recruits, untying unofficial scripts from senior staff.
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May 21, 2019
Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
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  • Catalyst 9500 Series
I implemented a dual 9500 HA redundancy setup to replace the old 6500's that were being used as the core switches. Upon initial inspection, the Nexus 3k looked to be a better fit for our purpose, however, it came at a very steep price point. Cisco Catalyst 9500 Series Switches was a great alternative as it had all the software-defined network integration that was needed to start the Cisco DNA journey.
  • Throughput.
  • Software-defined.
  • Analytics.
  • Security.
  • Price.
Cisco Catalyst 9500 Series Switches are definitely a campus grade core/distribution switch depending on your speed requirements.
This was definitely the case after we had implemented DNA along with ISE in the environment. The integration and automation from a deployment and security aspect have truly been a time-saving benefit. The level of insight that it gives is an amazing feature that not only saves time on a day to day operational perspective but also a compliance point.
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What is Cisco Catalyst 9500 Series Switches?

The Cisco Catalyst 9500 Series is presented by the vendor as the first 100/40-Gbps switch purpose built for the enterprise campus, and recognized as CRN's 2017 Overall Network Product of the Year. Designed for security, the Internet of Things (IoT), and the cloud, the vendor describes their Catalyst 9500 fixed-core switches as high-density building blocks for a next-generation, intent-based network.
Categories:  LAN Switches

Cisco Catalyst 9500 Series Switches Competitors

HPE Networking Switches, Dell PowerConnect Switches, Ruckus ICX Switches (formerly Brocade ICX Switches)

Cisco Catalyst 9500 Series Switches Technical Details

Operating Systems: Unspecified
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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Cisco Catalyst 9500 Series Switches?

Cisco offers the Catalyst 9500 series of campus LAN switches.

Who uses Cisco Catalyst 9500 Series Switches?

The most common users of Cisco Catalyst 9500 Series Switches are from Enterprises and the Telecommunications industry.