Cisco Catalyst provides a longterm stable network fabric for enterprise infrastructures.
Updated August 13, 2019

Cisco Catalyst provides a longterm stable network fabric for enterprise infrastructures.

Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Overall Satisfaction with Cisco Catalyst 9300 Series Switches

  • Catalyst 2960 X/XR Series
  • Catalyst 3850 Series
  • Catalyst 9300 Series
We use Cisco Catalyst 3850/9300. It provides a stable fabric for our internal network infrastructure. We always install these devices as switch stacks to ensure full redundancy on both power and the dataplane. The switch stacks can always be expanded with more interfaces as the installation grows. This can even be achieved without service windows and zero network outage.
  • The device profile can be modified by installed a new license, e.g. introducing new routing protocols and advanced features.
  • Features such as stackwise and power stacking makes the devices very modular and customizable.
  • Hardware is very mature and provides years of stable operation.
  • Software is constantly updated and supported.
  • The hardware is reasonably priced, however the licenses can be a surprise on the initial investment budget.
  • Leadtimes are often quite long.
  • Global list prices seems inflated and unrealistic.
  • The Clock Signal Component Issue had a negative impact on our ROI. However this was mainly an issue with our Cisco routers and firewalls.
  • The Catalyst 3850 had some issues with keeping persistent OID values. E.g. we were monitoring the power supply status on a 3850 stack, but the targeted OID values kept changing every time the stack was reloaded. There was no fix addressing this issue.
  • We had a container on a remote site where the AC had failed. The temperature went above 70 degrees Celsius and the equipment managed to still switch packages. Which was quite impressive, although the expected lifespand of the switches may have been reduced due to internal components overheating.
In our organization we're utilizing virtualization on Cisco's ENCS platform and the hypervisor platform is always accompanied by a Catalyst Switch stack, due to the limited number of physical interfaces on the ENCS hardware. We did however upgrade to the Catalyst 9300 due to its DNA center support, which we will implement next year.
We expect to take full advantage of the manageability of the Catalyst 9300 switches, during 2019 when we implement our DNA center. This will greatly improve our central management and orchestration capabilities. Until then we're still managing our infrastructure the good old way, which can be quite tedious and time consuming.
We have a few HP Procurve switches which have a very similar CLI interface. They are ok and still in production, but in our experience it’s much easier to find support online due to the volume of Catalyst switches utilized in the green energy business

Cisco is very capable of long term stable enterprise operation. Combined with Cisco's Smart Net Total Care its a very capable setup, which can be back fully operational within hours, in case of a major breakdown.

Due to the price, most of the Cisco Catalyst Switches aren't relevant for consumer installations in private homes.

Cisco Catalyst Addtional Questions

  • Providing high density interface fabric for end devices
  • Redundant switch stacks
  • Reliable switch platform
  • Product Features
  • Prior Experience with the Product
  • Existing Relationship with the Vendor
Certified staff
Configure them according to best practice utilizing the CLI.
We’re very happy with both the vendor and our regional partner re-seller.
We have access to an online portal where we can RMA devices, etc.
We use the NBD support level. It’s expensive but necessary.

Using Cisco Catalyst 9300 Series Switches

20 - They provide our end users with a reliable switch fabric. If properly cooled and powered it’ll easily run for a decade without any reloads.
6 - A Cisco certification mandatory and lots of hands on experience is also prefered.
  • We plan on utilizing the industrial versions under harsh conditions in offshore windfarms.
Because they have a great record of running stable in our production.

Evaluating Cisco Catalyst 9300 Series Switches and Competitors

We always conduct a Proof of Concept project, so that we establish trust in new products or models. But as long as the required features, price and support is good enough, we would always consider the hardware.

Cisco Catalyst 9300 Series Switches Implementation

It's essential to spend a few weeks on a Proof of Concept/Value test, to ensure that the equipment is ready for production. It's extremely hard to revert back to older hardware later. This testing period will also be a great opportunity for hardware burn-in, which will reveal any potential hardware failure due to production defects, etc.
Yes - We did an installation in our test-lab, where we conducted a number of scenarious to evaluate network convergence times, and general failover capabilities. This involved complete failure of a physical members of the switch stack, power supplies, as well as failures on a physical link level. We were not disappointed and could easily move forward from our Proof of Concept analysis.
Change management was a small part of the implementation and was well-handled - The Cisco Catalyst series are well known, and were easily implemented into our existing portfolio of networking equipment. We did however make sure to include a support contract with Cisco, so we don't have to keep spareparts on the shelfs ourselves. They usually deliver a replacement the next business day on the level we signed up for. This is plenty enough, since the installation is redundant enough to keep going even with 24 hours of failed equipment as part of the infrastructure.
  • Finding the correct software, suitable for our specific feature requirements, without being too new- or too old.

Cisco Catalyst 9300 Series Switches Training

  • Online training
  • Self-taught
Our training for Cisco switches came from a third party instructor, e.g. CBT Nuggets. This was general training on switches and not in particular only the C9300 series. Nevertheless any hands-on experience from any other Cisco switching platform, will make you feel very acquainted with the C9300. The new switch platform just enables more perfomance and features.
As long as you have general network switch experience, configuring and working with the C9300 platform will be pretty straight forward.

Configuring Cisco Catalyst 9300 Series Switches

The C9300 is a very capable switching platform, which we utilize extensively. We did however find that the software lagged one particular feature; Layer 3 subinterfaces. The good news is that Cisco just recently released a newer software version Gibraltar 16.12.01 ED, which is the initial software release with this feature. Layer 3 subinterfaces are usually only available on more expensive and beefier hardware. So this is great news and a perfect example on Cisco's continuously developement of their products.
No - we have not done any customization to the interface
No - we have not done any custom code
We plan to migrate the C9300 we already own and have deployed over to our Cisco DNA Center.

Cisco Catalyst 9300 Series Switches Support

ProsCons
Quick Resolution
Good followup
Knowledgeable team
Problems get solved
Kept well informed
No escalation required
Immediate help available
Support understands my problem
Support cares about my success
Quick Initial Response
None
Yes
We run critical energy/SCADA networks. Access to support/hardware is very time critical as any downtime is not acceptable.
Yes - Issues with spanning tree were quickly resolved in corporation with the Cisco TAC team
At one point we experienced redundancy/failover problems with an older 720 supervisor board installed in a set of Catalyst switches. TAC weren’t able to solve the issue within reasonable time, so they simple offered us a trade-in to the upgraded and newer version of the supervisor board, Sup 2T. Which solved the issues.
Excellent service!
Cisco TAC are usually very skilled and interested in solving issues, fast. Just remember to subscribe for support and use original Cisco parts.

Using Cisco Catalyst 9300 Series Switches

ProsCons
Like to use
Relatively simple
Easy to use
Technical support not required
Well integrated
Consistent
Quick to learn
Convenient
Feel confident using
Familiar
None
  • Stackwise expand as you grow. Even without reloading the switch
  • Stackpower, ising power modulets across switch chassis for redundancy.
  • Modular design for easy uplink boost, if interface density becomes too high.
  • Most Catalyst seitches are noisy and uses alot of power, so when testing or using them in an office environment, they should be installed remotely to where people are located and accessed via remote.
They are easily installed and will operate for many years.

Cisco Catalyst 9300 Series Switches Reliability

It seems like a very robust platform, which Cisco is constantly evolving with new features and possibilities. The standard network module gives the opportunity to customize the uplink interfaces, in both bandwidth and SFP type.
If you install the C9300 as a switch stack, the availability is amazing. This can even be a power stack setup, where the chassis power supplies can provide power redundancy for the other member switch chassis.
The C9300 is surfficiently spec'ed to support all the features it provides. We haven't yet experienced any hardware limitations, unless there's a loop in the network, which spanning-tree should take care of anyway.

Integrating Cisco Catalyst 9300 Series Switches

Very easy.
Comes very feature packed in a 1U chassis for seemless fresh 19" installation or upgrade from an older hardware platform with same physical footprint.
  • Cisco DNA Center
  • Cisco Enterprise Network Compute System
It was smoothly as Cisco C9300 performs and integrate like any other of their enterprise switches. We previously utilized their Catalyst 3750-X and Catalyst 3850-X switches.
  • Cisco CNA Center
The Cisco Catalyst 9300 switch comes default with an included license specifically for DNA Center integration. Hence it's fully supported. The only thing to be aware of is that it's difficult to migrate the switch into DNA center later. It should initially be rolled out as a template from DNA Center.
  • File import/export
Cisco Identity Service Engine (ISE)
Just get people on the integration team with experience from earlier Catalyst platforms.

Relationship with Cisco

We were able to get a decent discount, compared to their Global Price List. There's also the possibility to arrange Cisco's so-called Learning Credits, which is a kind of kick-back, which can be used for attending training or Cisco Live.
It's always a good thing to spend some time with your key account manager, to establish a professional relation. This might help you to get a better discount and access to their ressources in the long run.

Upgrading Cisco Catalyst 9300 Series Switches

  • The DNA Center integration
  • DNA Center Integration which will enable us to install the hardware and roll-out configurations based on existing templates.
  • Patch management from DNA Center