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Enabling Intelligence at Edge with Catalyst 9000 series switches

Cisco Employee

The network is growing and how! Data is being generated at such an exponential rate. An IDC report states that data will grow to 175 Zettabytes by 2025. With such an explosion, enterprises cannot keep sending all the incoming data directly to the cloud. There needs to be some kind of compute that happens at the edge so that only meaningful data is sent back to the cloud. In addition to this, having expensive gear to host application just increases the opex of an organization. The other important consideration is to reduce the time a developer spends on rewriting the apps. This is where Application Hosting on Catalyst 9000 switches comes into play.

Catalyst 9000 series switches were launched in 2017 and went on to become the fastest ramping product in Cisco’s history. The main driving force behind any of the innovations on Catalyst 9000 series switches has always been simplicity. Catalyst 9000 series switches run on open and modular IOS-XE which is programmable. With Polaris IOS-XE 16.12.1 software release, Catalyst 9300 series switches will have native docker engine. With native docker support, developers can quickly develop applications and deploy them where needed. We will also be introducing Application Hosting workflows within Cisco DNA Center to completely manage the lifecycle of applications to help scale the business.

Networking and compute resources are set aside for Application Hosting so that it does not affect the other processes that are running.


 Resource type

Catalyst 9300


Front panel ports (1G)






1 core (25%)





Security is another key consideration. Cisco SSD or SATA storage is required on Catalyst 9000 switches in order to host the applications. These applications cannot be hosted directly on the flash. Cisco recommended SSD and SATA ensures security is in place. For host authentication to take place, USB password can be configured on the switch. There is also encryption via AES-256 HW encryption of the internal SATA SSD.


One of the most important considerations has been to build an ecosystem of solution partners and open source applications. With Ecosystem exchange, customers can now get an understanding of the wide array of solutions that can be leveraged to address their business needs. Solution providers can now apply to become a partner with us. In addition to this, we have now introduced learning labs and sandbox to get an understanding of the solution and try it out as well. Learning lab modules will help in overview of the solution and provide the steps to create your own docker app. Sandbox will let you host the apps of your interest and explore the possibilities.

Find out more about Application Hosting solution on DevNet at and join us on this exciting journey!

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