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Catalyst 8500 Series - Deep Dive- Community Live FAQ


This event had place on Tuesday 17th, November 2020 at 10hrs PDT 


The Catalyst 8500 Series Edge Platforms are built with the highly programmable, third-generation Cisco Quantum Flow Processor and designed for high-performance SD-WAN. These are purpose-built for accelerated SD-WAN services, multilayered security, cloud-native agility, and edge intelligence to accelerate your journey to the cloud.

Featured Expert

sumali.jpgSumant Mali is a passionate network enthusiast with 12+ years of industry experience. He is currently working as a Technical Marketing Engineer for Cisco 1000 Series Aggregation Services Routers, as well as Catalyst 8500 Series. Sumant is a  hardcore quality assurance engineer with superb escalation handling experience, which has shaped him into the network expert that he is today. 

You can download the slides of the presentation in PDF format here.

Live Questions

Q:8500 and 8300 are successors of what platforms, can you specify?

A:C8500 will be replacement to ASR1001-HX and ASR1002-HX and C8300 will replace ISR 4400 (4431 and 4451X) routers.

Q:I think a more relevant question is the relationship between the ASR series and the Cat8k series. Is that right?

A:8500 series is an evolution of ASR 1001-HX and 1002-HX. Sumant will cover it in great detail.

Q:Is QFP a programmable Network Processor?

A: Yes.Fully programmable ASIC, developed in house... this is the third generation of the architecture.

Q:Has Cisco announced any specific products/software on AI/ML or are these features being added to existing offerings?

A:ETA (Encrypted Traffic Analytics) is supported. Thousand Eyes Integration is being looked into.

Q:What is the difference between a programmable Network Processor like QFP and a FGPA?

A:FPGA usually would have fewer transistors, hence wouldn't be able to accommodate what the QFP can deliver.

Q:I have read that PPEs that QFP have inside are "non-pipelined". What does it means?

A:Have not heard of this terminology. Would have to defer to Sumant to answer once we get to Datapath section or Q&A at the end. Suspect this is alluding to QFP PPEs design of run-to-completion of the packet in Datapath.

Q:What is the minimum amount of DRAM do you recommend if the 8500 was to receive the full internet route table?

A:Default memory for C8500 is 16GB, which is already good for 4M IPv4 or IPv6 routes.

Q:Can you utilize four 40Gb ( 2 40Gb + 2 40/100Gb) interfaces at the same time?

A:No, there is a max up to 240G worth of ports that can be enabled at the same time. Sumant sharing on this slide.

Q:Belonging to the Catalyst family, does the 8300 series not support ISR features (UC for example)?

A:Catalyst 8300 are next-gen ISR4400 and will support UC features. More info would be in the Catalyst 8300 deep dive session. We have more than 99% feature parity between C8300 and ISR4400s, except CME is not supported on C8300 and we are evaluating it based on customer use-cases. Besides that, vWAAS is not supported as Service container applications, and you need UCS-E module. ¬We do support UC on both Traditional and SD-WAN use-cases, except CME feature set.

Q:Why was it labeled 'Catalyst' and not 'ISR' ? When I hear Catalyst I think of switches - not routers.

A:Just standardizing the brand across Switching, Wireless and Routing which are the 3 PINs in our IBNG (Intent Based Networking Group) BU.

Q:What the micro loader in TAM checks for? The CPU hardware?

A:Yes, for HW Integrity and authenticity with SUDI¬.

Q:When you say PPE that is programmable...what is really programmed? Are the physical silicon connections/circuits reconnected/rearranged in the PPE via software?

A:Yes, the micro code blocks in the code data path gets retuned based on datapath ingress and egress configuration.

Q:Do I need to add any license to be allowed to manage a Catalyst 8500 in DNA-Center?

A:Cisco DNA subscription is mandatory at the time of C8500 purchase. With this subscription, there is a term-based license (DNA stack) that provides entitlement for DNA-Center management. No separate license needed.

Q:I seem to be missing something. I configure the SKU C8500-12X in CCW and there is no DNA subscription added. I can add the one for SD-WAN of course, but what if I don't use the router in a SD-WAN deployment?

A:Cisco DNA subscription for C8500 is added through L-DNA-C8500. This subscription provides entitlement for SD-WAN or non SD-WAN. If looking for a single SKU that has HW + subscription, then can configure from the bundles: C8500-12X-DNA and C8500-12X4QC-DNA¬ . The reason that Cisco DNA subscription is a separate SKU is because the licenses can also come from other offers like EA, MSLA, etc. But again, if looking for single SKU with HW+Subscription, then can use the bundles¬.

Q:Where can we check the feature parity between the "Autonomous mode" and "SD-WAN mode" for IOS-XE?

A:C8500 datasheet does have some mentions of the high level features for autonomous mode and controller mode: . In addition, Cisco Feature Navigator is in process of being updated¬ . Generally, C8500 will have feature parity with ASR1001-HX/ASR1002-HX. One call out is the Service Provider BNG (LAC/LNS) feature set, which is not supported on C8500.

Q:Why do you have to choose btw. Autonomous and CTRL mode in CCW, when the image is unified?

A:Main reason is so that the factory will ship out the device in the correct mode. But yes, customer can change mode on their own.

Q:Is the C8500 supported as SDA Fabric border/control plane node?


Related Information


Does DNA Essentials include DMVPN support on the C8500-12X?