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Which Catalyst Switch Is the Best for Core Lawyer when Considering APIC-EM?

Hi guys, I am working on a design for a client who wants to update their Campus LAN Network and I would like to consider APIC-EM as the core element to to manage the network Devices

The point is that reading the document: "Cisco EasyQoS Application for APIC-EM Supported Platforms, Release 1.5.x" at the section:"

Cisco EasyQoS Limitations" it Says: "The Catalyst 6500 Series with Sup2T, Catalyst 6880 Series, Catalyst 4000 Series, Catalyst 3850 Series, and Catalyst 3650 Series switches will only be supported as an access-layer switch or as a distribution-layer switch."

- Cisco EasyQoS Application for APIC-EM Supported Platforms, Release 1.5.x - Cisco

If It´s so:

1.- What are the Switches recomended to use as a Core Switch?

2.- Is there any constraint using the Switches listed bellow as a Collapsed Core?

- 2x C6807-XL (SUP 6T or SUP-2T).

- 2x C6880-X

- 2x WS-C4500X-40X-ES

"All of them in a VSS Model".

3.- Let´s consider for a moment there are several budget limitations. Can I start by adding just One Switch at the Core and them in a future Phase of the Project add another one to form the VSS?

Please help me making the best decision on this point.

Thanks in advanced.

Cisco Employee

Hi Daniel,

I believe the note you are referring to says the following:

"The Catalyst 6500 Series with Sup2T, Catalyst 6880 Series, Catalyst 4000 Series, Catalyst 3850 Series, and Catalyst 3650 Series switches will only be supported as an access-layer switch or as a distribution-layer switch. Support of a single switch as both a distribution-layer switch and an access-layer switch simultaneously is not supported. Multiple switch platforms of the same model can of course individually be either distribution layer switches or access-layer switches within a single deployment."

That note is meant to indicate that a switch cannot be both an access-layer switch and a distribution-layer switch at the same time - not that the Catalyst 6K, 6880, and 4K series can't be used as core switches.  I think we need to make that more clear in that note in the next update.

The QoS policy provisioned to the switch depends upon it's role in the network.  The actual roles supported by each switch platform is discussed beginning at the end of page 143 in the following design guide:

If Dynamic QoS (which is still in Beta) is not being deployed, the QoS policy provisioned to distribution layer and core layer switches is the same - just trust of DSCP inbound on switch ports and queuing policies.  So a collapsed core/distribution design should work fine. If Dynamic QoS is/will be deployed, then the collapsed core/distribution switch should have a role of distribution-layer switch.  Dynamic QoS is discussed beginning on page 314 of the design guide.

There are some caveats regarding VSS and dual-active-fast-hello configurations discussed, beginning on page 199 of the design guide.  Mostly that is due to the ASIC design of the ports on the Sup-2T of the Catalyst 6K.  The Sup-6T is currently not supported by EasyQoS.  You should be able to begin with a non-VSS configuration of a Catalyst 4K, 6880, or Catalyst 6K with Sup-2T, and then add the second switch in the future.  Both configurations are supported by EasyQoS.  Just be aware of ports that share a common ASIC with ports that are subsequently used for the VSL connecting the switches may not be able to support QoS configurations when you implement the VSS configuration.   You will of course have to re-apply QoS policy when you add the second switch in a VSS configuration.

I hope this helps. 


Hi, Thanks for your response.

I will consider for my upcoming designs.

One more question.

1.- Is there any issue if the devices (Switches) are bought under Cisco One SKUs, for instance:

- C1-C6880-X-LE

- C1-WS3850-48T/K9

- C1-WS3650-48PS/K9

Or, The Swithces must be ordered under the classic SKUs?

Another point I Would like to have clear is:

- Would It be possible to deliver Easy QoS from the Distribution Layer to the Core and not form the access Layer? I mean, Is there any issue if the access Switches are not included in the Easy QoS profile because the exsiting Switches are not compatible with APIC-EM, for instance the Client is using SG350X-48P-K9-NA (SMB Switches) as an access Switches.



You may want to post your follow-up questions to the Cisco Partner Network Architecture Community for more appropriate feedback and information - specifically regarding SKUs and ordering.

Routing and Switching

I hope this helps.
Kelli Glass

Moderator for Cisco Customer Communities

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