Muhammad currently works as a Sr. Manager Technical Marketing for Enterprise Switching Group. Muhammad joined Cisco in 2008 and has around 15 years of experience in the networking industry. Currently he leads a team of Catalyst Products TMEs. He is one of the first TMEs to work on Catalyst 3850/3650 and Catalyst 9000 Family and has worked on all Catalyst Switching products over the years. He also contributes to Enterprise Network designs and Next Generation Platform Architectures. In the past he has held roles in Development, Test and Support of different products ranging from Routers, Switches, Firewalls, etc.
Muhammad holds a Masters degree in Electrical & Computer Engineering. He also maintains a CCIE #27739 in Routing and Switching.
Muhammad currently works as a Sr. Manager Technical Marketing for Enterprise Switching Group. Muhammad joined Cisco in 2008 and has around 15 years of experience in the networking industry. Currently he leads a team of Catalyst Products TMEs. He is one of the first TMEs to work on Catalyst 3850/3650 and Catalyst 9000 Family and has worked on all Catalyst Switchin
The ONE Thing that you have been waiting for…
Catalyst 9000 was introduced back in June 2017 as the platform that is built ground up for Intent Based Networking. The Catalyst 9000 family kept growing over the last few years, introducing new platforms every few months and addressing the need of different deployment models of different sizes of the Campus Networks. Along the way the Catalyst 9K family has modernized the campus networks making it Secure, Highly Available, Programmable, Data Driven and IOT ready.
ONE thing, however, seemed to be missing in the Catalyst 9K family. In the last one year it was probably the most anticipated device in the networking industry. The ONE thing that most of the Network Engineers kept asking and searching for was the next generation of their favorite Cat6K – the campus core modular device. Good things come to those who wait :) The next generation of Catalyst 6K is here!
Catalyst 6K has been the Gold Standard of Campus core. It’s the most feature rich, always the first in the industry to bring innovations, going beyond the standards and in many cases defining what campus core should be to address the need of the customers. Catalyst 6K developed over the years into a platform that is feature rich with hundreds of thousands of innovations, taking the bar higher every time. Longevity and High Availability are just a couple of attributes that it is known for. With customers showing ‘up time’ of more than 10 years is a testament to its reliability, availability and resiliency. It won’t be an overstatement if we say over the last two decades this platform has addressed several industry transitions by reinventing itself to adjust to the needs of the time.
Well the wait is over! The Catalyst 9600 is finally here!
Catalyst 9600 is the latest addition to the Catalyst 9000 family. It’s a modern Cat6K! Powered by the UADP 3.0 ASICs that is programmable and flexible to adapt the unseen technologies. Ready to handle up to 25Tbps, this lovely new device is full of innovations. Running a modern IOS XE software that is open, modular and structured. It has taken the richness of the IOS features packaging it with the bells and whistles of the modern era. Learning from the 20 years of experience, incorporating feedback and listening to the customers’ ask, Catalyst 9600 is state of the art campus core. It also comes with user centric design that is built with user in mind similar to the other members of the Catalyst 9000 family. It's also one of the most compact modular core device that I have ever seen. Probably the shallowest in the industry – just over 16 inches deep which makes it suitable for a variety of space constrained deployments as well.
There is a long list of innovations that this new platform covers and addresses but let me talk about a few that are most significant for Catalyst 9600
The Differentiators of Catalyst 9600
Catalyst 9600 is built ground up for high availability and reliability. From hardware to software to network topologies and protocols, Catalyst 9600 covers all aspects of High Availability. Every component in this device comes with redundancy and in some cases multiple level of redundancies. The centralized architecture it is built on, is best suited for high availability while not compromising on speeds and performance. When an ASIC like UADP is there to help with speed and features at the same time, you don’t have to make the architecture complex. Instead you take advantage of the simple architecture to translate into business value additions like High Availability & Reliability.
Catalyst 9600 comes with redundant supervisors that is ready with all the great High Availability features like ISSU, Hot Patching, StackWise Virtual (modern VSS), Graceful Insertion & Removal, etc. to ensure that the network with Catalyst 9600 can converge within the shortest amount of time – under 5 ms. This is unheard of in the industry and this is directly driven from the simple but powerful architecture of Catalyst 9600. It can be upgraded without a downtime with ISSU and can be maintained and serviced with minimal to no impact with features like GIR. From hardware perspective, the power supplies, the fans, the supervisors are all redundant. The line cards are transparent and have minimum components which ensures higher MTBF and faster convergance.
Security is top of mind for everyone. When Catalyst 9600 was being developed, security was thought about at every level. Catalyst 9600 comes with built in MACSEC 256 integrated in the ASIC which means MACSEC without any performance penalty. Catalyst 9600 also comes with trustworthy systems features which makes it a secure hardware as well as a protected software. A device that cannot be tampered with because it comes with embedded chip in it that identifies any unauthorized modifications in the hardware and software.The IOS XE software comes with multiple level of security features to ensure the Operating System is fully protected against threats.
Catalyst 9600 also comes with visibility and security features like Flexible Netflow that can scale for the campus core. Probably the only platform in the industry that can give you visibility for all of your flows without missing a packet in the campus core.
Open & Programmable
Extending what is there on Catalyst 9000 family, Catalyst 9600 runs the same IOS XE that rest of the Catalyst 9000 has. In fact, it runs the same binary that you are running on other models of Catalyst 9500, 9400 or 9300. You don’t have to store so many files because there is only one binary for all models which gives you the consistency and simplicity.
The IOS XE operating systems has a modern OS architecture that is open and programmable. It is a lot more modular for better control, unlike a big blob of code. It stores all the states of the system in one database – the IOS XE database – so the data is structured and can be converted into models like Yang models. It also supports the open interfaces like NETCONF, RESTCONF and gRPC & gNMI so the users can access the device using open APIs. For examples of the code you can look at the GitHub repo for Catalyst 9000 - https://github.com/CiscoDevNet/catalyst9k-network-automation
Catalyst 9600 inherits the rich feature set from its predecessor Cat6K. While its modern and part of Catalyst 9000 family, its full of features to accommodate multiple deployments. This cannot be achieved with just features but also a hardware architecture that can support it. Catalyst 9600 is a campus core that is built for Intent Based Networking and supports Software Defined Access on Day 1. However, Catalyst 9600 can also be deployed as a traditional L2/L3 core device and has all the capabilities to support it. In fact, it comes equipped with a rich MPLS feature set and can act as Core + MPLS PE device as well. It’s one box and yes just one supervisor that can go anywhere in network core deployments. Simple, flexible and scalable, it is built to serve the next generation of Campus core networks for a couple of decades or may be more.
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The Growing Catalyst 9K Family
Cisco introduced Catalyst 9K family of products in June of 2017 which soon became the fastest growing product in the history of the company. Its phenomenal success is a testament to what it brings to the customers. It truly addresses the challenges the customers are facing in this fast-changing world where digitization, security, mobility and cloud are top of mind for most of the CIOs.
Catalyst 9K family started with a few models of Catalyst 9300, 9400 and 9500 but soon grew to address majority of the deployments and designs. Over the last 12 months, it has added new models of the Catalyst 9300 which gives the maximum density of multi-gigabit to ensure wifi6 readiness. It has introduced new uplinks of 25G for easier transition to higher speeds. Catalyst 9300 is the lead stackable access switch with rich set of technologies and scale.
Catalyst 9400 introduced a couple of new supervisors in the last one year in addition to multiple new Line Cards enabling maximum copper and fiber connectivity. With its UADP 2.0XL engine it gives even higher scale than 9300 and brings maximum High availability that the modular systems offer. The introduction of a 4-slot chassis and different variants of fiber line cards makes 9400 suitable for 1G/10G core and aggregation deployments. It also now supports SD-Access Border and Control plane functionalities.
Catalyst 9500 started with a few models of 40G and 10G. That sure became a popular 1RU aggregation product. But the introduction of 100G and 25G in the 9500 family accelerated the customers to transition to higher speed without worrying about the most cumbersome piece of networking – the wires. The customers can easily go from 10G to 25G and with the new CSR optics, customers can switch with just a software knob as soon as the other side of the wire is ready for the higher speed. This bumps up the bandwidth by 2.5 times which is also ideal since the bandwidth is going up from 1G to 2.5G at the access with multigiabit and 11ac wave 2 APs. This ensures seamless transition but it also ensures that the network architects don’t have to rework oversubscription ratios from access to the upper layers of the network. 1 --> 2.5 G, 10 --> 25G. No changes in the oversubscription ratios.
And now the 4th coming all new Catalyst 9200 is extending what Catalyst 9K brings to the customers i.e Intent Based networking (IBN) - everywhere. It comes at a more affordable price and brings simplicity without compromise. No compromise on Security, High Availability, and the IBN experience.
For the first time, Catalyst 9200 has introduced new security features that we have not seen in this class of products before. To name a few, MACSEC 128 bit is now supported on Catalyst 9200 on all ports providing transport encryption for end to end security. Catalyst 9200 is also extending the trustworthy system features, ensuring platform and Operating Systems security against infrastructure breaches.
For the first time, Catalyst 9200 is also bringing Stateful Switch Over (SSO) in this class of product. With the help of Stackwise technology, the users can stack up to 8 members with an Active and Standby similar to Catalyst 9300. SSO ensures High Availability and a sub second convergence in case Active fails. This is so fast that if there is a video stream transmitting through the device the users will not even notice a glitch as it switches over.
For the first time, Catalyst 9200 also brings Patching (Cold) to this class of product. That means that the customers don’t have to change the entire image when there is a critical update needed and therefore can avoid long wait to update the software.
For the first time, Catalyst 9200 brings the same level of programmability and automation capabilities in this class of product as Catalyst 9K. For those customers who have other Catalyst 9000 devices, it makes it a seamless operation for the Network Operators to run the same tools across their network. Based on YANG configurational and operational models, customers can also get streaming telemetry on their favorite tools like Kibana and Grafana.
All of this was only possible because Catalyst 9200 shares the strong foundation from hardware and software perspective that the rest of the Catalyst 9000 family has. Its based on the same UADP family of ASIC. Catalyst 9200 is based on an optimized version of the ASIC – UADP 2.0 mini. The operating system that runs on Catalyst 9200 is also the same IOS XE. Due to smaller memory footprint, Catalyst 9200 runs a more optimized version of the binary. This ensures rich set of OS capabilities and it fits a more affordable box.
Catalyst 9000 family started with a few models of 9300, 9400 and 9500 soon has grown into a nice big family of products. Catalyst 9200 just extends the reach to everyone who is jumping on the IBN journey. As customers move towards digitization, that means now everyone should have a Cat 9K.
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Catalyst 9000 switches
Tech Field Days An open programmable switch-Cisco Catalyst 9000
Cisco Catalyst 9000 switches - a new era of networking
Github Catalyst 9000 network automation
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For the first time in the history of Catalyst products, Cisco is bringing convergence to Enterprise switches with Catalyst 9000 (Cat9K) Series. The Cat9K family is built with a common ASIC, UADP 2.0. and uses IOS XE 16 - an open programmable and a modern operating system. The Cat9K is also based on X86 based CPU which enables hosting 3 rd party applications on Catalyst 9000 switches. The entire Cat9K family also has common attributes that enable operational simplicity and an updated user experience. Learn more about them here . A common architecture and converged portfolio across the different network layers provides numerous customer benefits: A single image to manage! Yes, just one binary for 9300, 9400, and 9500 Common look & feel and optimized end user experience One qualification/validation/certification cycle Easier expertise development Common tools and APIs across the network Cat9k convergence enablers include: UADP 2.0 UADP 2.0 has 7.4 billion transistors up from UADP 1.0’s 1.6 billion transistors which was the previous industry standard. UADP 2.0 doubles, triples or quadruples all scale and performance numbers and has many unique capabilities unmatched in the industry. Perhaps the most revolutionary features is the programmability of the ASIC allowing it to adopt new technologies without any compromise in performance. For network managers, this means that a future protocol or technology won’t require them to “rip and replace” their network hardware. The UADP ASIC can adapt new innovations without any changes in ASIC! The UADP ASIC is also equipped with several purpose built engines capable of managing more complex functions including encryption, fragmentation and reassembly and NetFlow. Despite these complicated functionalities, UADP ASIC still goes to 240Gbps of aggregated bandwidth! That is power. The UADP 2.0 embedded tables are flexible, allowing TCAM/SRAM tables to be carved for different deployments. Customers can choose from available profiles or customize a deployment that meets their unique business needs. Catalyst 9500, for example, offers three different profiles options customers can deploy in traditional aggregation, SDA border, or an edge device. UADP 2.0 is the foundation for Cat9K switches and the basis of convergence in the hardware architecture. UADP 2.0 future proofs Cat9K switches for new encapsulations and protocols that haven’t even been invented yet! IOS XE 16 Another key element of the Cat9K is the completely redesigned operating system. Over 30 years, IOS has evolved from a basic networking operating system to a treasure chest of features and technologies. IOS XE 16 delivers an open architecture that enables programmability & automation, 3 rd party app hosting, software patching, etc. Among the innovations of IOS XE16 is the IOS XE database which keeps the data in a common and standardized format. It essentially decouples the code from the data and stores the configurational and operational states in a common place making it more open for external applications. Decoupling code from data also means code can now be updated without touching the data. This enables features like software patching giving customers confidence to update the code without going through lengthy validation/certification cycles. IOS XE 16 also enables 3 rd party applications that can be hosted on the switch itself which opens a whole new world of opportunities for network engineers. X86 CPUs A key component required to host third party applications is x86 based CPU. Most applications today are developed for X86 based systems. Without X86 based CPU, developers must compile their code multiple times and potentially make changes in the applications to run on a networking device. The Cat9K series comes with X86 based CPU allowing it to run any available applications from Clash of Clans to Clash Royale! Once the OS supports 3 rd party app hosting and the system is X86 based all you need is to upload your app to the device and start playing with it. But wait. Upload the application on a networking device? Networking devices typically come with little storage. 4 GB of flash isn’t going to host a lot of applications in today’s world. The Cat9K series of switches provides between 100G to a Terabyte of storage depending on the SKUs. You can safely upload your apps to the Cat9K and the X86 based quad core CPUs will take care of the rest. A flexible and programmable ASIC (UADP 2.0), a modern OS that is open and programmable, (IOS XE 16) and a CPU to run 3 rd party apps (X86) are the three foundational elements of Catalyst 9000 series of switches which form the foundation for the new era of networking. It’s time to make the Switch!
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3650/3850 does not have RSU feature. However, it does have a feature called software install which minimizes the downtime. You still need a downtime enough for the entire stack reload. But you can make the stack ready with the new software and use EEM script to reload certain time. You can refer to the deployment guide for details. http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/collateral/switches/catalyst-3850-series-switches/deployment_guide_c07-727067.html#_Toc350855345 Thanks Muhammad
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