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Cisco Catalyst Switches OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

Cisco Catalyst Switches is #1 ranked solution in top Data Center Networking tools, #2 ranked solution in top LAN Switching tools, and #2 ranked solution in top AV Over IP Switching tools. PeerSpot users give Cisco Catalyst Switches an average rating of 8 out of 10. Cisco Catalyst Switches is most commonly compared to HPE ProCurve: Cisco Catalyst Switches vs HPE ProCurve. Cisco Catalyst Switches is popular among the large enterprise segment, accounting for 61% of users researching this solution on PeerSpot. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a comms service provider, accounting for 26% of all views.
Cisco Catalyst Switches Buyer's Guide

Download the Cisco Catalyst Switches Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: July 2022

What is Cisco Catalyst Switches?
Web-based CRM that manages events, sales, marketing campaigns & contacts, offers customer history, case management, email integration.

Cisco Catalyst Switches was previously known as Cisco Catalyst, Catalyst.

Cisco Catalyst Switches Customers
Afni, Anilana Hotels and Resorts, Baylor Scott & White Health, Beachbody, Bellevue, Del Papa Distributing, Explorer Pipeline, Mindtree, Omaha World Herald, Radio 538, Sony Corporation, Telecom Italia, Telenor Arena
Cisco Catalyst Switches Video

Cisco Catalyst Switches Pricing Advice

What users are saying about Cisco Catalyst Switches pricing:
  • "The solution is probably the most expensive, but users who want the best need to pay the premium."
  • "This is expensive, even when compared to competitors' products."
  • "The price for Cisco Catalyst Switches is not cheaper than other solutions."
  • "Catalyst Switches are costly. When I started working with them 25 years ago, prices were a problem too."
  • "Cisco products are not that cheap."
  • Cisco Catalyst Switches Reviews

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    System Administrator at a university with 5,001-10,000 employees
    Real User
    Top 10
    This gives us control of our throughput traffic but it comes with mandatory options that increase cost
    Pros and Cons
    • "The ability to configure throughput is very flexible and improved the performance of our systems."
    • "The availability of resources for learning about the product and doing evaluation of any issues is excellent."
    • "Cisco forces end-users to accept billing for some capabilities or services that they may not want."

    What is our primary use case?

    Our installation is totally on-premises. It is a backend solution supporting the entire campus. This is used as a three-tier network for our overall networking. We use it as a call switch at the backend, it is also used in the distribution, and it is used on the server farm switches. We use them for these three different kinds of purposes in the data center at the same time. All these servers can function on the network through these switches.  

    How has it helped my organization?

    The improvement the product provides to our organization is the backend throughput over all the sites. It can give us about 1.4 TB backend throughput overall. We have variable multi-gate support through the ports. So we can connect on the same switch with the 1G, 10G, 25G, 40G, and 100G. In that way, we get multi-port throughput on the same switch. Because of this capability, scalability is not a bottleneck for us now.   We have used Cisco Catalyst Switches to achieve our goals with stability and blanket level of performance. The documentation and help capabilities provided for users are transparent and widely available. You can find and read about solutions to fix your own issues. Virtually anything you want to study about the product or if you want to verify something, information about it is available and doesn't require calls to support and potential wait times.  

    What is most valuable?

    The volume possible with the throughput is the feature that is most valuable to us. It helps to get things done. For example, we can program the logic and can get more details through the SDM (Service Desk Management) to deliver a better level of support to users.   The solution is good but the support from Cisco makes it that much better. Even the task of logging into the system is really good. All those things together boost the end user's confidence in the product and performance.  

    What needs improvement?

    One thing I think should be improved is that billing should be customizable for end-user. If the customer wants a particular feature or upgrade or does not want the feature or upgrade, it should be their choice. If the user rejects the additional services those should be cut off from the pricing and not forced on the billing. Instead, they just include these things and the end-user has no choice. That is a concern for end-users who are trying to be cost-conscious and know what they need — and what they do not need — in their environment.  
    Buyer's Guide
    Cisco Catalyst Switches
    July 2022
    Learn what your peers think about Cisco Catalyst Switches. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: July 2022.
    610,518 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We have been using the Cisco series since incorporating an older series about six to seven years ago. Right now, we are revamping our architecture with the new series that has the Cisco DNA (Digital Network Architecture). It is the latest solution in the Cisco Catalyst Series. We can use multi-gate ports and 100 GM port gate uplinks with the latest high-availability features along with DNA and deploy the latest technologies.  

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The stability of the product is quite good. Cisco is a brand that developed a reputation by taking care of the reliability to perform at least as well as any product on the market. The support level also contributes to that stability. Because they give me all the details, all the documentation, all the product details, and they supply that in a good manner, we can get the things that we need to resolve any issues as soon as possible. They are well aware of the product they deliver and we easily benefit from their knowledge and willingness to help keep our systems running.  

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    My impression of the scalability is that it is there if you need or want it. But some scalability is also built-in. We are getting the multi-gate switches, and the multi-gate can be scaled. If you have a 10G right now, you can change to 25G later, then 40G even after that. You have opportunities to scale out in different always. In our case, we already knew what we planned to do so we had already thought that through.  As far as handling a volume of users, all the traffic of our whole organization is going to be passing through these switches. These switches are deployed on the call side, the distribution, and the server farm. Because of the setup, the whole of my data center and any user accessing the system is passing through it. We are a large educational organization and we have between 30,000 to 40,000 users total. On a daily basis, there will be 20,000 users on the system.  

    How are customer service and support?

    Technical support from the support team is good. Overall with the availability of documentation and resources, it is great. For me, on a scale of one to ten, it would be between seven to eight.  

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    We did not really use a different system. We were using a Cisco solution already and just upgraded to the newest version of the product so we could have its advantages.  

    How was the initial setup?

    The setup is not very complex. You will spend more time planning the concept than in installation. We need to migrate the things and the migration is not a complex one. We had some new features to incorporate but this was not hard.   If you include all the testing and the proof of concept, the deployment took around about a month. We just needed to get the things for new features tested and working. We did need some support from the OEM team, but it was not on site.  For maintenance and management, we did not need anything additional as that was already done by our team. We have about two or three people only. One who sometimes shares some responsibilities, so it is two, only, full-time.  

    What about the implementation team?

    Because we have a good team in the organization already who were already familiar with the previous equipment and we have good access to support materials use an integrator, we did not need a reseller or a consultant to help with the deployment.  

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    I am not exactly sure of the final cost of the upgrade as we are still just finalizing in terms. The teams have to finalize the pricing and their exact needs. They have not placed the entire order yet. We should have the whole thing completed in one or two months.   One thing I am sure of is that the pricing is a little higher for the new product on average. It is also a little bit higher than its competition. That includes any competition with Cisco in this category of solutions, like Juniper, Dell, or anyone else. But the thing is if the customer wants the kind of reliability, support, and transparency that a solution provides, then they need to pay a premium for it.  

    What other advice do I have?

    Advice that I would give others who are not using this Cisco solution is that maintenance is not a big deal for Cisco products. They deliver on customer support if it is even necessary at all. The Cisco team is always available to provide you the facts about the root cause of any problem or to answer any question. Because they have an excellent knowledge base, you can even research things and find solutions on your own.   Whether you need this kind of dependability will have to do with your use case. If you are working on some kind of critical industry or environment, you can trust Cisco to be a reliable solution. But if you do not have very critical operations, you want to review other options. Cisco might be a solution you would pay more for and you do not really need it. If you do not need it, then you can go with another product like Juniper or Dell — or any vendor or solution that can supply the services and capabilities that you actually need. But knowing that depends on evaluating your situation and the reality of what you need to do.  On a scale from one to ten where one is worst and ten is the best, I would rate Cisco Catalyst Switches in terms of technology and all the capabilities as a whole as a seven right now. It is a seven to me just because there are problems that I see. The consideration of the rating is just not about the technical capabilities and documentation which are excellent. The problem is that they charge you for what they have supplied that you wanted as well as what they make it mandatory to buy. In the licensing, they include licensing for architecture, for new parts, for the software design, and for the future scheduled upgrades they have over the term of the contract. All these additional things are bundled in the licensing costs. The end-user can not exclude things from the license when you license the new switch. So even if there are items that you feel are not required for you as an end customer, they go on the billing.  

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    On-premises
    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    Ceo & President at TNL
    Real User
    Top 10
    Useful reports, highly reliable, and integrates well
    Pros and Cons
    • "We use the VLANs to separate library, office, and individual apartments. With some of the reporting that receive, we're able to take and track down where people like to put in their own wireless routers. Sometimes they will take a DSL modem from AT&T that they brought from home, hook it in backward, and it will give rogue addresses causing issues."
    • "I use the Cisco Catalyst Switches command-line interface(CLI) a lot out in the field, but there are some web interfaces features that are available that I haven't used very much. I'm more comfortable with the CLI, but the web interfaces are very lacking."

    What is our primary use case?

    I use Cisco Catalyst Switches mostly in apartment complexes. They are apartment buildings, where one apartment has three or four bathroom/bedroom combinations and each resident who lives in those has their own connection to the switch. Additionally, the common areas of the building have a connection to the switch.

    I've used Cisco Catalyst Switches in that environment, providing internet to a complex, both fiber and copper. We have taken and put cable TV, converted the satellite signals off of DIRECT TV satellites, and broadcasted all their channels, including local channels in the complex. There are approximately 250 channels through the same switches by converting the output to a network environment by turning them around and sending it back out on the other end for coaxial cable distribution. I've been working a lot in the MDFs and the IDFs of the individual complexes.

    What is most valuable?

    We use the VLANs to separate library, office, and individual apartments. With some of the reporting that receive, we're able to take and track down where people like to put in their own wireless routers. Sometimes they will take a DSL modem from AT&T that they brought from home, hook it in backward, and it will give rogue addresses causing issues.

    It's been pretty easy for us to track down where those rogue addresses are coming from and shut the port down until we can have a technician go out and fix it properly.

    There are a lot of features that Cisco Catalyst Switches have. However, they're not always needed.

    The security of Cisco Catalyst Switches seems to be sound. It's very good with security. I've had no issues, security-wise. The important this is to know what to do to fix problems if you have a security issue, and it seems to work, whether you're using Cisco Catalyst Switches, Opensense, pfSense firewalls, or any normal firewall issues. Cisco Catalyst Switches are able to communicate to all the other hardware very well.

    What needs improvement?

    I use the Cisco Catalyst Switches command-line interface(CLI) a lot out in the field, but there are some web interfaces features that are available that I haven't used very much. I'm more comfortable with the CLI, but the web interfaces are very lacking. 

    The application controls that you have when you go through the Cisco Catalyst Switches for configuration and to see your whole network could improve. If the interface could display and recognize devices other than the Catalyst that you might have in the network to allow you to build your network. It does not necessarily need to control them, but to see they're there and how they're hooked up would make a big difference when it comes to trying to map and monitor the network activity in the system.

    Those are two areas I find in the Cisco Catalyst Switches that are not as robust as some of the newer solutions, such as Aruba. You could see everything's controlled by the web interfaces, but not as much by the CLI. I don't like that Arubas CLIs, but I do like the web interface where you can see everything and control everything without having to load a special application on a computer and/or use the CLI. You can visually see all the information, and I find that's an easier learning curve for people monitoring. I haven't used it very much with the Cisco Meraki's, but a lot of the places we have worked have been with governments, and they use a lot of the Cisco Catalyst line of solutions.

    If someone was trying to manage their own office, I would rate the usability of Cisco Catalyst Switches a five out of ten. Unless you know the CLI well then you will use the interface that is a little bit tricky to work with.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been using Cisco Catalyst Switches for approximately 10 years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Most of the stability issues I have found have been hardware-related and not software. I have found that sometimes a port will go dead, and when a port goes dead on the even side, the odd side equivalent goes dead as well. This is where things get a little hot and it caused the solder joint to go loose or something similar happened. That's what my guess would be on the issue, a lot of times they only mark the port as dead and shut it off. When they have many ports that are dead that they don't have any spares they typically switch out the switch altogether.

    People do not want to pay for you to resolder a circuit board and check for cold solder joints, I try and speed things up. If I have not had to use many spares on the ports for repair, to keep the repair at a quick pace. I can change a power supply or I can change a board in them quickly. I haven't actually bothered to go through and see if it's a cold solder joint or if it's actually a dead port. I'm having to use my experience with other equipment and knowing that it more times than not, kills both ports on the same connector, it's probably a cold solder joint or something to do with where it's connecting to the motherboard. This would be the first place I would look.

    I would rate Cisco Catalyst Switches stability a nine out of ten.

    They are highly stable, they have never given me a problem.

    How are customer service and support?

    I've never had to talk with the Cisco technical support. Usually, if there is a problem I know how the switches are built, I can take them apart and put them together to fix them. For example, in the last Cisco solution I did fix, the power supply was overheating, and it would eventually shut the unit down or it would freeze. I let it cool off and came back when it was cool and took a power supply from one that the mainboard that was frozen, and put it in. It came right back up and it was working at the right temperature.

    When it comes to technical support, I've never had to use them. What typically happens is the client calls technical support, technical support turns around dispatches a company that dispatches me and I go out there, fix the issue. I notify that company of their technical support, which may be Cisco's, or not, and inform them of the problem. The technical support double-checks the program and makes sure everything's up and operating.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    I have used other networking solutions previously, such as Aruba.

    What other advice do I have?

    I have found that the problems with Cisco Catalyst Switches are caused by the end-user putting equipment on it backward and various other similar user errors.  Cisco Catalyst Switches does not have all the features in the web interface. I didn't see the web interface able to be controlled the solution well. You can bring up some information controls, you click a link, and everything's in it is confusing to me, they could improve it. The web application gives you the ability to change some settings, but not necessarily critical ones. There're some things that you have to do at the CLI that their application does not give you the ability to do.

    I have VLANs that are set up in my office under a pfSense firewall. The VLANs are set up in the firewall, and it acts as a switch as well. The actual switches turn around and act as a router and then the Cisco Catalyst Switches recognize the VLANs, and process everything accordingly as if it was a Cisco solution. They integrate well will all other hardware.

    I rate Cisco Catalyst Switches an eight out of ten.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    Flag as inappropriate
    Buyer's Guide
    Cisco Catalyst Switches
    July 2022
    Learn what your peers think about Cisco Catalyst Switches. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: July 2022.
    610,518 professionals have used our research since 2012.
    MinaMagdy - PeerSpot reviewer
    Senior Infrastructure Solutions Specialist at Fiber Misr
    Real User
    Top 5
    Recommended for its abilities, durability, and the support
    Pros and Cons
    • "Cisco comes with built-in software access for network devices."
    • "Cisco is dedicated to providing their customers with the latest technology, but it comes with a price. It's expensive when compared to competitors' products."

    What is our primary use case?

    My primary use case is providing Catalyst switches for the edge and campus networking. You may have lots of IoT switches, like surveillance access points and you need to implement IPE switches that deliver the power and networking through the endpoint sensors. Most of these are considered access switches. We then implement the distribution layer that links all of the access switches and network traffic, then move to the course switches that handle all the packets and connect all the buildings to each other. After, the core is connected to the firewall, from Cisco as well, to get out of building to the internet. So the core portfolio comes from access to the core. I end with the firewall and the routers to the internet.

    Cisco's support is called SMARTnet, but we provide support to customers in case of any troubleshooting or if it's on-premises. We act as a mid-layer between the customer and Cisco. Most customers deploy it on-premises, but some prefer to build their own private cloud. 

    What is most valuable?

    The most valuable feature is that Cisco comes with built-in software access for network devices. You may use SDN for SD-Access, so you don't need to configure each switch with its own configuration, but can deploy the configuration from a single point of management. You can also monitor the traffic and access for the users. Especially if they are using their own laptops, you can make a VLAN for each switch. Cisco is a very stable portfolio format considering the network features and the heavy duties of traffic.

    What needs improvement?

    The prices could be improved. Cisco is dedicated to providing their customers with the latest technology, but it comes with a price. It's very expensive and when compared to competitors' products, like HP or Aruba, this is the most expensive one. 

    I can't think of any additional features I would like to see in the next version. The features included are sufficient. 

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been working with Cisco Catalyst for more than ten years. 

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Cisco is famous for its stability and operating system. It's a very stable platform for heavy-duty network traffic. 

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Catalyst is easy to scale, especially because of stacking. The stack member can reach out to each member per the tech stack group as well as for Catalyst. As long as you have a sufficient number of ports in the core and distribution, you can scale and connect as much as you need in the access layers. If you exceed the number of ports existing in the distribution, you can add another distribution layer and connect them together to extend the number of endpoints. 

    How are customer service and support?

    I have been satisfied with technical support. Especially when it comes to hardware attachments, their response is very fast, and almost by the next business day, we're able to go and replace it on-premises for a customer. 

    How was the initial setup?

    The process was simple and straightforward. Most of us started our first year by taking Cisco courses, so we are talented at implementing and configuring Cisco switches. It depends on the project, but if you are looking at full premises with maybe 20 switches, the setup should take around three or four days. 

    What about the implementation team?

    We implemented through an in-house team. We are partnered with Cisco and have our own professional service team certification in data center, networking, security, and collaboration systems. 

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    This is expensive, even when compared to competitors' products. 

    The Catalyst doesn't come with licensing, but it comes with models. It comes with nine key series, each with its own purpose: some are for access, some for distribution, and some for the core, so it's not a matter of licensing. The only licensing that you are using with Catalyst is either the Essential or Advantage licensing, which represents Layer 2 or Layer 3 switches. If you are going to use Layer 3 for routing, use the Advantage license. Otherwise, use the Essential license, which is meant for the access switches. 

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    Dell EMC has a magnificent working portfolio, but customers still may not trust its durability and reliability. Most customers will choose Cisco rather than Dell EMC, even though Dell EMC has a reliable reputation and is very cost-effective. Yet, from my side as a partner and someone who works a lot with technology, I would recommend Dell EMC for customers with a smaller budget that needs a flexible and a cost-effective solution, rather than picking a small solution from Cisco. I would commit to buying a large solution from Dell EMC, then going with a reliable solution provider. 

    What other advice do I have?

    I would recommend Cisco Catalyst for its abilities, durability, and the support. Cisco is very familiar—all engineers know Cisco very well—and we can handle the troubleshooting and configuration. 

    The Advantage license is suitable for large companies. All of the oil and gas sectors use the Advantage license for their switches. Even they are not going to use all the layers or access switches, but they invest a lot and have a huge budget for networking. For a small or medium company, you could use and split the Essential license and the Advantage one based on building needs in order to optimize the cost and make sure your solution is cost-effective.

    I would rate Cisco a nine out of ten. Not a ten because of the high price. 

    Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
    Flag as inappropriate
    Network Engineer at a manufacturing company with 10,001+ employees
    Real User
    Extremely stable and very high quality with pretty good technical support
    Pros and Cons
    • "The quality of a Cisco switch is very high. They are extremely stable."
    • "Cisco should work to lower its costs. It's quite expensive right now."

    What is our primary use case?

    We primarily use the solution for the switching capabilities.

    What is most valuable?

    The initial setup of the product is pretty simple and straightforward.

    The solution is adding more automation capabilities.

    The quality of a Cisco switch is very high. They are extremely stable.

    What needs improvement?

    Cisco should work to lower its costs. It's quite expensive right now. They force the customer to buy the DNA license and that shouldn't be the case.

    Instead of making automation cheaper, they are making it more expensive and clients don't like it.

    They really need to simplify their licensing and simplify moving to a controller base. 

    The scalability is limited.

    Cisco also owns Meraki, however, they keep these switches as separate products, and customers are confused by that. Meraki has a lot of features and a customer questions why those features are there and not here. Meraki also allows for more integrations with solutions such as HP, and it's harder to integrate Cisco. 

    The same is true of Nexus switches, which basically do the same thing and yet everything is siloed. It's confusing for the clients. 

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I've been using the solution for about 20 years. It's been two decades. I've had a lot of time to get to know the product.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Cisco switches are of very high quality, which makes them very stable. It's a very strong selling point for the product. It doesn't crash or freeze. There are no bugs or glitches. It's very reliable.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    The scalability is limited. There are other solutions that can do it better. Cisco is not number one in this respect - especially as more companies head toward the cloud. Luxul, for example, offers better scalability - if that is what a company is looking for.

    We tend to use the solution quite extensively.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    I've used Cisco for 20 years or so and therefore have had encounters with technical support. I would note that the first 15 or so years had been very great and I would describe them as very helpful and responsive. However, as of the last five years, I find they are going south. They aren't as good as they used to be. It's still okay. It's just not as good as it was.

    Whereas in the past I've given them five out of five stars, now I would rate them at a four.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    We didn't previously use a different solution. We're mostly a Cisco shop.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup is not overly complex. To set up a switch is not a big issue. I see Cisco is trying to go into the DNA to do some automation.  

    Every site is different in terms of deployment and the number of switches/users. On every site, we have two engineers and we're also doing web support. The setup is a one-time thing and the switches are pretty stable, and therefore it doesn't take us much time to do an implementation so long as there are no hardware failures.

    What about the implementation team?

    I handled the implementation myself. I did not need the assistance of a consultant or implementor. I have enough experience to handle it at this point.

    What was our ROI?

    I've used a few different switches and I wouldn't say that you necessarily get a better ROI just because you use Cisco.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    The cost of the solution is quite high. There are other cheaper options. On Cisco, you're paying probably double or triple times the cost. 

    Many people don't like the complexity. It should be simpler and offer a low cost. The reason people are looking for automation is that they are looking to lower costs, however, if you go to Cisco solutions, the automation solution is very expensive. This is the opposite of the customer expectations.

    I do not do the purchasing directly and therefore I can't estimate an exact cost for the product.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    I've used Juniper and HPE switches, and, if you were to compare them, I'd say there isn't too much of a difference. The functionality is pretty much the same.

    You can also compare the solution to Luxul, which has better scalability.

    What other advice do I have?

    We are a customer.

    Cisco tries to move clients over to their own ecosystem so that they are only using Cisco from end-to-end.

    The solution is very good for enterprises, however, it might be a bit much for a small company that may only need one switch.

    If the costs are not a concern for an organization, I would recommend the product.

    I'd rate the solution at an eight out of ten. We've been very happy with the stability on offer, however, the pricing isn't the greatest and the licensing is confusing. 

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    On-premises
    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    Senior System Engineer at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
    Real User
    Top 10
    Versatile, reliable, has many features, and the support is fast and knowledgeable
    Pros and Cons
    • "I like the management of streaming both audio and video."
    • "I think that the price should be cheaper and they should include at least one year of basic service for technical support for each product, and not just the 90 days from the time of purchase."

    What is our primary use case?

    We have not deployed on the cloud because the company's core business is on yachts. Yachts are not familiar with the cloud and online solutions.

    We have been integrating Cisco Catalyst Switches in yachts that are 100 feet in length to 100 meters in length. With simple infrastructure such as two or three switches connected with copper, and with large infrastructures we use a three-layer level with the backbone of a multimode fiber.

    What is most valuable?

    The switches are related to simple switching infrastructures, without the implementation of routing protocols. The routing protocols are referring to routers and layer three switches. They are not required with this kind of infrastructure.

    I like the management of streaming both audio and video. On a yacht, the network infrastructure is not related to data usage, it is mainly for audio, video management, and distribution. 

    When compared with other brands, they are not as reliable as Cisco Catalyst Switches.

    What needs improvement?

    There is always something better. The price could be better.

    The service contract for technical support should be included for at least the first year of purchasing the product.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been working with Cisco Catalyst Switches for more than ten years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Cisco Catalyst Switches are reliable. It is very stable and performant. There have only been a few failures. In general, there is a very low level of failure.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    If we refer to shipyards, then we have six or seven shipyards in Italy and outside of Italy. When referring to Yachts, I have installed these switches on more than 100 to 200 Yachts.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Technical support is very fast and highly skilled.

    The only issue with the support is that without an active service contract, they will not address any of your concerns. Even if you are a Cisco partner, they will not address your concerns without an active technical contract.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    For networking and switching, we have used most Cisco solutions.

    For Unified Communications, we have used BE6000 and 4000. 

    Switching solutions we the new brand 9000. 

    We started with the low level 9200 to 9500. We use the Cisco Firewall ASA 2100 and we have Wi-Fi solutions such as the Wireless LAN controllers 2500,3500, and 9800.

    At one time, we also integrated Nexus switches.

    In the past, my company used to propose low-level Cisco products such as Linksys. They were not reliable and the return on investment was not as high as Catalyst. This strategy was a failure.

    How was the initial setup?

    The physical installation is not difficult. There are four factors for all devices that are almost the same. The main factor is the configuration.

    If you speak with someone who has five to six years of experience in Cisco products, it is really fast. If you have someone with little experience then it takes longer. Cisco Catalyst Switches can be configured using the command-line interface and not the web interface. The web interface would be fine for people who do not have a lot of experience with the product.

    Using the command-line interface is a faster way to configure for skilled people who have experience, and not for technicians who are not as experienced.

    It requires a complete team from the beginning. This includes the system engineer, the installer technician, the standard technician, and two or three IT engineers to configure and maintain these switches. 

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    The price for Cisco Catalyst Switches is not cheaper than other solutions.

    Licensing fees are something that you pay at the time of purchase. During the year, I have not had any customers request to renew the license. I have only had customer requests to activate our systems contract when there has been an issue with the device. Cisco products have been shown to be very reliable and stable. It's something that rarely has to be activated.

    I think that the price should be cheaper and they should include at least one year of basic service for technical support for each product, and not just the 90 days from the time of purchase.

    Oftentimes, when my company purchases the Cisco products, they are not installed until three or four months after the date of purchase. The installation is done at least one year after the building and delivery of the Yacht which makes the warranty is not useful.

    What other advice do I have?

    I would recommend these switches to others. Over the years, I have been working with Cisco, and Aruba HP Enterprise devices. I can say that if you use Cisco, you will have good results and reliability. With comparisons, I would suggest not to use Linksys products if you don't have a stable environment, and you have an environment that is moving all over the world such as a Yacht.

    I would rate Cisco Catalyst Switches a nine out of ten.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    On-premises
    Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Integrator
    Aws Al-Dabbagh - PeerSpot reviewer
    IT Manager at a tech vendor with 51-200 employees
    Real User
    Top 5
    Reliable and scalable with lots of great features
    Pros and Cons
    • "Technical support is very responsive and helpful."
    • "Pricing mainly is the only issue."

    What is our primary use case?

    We're using it as basic switches - mainly VLANs and SPB, The main focus is actually for just VLANs and VLAN switching, and that's it.

    What is most valuable?

    There are a lot of features on the device. We're not using all the features that we can use, however.

    It's all fine. It works quite well. What we have now is good. We don't have many requirements for these switches except just forwarding traffic.

    The solution has been very stable.

    We find the product to be scalable.

    Technical support is very responsive and helpful.

    The solution is very reliable.

    What needs improvement?

    Pricing mainly is the only issue. For our company, IT is not a major investment, so it would be harder to convince management to invest in Cisco switches. For quality, they are the best, however, in terms of pricing, especially due to the COVID crisis and everything, investment into a network is now a lower priority. Before, when the money flow was better, it was easier to sell. However, now, for this current situation, a major point of pain in the company is price. 

    Even though my priority is reliability, in order to avoid downtime, management is harder to convince and they just see the price tag. 

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We've been using the solution since about 2018. It's been around four years or so now.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The solution is very stable. Since 2018, since we started with them, we haven't faced any issues with these switches, except for one instance where we switched to a new switch and needed to restart to enable the functionality.

    Other than that, the switches are working great. There were only two times we restarted them due to an incident with the power equipment. The switches restarted because of a power issue, and not due to the switch itself having a problem.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    The solution is scalable. We're actually using it using iStack. It is stackable and very scalable to add more switches. It's quite easy to expand everything.

    We're using these for our core network. It's across all our core network that is going through our IT department. For that reason, many people are on them. It's likely about 50 people 50, plus the user traffic. We're an ISP. We have some servers and portals that use these servers, switches to reach the network. Therefore, many, many users use that. We have a lot of user traffic going through the switches.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    The technical support is fine. We've had, several moments in these last four years where we've requested Cisco technical support and they were very quick to respond and provide assistance. It's taken, at a maximum, two days to go from request to support. they are very responsive. We are very satisfied with their level of service.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    As I understand, Cisco's prices are very high and other vendors might have a lower price. Therefore, we're considering Aruba or Huawei or maybe other vendors as well for both access switches and managed wireless solutions (as in lightweight access points with controllers and these kinds of networks). 

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    Due to the wireless network upgrade, I'm considering other measures as well as Cisco. We're considering Aruba and we're considering Huawei. I'm considering switching to other vendors mainly because of the price.

    What other advice do I have?

    We are a customer and an end-user.

    We deal with a lot of Cisco products. We use maybe 20 or so Cisco switches.

    We have an old 2960-X and a 2960 Plus. We also have three 9300 switches, which are the newer model.

    I would advise other users to plan for a larger network than you currently need. For example, if you need 20 ports on a switch and you're ordering this equipment. order a 48 port one, as you'll find that you quickly consume the 20 ports and you need upgrades of two, three, four, five, six. You'll need upgrades quickly and you'll find yourself ordering another switch to replace this one. The most sensible recommendation is to order one bigger switch, which is better than replacing the switch you have within one year. 

    I'd rate the solution at a nine out of ten. The switches are excellent.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    User at a insurance company with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Real User
    Reliable and scalable
    Pros and Cons
    • "Catalyst Switches perform very well, and the network is stable."
    • "If we have a major problem, fixing it takes two or three days and six to eight engineers from Cisco. When they escalate a ticket, it goes through too many levels. Every time the issue is passed along to a new person at Cisco support, they ask the same questions repeatedly."

    What is our primary use case?

    I use Catalyst Switches in the lines of our local networks. We also use ASR routers from Cisco in one. We have other branches and about 20 or 30 buildings. It's a very large network.

    What is most valuable?

    The most valuable features of Cisco Catalyst are the DHCP features that I use in our routers and the PfR connections. Someone said a long time ago that he who buys Cisco is never fired. They have good solutions. 

    What needs improvement?

    At present, we are adopting many cloud solutions. We are connected to several cloud platforms and do a lot of business in the cloud. So I think that in general, we don't need many features at the moment unless we want to create some applications on the cloud. But that's not the case right now. We are thinking of moving all the people from these 20 buildings to one building. So with all of them in the same building, we'll need to design a new architecture. We have the ACI in our data centers, so we must see how all of this works. We don't know if we'll go to SD-LAN too. So I don't know if we'll use Catalyst or another solution—a solution with ACI, SD-WAN, or SD-LAN. At this moment, I can't say because we are starting to think about this new design.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I've been using Catalyst Switches for about 25 years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Catalyst Switches perform very well, and the network is stable. 

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Catalyst Switches are scalable.

    How are customer service and support?

    If we have a major problem, fixing it takes two or three days and six to eight engineers from Cisco. When they escalate a ticket, it goes through too many levels. Every time the issue is passed along to a new person at Cisco support, they ask the same questions repeatedly. However, if we have a problem that requires a quick fix, Cisco support can handle it in one or two hours. But if we need two or three guys from them, it gets complicated. I don't know if the problem is, but it seems like they spend too much time analyzing the problem and passing it along to other people. Other vendors like Palo Alto and Aruba resolve problems more quickly.

    How was the initial setup?

    Having worked with Cisco for at least 25 years, I think it's easy, but I don't know if someone with less experience would say the same. It's easy because it's very fast. We have some labs where we implement things, and then it's mostly copy-paste — copy the configuration and paste into a new suite. So it's not difficult. Catalyst Switches don't require much maintenance. Sometimes we have problems in our network, but mostly they're not actually problems with the network itself. The business thinks that the problems are in the network, so we must call Cisco to help us prove that we don't have a problem. We can prove that, but if the data service is from Cisco, it's better. All of them. We have about seven or eight people in my company working directly with the Catalyst Switches.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    Catalyst Switches are costly. When I started working with them 25 years ago, prices were a problem too. In my opinion, they are good, of course, and they are the answer to all of our questions. I can say that.

    What other advice do I have?

    I rate Catalyst Switches nine out of 10. I would recommend them to others. I don't know when they will design a new edition of the bigger switches. Because if you have a branch, for instance, you a small Catalyst. You don't need a large Catalyst. But whether it's a small or big installation, I recommend Catalyst.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    On-premises
    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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    JohnVan Dijk - PeerSpot reviewer
    Vice President, Technology, Research & Development at Thales
    Real User
    Top 10
    A pretty good scalable and stable product
    Pros and Cons
    • "It is a pretty good product. I don't see a problem with this product. Cisco Catalyst Switches fit the best for the type of systems that we deploy. Our customers usually are happy with Cisco equipment. Many partners and third parties have ordered this solution."
    • "Its initial setup can be simpler, and it would be great if we can work with a reference architecture. Cisco has the capability to provide a very integrated solution. They have DNA Center, Cisco ISE, Cisco Prime, FMC, and AMP. We are looking at all the products, but it is rather complex to pick out the right licenses that you need. The license structure is a bit complex. Sometimes, there is an overlap in products, which does not really make sense. For example, you have DNA Center and Cisco Prime, and it is not really clear what you would use for what exactly. There is a lot of information on the Cisco website, but it takes a while to go through all this and look at the presentations that are available from Cisco Live. These presentations are appreciated, but sometimes, they are a bit too much like bullet points. You don't exactly know what's behind it, so you have to do a second guess. Overall, there is a lot of information but not always to the point."

    What is our primary use case?

    I am a solution architect and design authority. I define what we need and in which direction we are going to look. We then do some detailed investigation, get reports back, and make a decision. We are working on air traffic control systems. We use this solution for data centers and remote clients.

    What is most valuable?

    It is a pretty good product. I don't see a problem with this product. Cisco Catalyst Switches fit the best for the type of systems that we deploy. Our customers usually are happy with Cisco equipment. Many partners and third parties have ordered this solution.

    What needs improvement?

    Its initial setup can be simpler, and it would be great if we can work with a reference architecture.

    Cisco has the capability to provide a very integrated solution. They have DNA Center, Cisco ISE, Cisco Prime, FMC, and AMP. We are looking at all the products, but it is rather complex to pick out the right licenses that you need. The license structure is a bit complex. Sometimes, there is an overlap in products, which does not really make sense. For example, you have DNA Center and Cisco Prime, and it is not really clear what you would use for what exactly.

    There is a lot of information on the Cisco website, but it takes a while to go through all this and look at the presentations that are available from Cisco Live. These presentations are appreciated, but sometimes, they are a bit too much like bullet points. You don't exactly know what's behind it, so you have to do a second guess. Overall, there is a lot of information but not always to the point.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been working with Cisco switches for 30 years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    It has pretty good stability.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Scalability is pretty good.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    We have experience with professional services. If we do a design, usually we can get some support. After we deploy a new network, we can get professional services from Cisco to help us. I think that is fine. I had an experience with Cisco last week, where they wanted to sell professional services to help us in the early design phase, where things are more conceptual. They shouldn't do that. 

    Cisco should help based on the reference architecture. They should help the potential customer to get started without asking for money. I think Cisco equipment is expensive enough for that. I have no problem paying for professional services after we deploy it or when we do a detailed design. When it is early in a project's phase, we should get help from them to go in the right direction. It should be part of the normal business to work with an initial customer.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup works well if you can build on earlier projects, but if you really have to make a completely new design, you will struggle a bit. We are working on a project now, and we have our experienced network engineers on this project, and they are struggling. The initial setup could be simpler.

    It would be great if we can work with reference architectures. I have also seen something like this with other suppliers, and I really liked it. I have seen some of the ideas in the Cisco Live presentations, but I'm not sure if it is really complete and clear enough. It should be worked out a bit further so that we can work with reference architectures, and then let's say base it on multiple products that you would apply in the reference architecture. 

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    Cisco products are not that cheap.

    What other advice do I have?

    I would definitely recommend this solution. I would rate Cisco Catalyst Switches an eight out of ten.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    On-premises
    Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Reseller
    Buyer's Guide
    Download our free Cisco Catalyst Switches Report and get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions.
    Updated: July 2022
    Buyer's Guide
    Download our free Cisco Catalyst Switches Report and get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions.