What is our primary use case?
Generally, we are using Cisco Catalyst switches for the campus network. We are currently using the Cisco Catalyst 3800 Series switches with IOS XE, and we also recently onboarded the Catalyst 9300 Series and 9400 Series, mostly for the campus network. We also use the 3800 Series switch for wireless connectivity, which provides UPOE, supporting up to 60 watts for the PoE devices.
Performance-wise, Catalysts are so good in the LAN infrastructure, especially for a campus network. But for a data center environment, we mostly prefer the Cisco Nexus series.
How has it helped my organization?
Cisco Catalyst is one of the most famous and popular devices for campus networks, widely used in most of the country. They are the preferred networking switches with many features that help eliminate the need for a more complex OSPF. They are also easy to configure and manage. With the vulnerability assessment report, we can see there are more improvements coming from Cisco for campus area network switches.
What is most valuable?
HSRP (Hot Standby Router Protocol) is one valuable feature. In the 3800 Series, we have the Stacking feature which enables combining switches to get more bandwidth and produce high-availability. The Stacking feature can also actually eliminate the need for HSRP.
What needs improvement?
I would like to see hosting multiple applications on the existing IOS.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
Stability-wise it is good. We have had multiple Catalyst switches running for quite a long period of time without even a single reboot. Performance-wise that is quite okay.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
The way it is being deployed it is expandable. We can add additional devices, so it is good.
How is customer service and technical support?
I have used support for Catalyst and it was good.
Which solutions did we use previously?
In most places, we were already using it, and we are continuing to use it. We could see the stability was better and it's quite easy to manage. We are also used to it. In addition, we're able to get technical support as well as vendor support.
How was the initial setup?
Setup is quite straightforward. You need to understand some of the basic components, how to set up the basic requirements. Apart from that, it is quite easy. You won't struggle much if you have a basic understanding of it.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
Another candidate would be Juniper switches.
What other advice do I have?
The main thing is that Catalyst has been around for quite a long period. Cisco is one of the leaders in campus area networks, so investing in Catalysts, given that they are reliable, is safe.
My most important criteria when selecting a vendor are the
- product knowledge
- support from the vendor and the availability of the technical staff to support it.
I would give a Cisco Catalyst a nine out of 10 because most campus networks use Cisco and it is one of the best campus network switches. Its performance is quite good, it’s seamless, and stability-wise it is good.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.