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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. IT Central Station 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 44% of users researching this solution on IT Central Station. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a comms service provider, accounting for 33% of all views.
What is Cisco Catalyst Switches?
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Cisco Catalyst Switches was previously known as Cisco Catalyst, Catalyst.

Cisco Catalyst Switches Buyer's Guide

Download the Cisco Catalyst Switches Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: December 2021

Cisco Catalyst Switches Customers
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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."
  • "The cost of a license before COVID and before the lockdown was approximately three lakh 70,000 in Indian Rupees. After this COVID situation, the cost has gone down to two lakh 46,000 rupees."
  • "This is expensive, even when compared to competitors' products."
  • "The price of Cisco equipment is very expensive and you have to pay extra for support."
  • "The price for Cisco Catalyst Switches is not cheaper than other solutions."

Cisco Catalyst Switches Reviews

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RK
System Administrator at a university with 5,001-10,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
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.  

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 technical 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.
VA
Senior Network Engineer at High Frequency Trading
Real User
Top 20
Easy to use, provides good network visibility, and supports multicast routing

Pros and Cons

  • "They have a robust monitoring system."
  • "The biggest issue we are having is with bugs and memory loss, which occurs when developing the IOS."

What is our primary use case?

We use this solution for LAN connectivity. We also use it for routing capabilities. It can become an L3 switch.

What is most valuable?

Cisco has a well-maintained library of maps and features that we use to monitor. 

One of the most valuable features is the IP SLA feature that allows you to connect the routes or to switch the routes when there is static. Also, the flow exporter tells you which host is using a lot of traffic or where they all are transferring data.

It gives you transparency into your network.

It supports multicast routing. We use Ganglia to monitor the Condor Grid. Ganglia transmits statistics that are multicast. Because it has multicast forwarding routing capabilities, it is also usable.

IP SLA or NetFlow are things that are presented in Catalyst and are extremely easy to use.

It also supports QoS. Basically, it can configure layer 2 or layer 3 QoS to prioritize the traffic that we want.

They have a robust monitoring system.

What needs improvement?

Most of the time, I struggle with the bugs. I don't find it very challenging to configure these because I have been using them for the last eight years, so I am pretty comfortable with the CLI. With these bugs, I don't know the configuration for a one time task, you configure it, you deploy it, and you forget about it.

The biggest issue we are having is with bugs and memory loss, which occurs when developing the IOS.

We also had an issue with Nexus 3548. The CPU started stalling and the switch became unresponsive. We had to call support and have someone remove that cable immediately, as we are not able to travel due to the COVID situation. Once the cable was removed, the switch came back to life.

I searched through the log and learned what happened. The CPU was stalled for 11 seconds. I searched Google and on the Cisco bug tracker, and I found that it was a bug. There is no workaround for that. It was a huge loss for us and we lost money as a result.

There was nothing that I could have done to prevent this from happening. This is a management interface that is supposed to be used to manage the device. I connected the cable not knowing that the bug existed.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been working with Cisco Catalyst Switches for eight years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We are going to be upgrading to the latest version because there are a few bugs in the release that we are currently using. We are facing issues with it causing the memory to be depleted. The bug is in the operating system itself.

Despite the bug issues we are facing, it is a stable solution. It is partly our fault as we have not upgraded to the newer version.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This solution is scalable. I don't think that it is stackable, but with a recent Catalyst that we have purchased, it provided four 10G uplinks.

Catalyst is installed in a central location. Everyone who connects to the company network goes through a Catalyst switch, one way or another. The switch is placed strategically so that we have the data of every incoming and outgoing connection. There can be 100 to 200 users.

How are customer service and technical support?

We raised a case with the memory leak issue that we were facing and they said that we will need to update our device. In general, they are very good at what they do.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was extremely simple. We are engineers and know the plan beforehand how it will be used, how many ports will be used, what kind of configuration it will have, where the ports will be connected, and where the device will be mounted.

It's easy for us to configure and deploy. It takes two to three hours.

The device goes into the co-location center, where our cabinets are. The switch is mounted and we configure a management IP on that interface. 

What about the implementation team?

The deployment doesn't always involve us, as we are not always able to travel to the locations. Instead, we ask them to contact the vendor to install and connect the device.

The implementation is done through a vendor and our team.

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

They install licenses for 24 ports and then an additional 24 ports. The client is able to use the 48 ports or just 24 port if they want.

The cost of a license before COVID and before the lockdown was approximately three lakh 70,000 in Indian Rupees. After this COVID situation, the cost has gone down to two lakh 46,000 rupees.

The additional cost depends on where the device is being installed. If it's shared then we have to pay the rent for that cabinet where the device is being installed.

The device has only the chassis cost and the licensing cost.

In two or three years, we renew the support contract and that is an additional charge.

What other advice do I have?

Our environment includes a heterogeneous network. It's not all in the same place geographically, where some of the servers are in India, some are in Delhi, some are in Mumbai, London, Chicago, and Brazil.

The monitoring of the device is in the day-to-day operations.

We don't have a lot of traffic, we run simulations. We need high-capacity servers. In terms of network devices, we don't need much. When we need better switches or better devices, we have Nexus. They are used so that there is the lowest latency possible and maximum throughput.

We have point-to-point lead lines to connect to those sites, as well as architect tunnels.

Overall, it's a very robust switch and it's very nice.

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

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.
Learn what your peers think about Cisco Catalyst Switches. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: December 2021.
554,586 professionals have used our research since 2012.
OSSENI Adé Adam
Senior Network Engineer & Technical Instructor at Improtech
Real User
Top 10
Excellent for covering business needs, relatively easy to deploy, and offers good technical support

Pros and Cons

  • "We have dealt with Cisco's technical support in the past. They were especially helpful and very polite. They are always there if we need them and their insights are always excellent. I would say that we have been satisfied with the level of support we've gotten so far."
  • "The user interface needs improvement. Meraki has a much nicer UI. Cisco could learn a lot by looking at them. It might make them a bit more user friendly."

What is our primary use case?

We don't personally use the switches; we provide services to our clients, including implementing the switches for them.

How has it helped my organization?

Catalyst switches solutions are great. For various customers we have deployed for, business operations run smoothly and without any complain. Troubleshooting and insights are clearer. 

Our customers love working with us. 

What is most valuable?

Catalyst switches support a variety of features from both layer 2 and layer 3. The fetaures supported depend on the model your dealing with. Though there are various common features such VLAN, MLAG, SDM, STP, Resiliency, PoE, Wireless settings, etc....which Stacking feature happens to be the most common deployment. 

Recently I laid hands on Meraki Switches and what I can say to love is its seamless network services to build high-performance networks. 

What needs improvement?

The user interface needs improvement. It might make them a bit more user friendly.

The one thing that I came across with the Catalyst 2950-X switch was that I wanted to alter the dashboard, so I connected it to the management interface. I gave it an IP address and I used the browser. However, as soon as I accessed it, I realized that the system of the computer from which I was accessing it didn't support that version. I was using Linux and the OS didn't support the switch. I had to get a Windows computer to access the switch. The dashboard was difficult to manage. It would have been nice if they made it obvious that it didn't work on Linux.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been dealing with the solution for more than two years now. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I wouldn't say that the switches are stable. It depends on the situation more than any fault in the technology, however.

If a customer approaches my company, we provide the best option for the client. Sometimes that's Catalyst. We do work to evaluate the client and their needs quite extensively before making recommendations. Most of the time, clients look only at the cost and not at the bigger picture. Many don't want to spend too much money. Sometimes, however, a better solution may cost more.

While a well-implemented product is typically stable, if a client says that they don't want to spend anything higher than X, you have to work within those parameters and explain what X will get them, which may ultimately be instability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Very scalable. 

How are customer service and technical support?

We have dealt with Cisco's technical support in the past. They were especially helpful and very polite. They are always there if we need them and their insights are always excellent. I would say that we have been satisfied with the level of support we've gotten so far.

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

Of course, we use and still use Meraki solutions. We didn't switch. Like I said, it is based on what customers need. 

How was the initial setup?

The Catalyst switches take more time to implement than Meraki. How long it takes varies for each organization. It depends on the size and requirements. We have spent up to a few weeks on previous contracts setting up switches for companies.

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

Catalyst licensing varies from a thousand of dollars to 20+ thousands dollars , however, that might depend on the model or version you choose. There are some switches where the licenses are features-based and you need to get a specific license for specific items if you want to use them.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We've looked at Meraki, among other solutions.

While we have used Meraki, it's hard to compare them to Catalyst switches. Meraki is quite good and agile. They've simplified a lot of their processes and have some features that make actions easy to do on Meraki. However, Catalyst offers much of the same features, and are possibly more feature-rich.

Meraki is very much more focused on business needs. While it may be good for their own business model, it doesn't encapsulate everything. Catalyst does a better job in that regard. It has many more features on offer. You aren't limited, although you will want to focus on a particular kind of feature list for your deployment or your integration into your environment.

Cisco happened to own Meraki solutions now. 

What other advice do I have?

Last year, we were Cisco partners, but something happened and Cisco made some changes to its partnership requirements. Right now, we are working on re-establishing the partnership with Cisco. We'd like to be partners again.

We are planning to be a distributor. For the moment, however, now that we are waiting on the partnership, we're more of an integrator. 

We have deployed on-premises mostly and also a hybrid version sometimes. It depends on what the customer wants and what fits best for their needs. It also depends on the model that you are talking about. On the Catalyst switches, as far as I know, the models vary from types of deployments and features. Some features are only available on applicable switches.

In terms of advice I would give to other companies, I'd say that I like both Meraki and Cisco. I don't really prefer one over the other. It depends on the situation which one makes the most sense. Both are very large solutions but I could recommend either.

I'd rate the solution eight out of ten. I really do love Catalyst switches. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Amazon Web Services (AWS)
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Integrator
MinaMagdy
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
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AA
IT Manager at a non-tech company with 201-500 employees
Real User
Top 20
Scalable, reliable, and it is easy to find trained engineers

Pros and Cons

  • "The biggest advantage of having this solution is that it is easy to find engineers, and they are cheaper than hiring HP engineers."
  • "I would like to see better compatibility between Cisco and other vendors."

What is our primary use case?

I design, implement, and troubleshoot networks that use Cisco switches. I am involved in every part of the design, including wireless.

What is most valuable?

The biggest advantage of having this solution is that it is easy to find engineers, and they are cheaper than hiring HP engineers. HP engineers are difficult to find and you have to train them, which brings up the price of an HP solution.

What needs improvement?

Cisco switches are really expensive compared to other solutions, which is something that should be improved. They are almost double in price.

As of late, Cisco has been moving from one technology to the next and they don't support each other. If you want new features then you have to buy a new product and forget about the old one. This is from a licensing perspective. For example, the Cisco DNA license versus then Cisco One license are things that I don't know about.

I would like to see better compatibility between Cisco and other vendors. There are a lot of features that are for Cisco devices only, and when you bring in a second or third vendor there are a lot of problems. Fixing this incompatibility would be an improvement. I have not tried a lot of other brands, but I have connected both Huawei and Aruba Wireless with Cisco. Connecting Huawei with Aruba Wireless works well with no hangs. However, connecting Cisco and Huawei is terrible. Sometimes you have to restart one, whereas other times you have to restart the other. I do not recommend mixing equipment between these two companies.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been working with Cisco Catalyst switches for close to 11 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

If the switch is set up properly in the first place then you don't need to come back to do anything with it. This is especially true with the Catalyst 3750. It is the most stable thing in the world. I have found that some of the newer switches will hang or lose their configuration, but this never happened with the 3750.

For example, I have faced a lot of problems with the 3850, especially if there are Aruba access points. Sometimes, it will just reject the access point, although when I bring a new one, it will allow it. Sometimes the VLAN, itself, hangs. Then you can put in another VLAN and it will work. There are a lot of mysterious things that I could not find an explanation for.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have not faced any problem with scalability.

In my opinion, the Catalyst switches are for enterprise-level organizations with 5,000 or more employees. If there are 1,000 or fewer employees then any switch will manage.

Some of the places I have worked in had networks with 20,000 to 70,000 users. 

How are customer service and technical support?

I have not contacted technical support from Cisco. I have friends and colleagues who have received support but I just keep reading, then trial and error until I get it. I wouldn't want to pay for support if I don't use it. The only time I would require support is a hardware failure.

I have worked on two projects in the past where support licenses were purchased for a year. What I found was that I could purchase four additional switches and in total, they would cost less than the support. Those switches then go into storage and if one of the others fails then a replacement is available. Ultimately, it is much, much cheaper.

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

I have always used Cisco networking solutions, although we are opening a new branch and I think that this time, we will use HP. They do not want to pay one to two million dollars for IT infrastructure. With HP, if they have to pay half a million then they will approve it.

I have experience with a hybrid environment where it was a Cisco LAN and an HP Aruba wireless LAN, and I didn't like it. I was losing some great options. Based on that experience, I think that all of the hardware should be from a single vendor. Either Cisco all the way, or HP Aruba all the way.

How was the initial setup?

It is very easy and very straightforward to set up and deploy. It takes maybe 15 to 30 minutes to get it working.

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

The price of Cisco equipment is very expensive and you have to pay extra for support.

What other advice do I have?

My advice for anybody who is implementing this solution is to design the system well before deploying it. You have to consider all of the aspects and all of the options. Always beware. If there is a 1% chance of failure then consider it to be a 90% failure rate because when it fails, you will have options. Always have a plan A, B, C, and D. In my experience, sometimes all of the plans will fail, and sometimes the first one succeeds.

I can't give them a perfect market but they undeniably are of good quality.

I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.

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.
XS
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.
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LS
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
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Aws Al-Dabbagh
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.
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