March 27, 2017 - 5 Comments

Catena is a multi-terabit service chaining, security, load-balancing, analytics and L4-L7 applications integration solution. Eg, Catena can perform these operations at 40 Tbps.

Have you ever found yourself entangled in deploying multiple applications, L4-L7 services, network devices, VMs and Containers? Add multiple departments/tenants sharing those resources, and you have a nightmare! We have solved these and many more use-cases with our latest innovation, Catena.

The solution works with all L4-L7 virtual and physical devices, such as, Firewalls, IPS, IDS, WAAS, DDoS protection, load-balancers, SSL offload engines, network monitoring, etc.

With our patent pending algorithms, Catena allows user to create multiple chains with multiple elements in each chain. User can configure security policies to configure which traffic goes through which chain. An element, could be a cluster of devices, in which case Catena load-balances to the cluster. Catena performs health monitoring and failure handling of devices. Catena performs sophisticated analytics.

The solution is natively embedded into the switch/router, i.e., the user doesn’t have to buy any service module or external hardware.

Currently, Cisco Nexus series of switches natively has Catena. Eg, Nexus 7000, 7700 (already shipped),  9000 (Q2, CY 2017) series of switches.

Here are some key points:

  • There is no solution today which can do all of these: security, service chaining, load-balancing, analytics, L4-L7 integration, orchestration.
  • Significant performance improvement: Today’s solutions only solve a small part of the problem, and even then they work at most at 400Gbps. Catena can scale to 40 Tbps.
  • Scale improvement: Catena can create a large number of chains, with multiple elements (eg VNFs) in each chain.
  • CAPEX savings: Today, partial solution costs around $20K for 100Gbps solution, Catena works at 40 Tbps for a fraction of that price.
  • OPEX savings: Today, the user has to do VLAN stitching or create default gateways, which is very hard to deploy and hard to add/remove devices.
  • With today’s solution, either all the traffic is in a chain or not in a chain. Catena allows securely partitioning the traffic through multiple chains.
  • Today’s solution, does not allow user to create multiple chains using the same network elements. Catena allows that.
  • High availability improvement.

Catena allows the user to create, orchestrate and scale an elastic network. It could be a data center, service provider or enterprise network.

A number of customers are deploying Catena.

Here are some of the links:

Catena configuration guide 

Catena command reference guide

NetworkWorld lists Catena as Product of the Week.

For more information and slide deck, please email


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  5. I think Catena is a great feature that make the Nexus Switches the best choice for data center among others vendors offering.that make the service chaining/Insertion much more easier.this is a great value added to the nexus switches.
    i have two Q regarding Catena .
    1- what is the deference between Catena and ITD ?
    2- it mentioned it can used for sending traffic flow for monitoring (i think for DPI , Packet Capture , IDS/IPS ).what is the deference with Nexus Data Broker ?