Today we announced two big additions to our Catalyst 9000 family. The Catalyst 9200 switch and the Catalyst 9800 wireless LAN controller. If you’re in the networking space, you’ll find a lot to like about these products. Several interlinked teams at Cisco worked for several years to bring them to you, and I’m proud of all of them.
But there are a few key reasons I love these products, which I want to share.
1. One OS for Everything
From the ultra-high-capacity Catalyst 9500 Core switch that anchors the Catalyst 9000 line, to the new Catalyst 9200 access switch for branch offices and the mid-market, to the completely new Catalyst 9800 Wireless LAN Controller, we have one operating system that runs them all.
IOS XE, which we first rolled out in 2017 on the Catalyst 9000, is the latest upgrade of Cisco’s core operating system. It is modular, programmable, and supports the full capabilities of our new Intent-based networking controller, DNA Center. That means that with one simple user interface, you can automate, set policy, provide security, and gain assurance across your entire wired and wireless network fabric, from the most far-flung branch or campus to your most central core system.
Each Catalyst 9000 device is built from the ground up for intent-based networking. Our Catalyst 9200 switch is accessible to new installations, but leverages the world-class switching capability (and the ASIC architecture) from the rest of the Catalyst 9000 family.
Catalyst 9200 switch (glass top)
The Catalyst 9800 uses everything we know about wireless networking– based on over 15 years of refining the WLCs and access points that the world trusts – and combines it with the world’s most secure, scalable and resilient network device operating system.
2. A Passion for User Experience
From buying to installing to managing, we’ve refined every part of the Catalyst 9000 owner experience.
Our new subscription-based model aligns our success with our customers’. Our teams are passionate about providing consistently-improving capabilities, to keep up with the changing demands of business. We want to do more than just sell you a box. Our new Catalyst 9000 products are built to continuously deliver new innovation through software. Since we shipped the first Catalyst 9000, we’ve added substantial new capabilities to it, like IoT integration and an embedded wireless controller.
We are making it easier to use advanced networking capabilities than in the past, too. All the Catalyst 9000 products, from the new Catalyst 9200 branch switch to the cloud-based Catalyst 9800 wireless controller, can be managed through the DNA Center console.
Networking is complex enough by itself. We’re serious about simplifying the experience with advance products so you can focus on your overall network, not on individual infrastructure devices.
3. Ready for the Software Future
Networking innovation today moves at the pace of software. So do our new devices. For example, network macro- and micro-segmentation, a key tool for keeping networks and users safe from bad actors and stopping the proliferation of threats, runs across all the products in a Catalyst 9000-based fabric, controlled directly from a Cisco DNA Center controller. We also support Assurance, a software capability that can provide visibility into your network so you can ensure it’s doing what you intend for it to do. And we use advanced analytics to alert you to network threats as they arise, even if they are in encrypted traffic, thanks in part to our integration with Cisco TALOS threat intelligence.
DNA Center supports an expanding library of APIs, so our partners and customer can build even more application and use cases on top of their automated networks. We’re creating content and tools to help network operators work with these programmable features.
And for the first time, we’re also releasing a software version of one of our key Catalyst 9000 capabilities. The Catalyst 9800 wireless controller is available not just in a new, high-performance chassis that you can run on-premise, but also as a software addition that can be run on select Catalyst 9000 switches, or even in a private or public cloud.
4. Always On
Networking isn’t just a business function. As with electric power, people rely on connections to live. Our products are based on providing continuous, consistent, and fail-safe networking to all users.
Nearly all the Catalyst 9000 series products support hot patching, so you can install critical updates without affecting user access; the Catalyst 9800 wireless controller will even manage rolling updates of WiFi access points, so no part of an installation is ever without a serviceable wireless signal.
Our Catalyst 9200, 9300, and 9400 switches also support Perpetual Power Over Ethernet, to make sure that even if a switch is rebooted, all devices relying it for electrical power will stay up. The switches themselves also support high-reliability features like redundant fans and power supplies across the portfolio.
We will be bringing more enterprise-grade High-Availability features to our Catalyst 9000 line with future updates.
5. It’s our Life’s Work
This is what I really want people to know: These Catalyst 9000 products are new, but they’re not. They’re based on more than 30 years of experience building networks. Our engineering teams are made up of people who literally designed core networking protocols used around the world. We keep these people busy and challenged, and that’s why Cisco engineers tend to stay at Cisco longer than employees at any other technology company.
We keep them fresh by making their work challenging — like asking them to reinvent networking. We are constantly on the lookout for fresh talent, and new companies that address technology issues in new ways. That’s why we have acquired world-class companies in wireless technology, SD-WAN, security, and application-level networking tools, to name a few.
We stay close to our customers in all industries – such as retail, healthcare, education, high-tech, government, manufacturing, and service provider – to make sure we learn the challenges that each industry faces, and to be sure we can innovate to help them deliver on their business goals.
The result? Roughly half of the world’s network access ports connect to a Catalyst product. I cannot begin to express how seriously we take the responsibility of keeping these networks running, and keeping the companies who run them up to date, competitive, and efficient.
The Catalyst 9000 line is our best work ever. You can learn more about the newest members of the family here.