Technology is leading a change in business landscape driving the need to go digital. Data plays a pivotal role in this digital transformation delivering outcomes that we could not comprehend a few years back. The deluge of data driven from end-points, applications and the network itself can be overwhelming unless there is an astute way to govern the data and gain insights.

Catalyst 9000 series of switches, Cisco’s flagship enterprise switching portfolio delivering Intent Based Networking (IBN) runs a modern, modular and model-driven operating system stack, Cisco IOS® XE. Powered by Intel x86 CPU, Catalyst 9000 series now supports secure Docker™ container based application hosting environment, starting with the Catalyst 9300 switches. Users now have the option to either build their own apps or host any off-the-shelf apps to enable network monitoring/troubleshooting, security or IoT related outcomes.

One of the key areas of focus while developing this capability was around security and performance implications that the hosted app would have on the mission critical infrastructure itself. Our implementation ensures that the Docker™ container is isolated from the host operating system which guarantees that any malware or vulnerabilities on the App itself will NOT compromise the system. Secondly the Docker™ container is allocated dedicated compute, memory, storage and network connectivity to ensure that apps running in the container do NOT compete with Cisco IOS® XE for hardware resources. Finally any app related data stored on non-volatile memory is secured using 256-bit encryption to prevent data compromise in the event attackers gets physical access to the switch.

Ability to orchestrate the hosted app across thousands of switches distributed across hundreds of physical locations is critical to meet the scale requirements of our large enterprise customers. Cisco DNA Center now supports the complete lifecycle management of hosted applications with few clicks of a button.

One of our key goals is to use the Catalyst 9000 series as an enabling platform and cater to the diverse set of our user-base that span across all verticals and geographies. DevNet Ecosystem Exchange is Cisco’s vehicle to nurture a rich ecosystem of apps for Catalyst 9000 series  and provide users the ability to pick their choice apps. Partners and solution providers are now welcome to submit their solution through Ecosystem Exchange. We are also introducing Application Hosting sandbox on DevNet to support application developers.

“Application Hosting capabilities on Catalyst 9000 switching platform sets Cisco apart from their competition. No one else in the industry is allowing you this access. When you couple Catalyst 9300 with Application hosting and Cisco DNA Center, it gives you more power and capability than you ever had before.”

— Dave Benham, Mobility Practice Director, Presidio

”With the app hosting capability, we will now be able of installing probes across the entire network allowing us to generate real data traffic and detect any loss of performances. Moreover, the Docker™oriented solution allows us to leverage our current and future investments (on Catalyst 9300) without adding extra costs in physical probes. We also skip the painful management and configuration tasks of those probes through the very easy-to-use DNA Center interface.”

— Frank Weiler, Network and Telco manager, City of Luxembourg

“We (Conscia) are excited how easy it is to quickly put Docker™instances in the network edge layer using the App Hosting on Catalyst 9000. App hosting opens up new possibilities for distributed architectures with automation and IoT with the help of local data processing in the edge.

— Stefan Ehrson, Senior Network Engineer, Conscia

Edge compute is now possible with Catalyst 9000 series switches. Application hosting on Cisco’s intent based networks allows network operators worldwide to harness the power of data and gather insights at a scale that was never possible before. Be a part of this exciting adventure!

To learn more about Application Hosting solution on Catalyst Switching, please visit Enterprise Switching Page on DevNet: https://developer.cisco.com/app-hosting/


Anoop Vetteth

VP, Product Management, Enterprise Switching and Software Solutions