Requests for Cisco Catalyst 9300 are up … what’s the intent?

Interest in Cisco's Catalyst 9000 switches is up considerably. But looking at the specs, smaller networks should probably stay away from them.

Martyn Williams

My project engineering staff has been getting more and more information requests for Cisco’s new line of Catalyst 9000 switches, especially the 9300 switch. That has me wondering why.

Cisco touts the Catalyst 9300 Series as the next generation of the industry's most widely deployed stackable switching platform that’s built for security, the Internet of Things (IoT), and cloud computing. It’s part of a line of network switches that form the foundation for Cisco's Software-Defined Access, its leading enterprise architecture.

One reason for the increased interest could be Cisco’s recently announced new intent-based networking system. Cisco believes that by adopting an intent-based approach, networks will be able to deliver a solution that introduces an onslaught of applications and devices that provide greater efficiency and address new security threats.

So, you’re thinking about upgrading your switch infrastructure, and your local Cisco representative recommends the brand-new Catalyst 9300 family. You decide to check out the Cisco Catalyst 9300 Series Switches Data Sheet.

Looks really great! Lots of cutting-edge features. But did you know:

  1. These switches have a brand-new licensing model to enable the DNA features.
  2. It’s not possible to purchase one of these switches from Cisco without a DNA license — even if you don’t intend to use the DNA capabilities.
  3. DNA licenses have a renewal term from three to seven years. Yes, you read that right; you will be paying Cisco $$ over and over again.
  4. If you want to use the DNA capability, you also have to purchase a server-appliance. As far as I can tell, there’s only one size — and the list price is $77,000.

Catalyst 9300 great for large networks, but not small

Don’t get me wrong, the Catalyst 9000 switch family has some amazing capability, and I think it will become the way all networks are configured. BUT right now, it’s obvious that Cisco intends this setup for large and extra-large networks. What if you need only a few switches?

Fear not! You have options.

Instead of purchasing the latest and greatest, how about taking a look at the still-current Catalyst 3850 switch line?

I just wanted to offer my perspective on a topic that our product engineering team reports as being "hot."

Author's note: This post has been modified to prevent confusion about the DNA features and the models in the Catalyst switch lines.

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