Old and New: A quick comparison between Cisco Nexus 9500/7700/7000 Vs Cisco Catalyst 6800/6500

 Today we are going to talk about the features and the comparison between Cisco Nexus 9500; Cisco Nexus 7700; Cisco Nexus 7000; Cisco Catalyst 6800 and Cisco Catalyst 6500. In this article I will talk about the system capacity, slot capacity, port density and many other factors.

So if you have huge or large environment you can opt the switch accordingly for the core switching. We knew that the switches like Cisco Catalyst 6500 is already End of Life long time ago and Cisco Catalyst 6800 is also on the verge of retiring his journey after such a success story. Similarly for Cisco Nexus 7000 and for Cisco Nexus 7700 Nexus Switches. 

Some says why comparing Nexus with the catalyst, you are right that is not the correct comparison but as there are so many deployments where we saw these nexus devices used in the campus as a core, so thought of comparison these devices as a core device on the campus as per the feature difference and capabilities of these devices.

Cisco Nexus 9500 Switch
Cisco Nexus 9500 Switch is used in two different images ( NX-OS and ACI). These switches are called as next generation datacenter switches and worked in the spine-leaf architecture. In Cisco NX-OS mode, the Cisco Nexus 9500 Series Switches support foundational routing and switching technologies along with modern technologies such as VXLAN with BGP-EVPN control plane, segment routing, MPLS, and open APIs.

In Cisco ACI mode, Cisco Nexus 9500 Series cloud-scale switches and select Cisco 9300 Series cloud-scale switches provide the ACI spine functionality in the Cisco ACI fabric. The Cisco Nexus 9300 Series cloud-scale switches provide the ACI leaf functionality in the Cisco ACI fabric. Cisco ACI is the most comprehensive solution to enable data center automation and application agility. 

Fig 1.1- Image of Cisco Nexus 9508 and Supervisor Engine

It provides a secure, scalable, deterministic, and integrated policy-based architecture, which enables rapid application deployment and workload mobility in data centers. The Cisco Nexus 9000 Series cloud-scale switches are the foundation to deploy and run Cisco ACI.

Cisco Nexus 7700 and Cisco Nexus 7000 
Cisco Nexus 7700 Switches are the extension to the Cisco Nexus 7000 Series modular switches. With more than 83 Terabits per second (Tbps) of overall switching capacity, the Cisco Nexus 7700 Switches delivers the highest-capacity 10, 40, and 100 Gigabit Ethernet ports in the industry, with up to 768 native 10-Gbps ports, 384 40-Gbps ports, or 192 100-Gbps ports. This high system capacity is designed to meet the scalability requirements of the largest cloud environments.

Fig 1.2- Cisco Nexus 7700 vs Cisco Nexus 7000 

The Cisco Nexus 7000 Series offers a comprehensive, one-platform solution for the data center core network. It also provides aggregation, high density, and end-of-row and top-of-rack server connectivity. For campus core deployments, it offers a scalable, highly resilient, high-performance solution.

Cisco Catalyst 6800 and Cisco Catalyst 6500
Cisco Catalyst 6800 Switches are the extension to the Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series modular switches. This platform is ideal for those who want to introduce premium 10G services in small or midsize campus backbones. This unique platform offers 10G port density, full MPLS/VPLS functionality with large table sizes (up to 2M FIB entries), and more than 15 years of best-in-class features. 

Fig 1.3- Cisco Catalyst 6800 Switches with VSS


With a full suite of L2/L3, virtualization, security, multicast, IPV6, application visibility, smart operations, and rich media services Cisco Catalyst 6800-X delivers unprecedented capabilities on day one. This platform also runs on the same architecture as the Cisco Catalyst 6500 Supervisor Engine 2T and therefore offers stability with a proven operating system software

Long story short, we would like to show the below comparison between all these switches which we discuss as quick above.

Below is the comparison between these switches. I hope you will get the main difference between these switches to understand the use case in your environment.

Fig 1.2- Comparison Between Nexus and Catalyst Switches

 I knew Cisco Catalyst 6500 chassis are end of support which are replaced with Cisco 6800 switches. Similarly Cisco Nexus 7000 series switch are also absolute and will be replaced anyhow with Cisco Nexus 7700 series switches.