Cisco Catalyst vs Nexus: Difference and Comparison

Cisco provides a diverse selection of modular and fixed-configuration switches to help businesses choose the perfect networking solution. These switches assist you in keeping up with the ever-changing dynamics of your organization.

Network switches, wireless controllers, and access points are all sold under the Catalyst brand name by Cisco Systems (CSCO). There are modular and fixed ports in the Cisco Nexus line of data centre network switches.

Key Takeaways

  1. Catalyst suits small to medium-sized businesses, while Nexus is designed for large enterprises.
  2. Catalyst switches use the IOS operating system, while Nexus switches use the NX-OS operating system.
  3. Nexus switches are more expensive than Catalyst switches.

Cisco Catalyst vs Cisco Nexus

Cisco Catalyst is a brand for a wide range of network switches made and sold by Cisco Systems, known for using IOS and supporting LACP and PAGP for an Ether channel. Cisco Nexus is a series of modular and fixed port network switches designed with the NX OS and can support LACP for an Ether channel.

Cisco Catalyst Vs Cisco Nexus

While Ethernet switches are the most well-known, the company has offered a variety of network interfaces throughout its existence. Cisco bought many firms and renamed their products as different Catalyst versions.


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Crescendo Communications provided the technology for the original Catalyst 5000 and 6000 series. Grand Junction Networks provided 1700, 1900, and 2800 series Catalysts, while Kalpana provided the Catalyst 3000 series in 1994.

Cisco Systems unveiled their Nexus Series of switches on January 28th, 2008.

Two supervisory engines, eight I/O module openings in the front, and five crossbar switch fabric units at the back comprised the initial Nexus 7000 series design. The Nexus series includes many more models in addition to the 7000.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonCisco CatalystCisco Nexus
Year of Launch19942008
Maximum number of ports supported816
Operating systemIOSNX-OS
Availability of Admin accountNot by defaultBy default
Does it support FCoE? (Fiber Channel Over Ethernet)NoYes
Does it support Rapid PVST +?NoYes

What is Cisco Catalyst?

Cisco Systems sells a range of network switches, wireless controllers, and wireless access points under the name Catalyst.

While Ethernet switches are the most well-known, the company has offered a variety of network interfaces throughout its existence. Catalyst switches provide a great deal of flexibility and management.

A serial terminal, telnet, or a Secure Shell can be used to configure the switches. The Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) provides for the monitoring and measuring of a variety of statuses and traffic flows.

An HTTP server can be run on a variety of devices.

The switch’s configuration is done in plain text, making it easier to audit. To create a suitable setup, no extra software is necessary.

Setting up a TFTP (Trivial File Transfer Protocol) server for storing configuration data and any IOS files for updating is useful for locations with a large number of devices.

In order to upload and copy complex settings, use a text editor, a TFTP server, and the Cisco device’s default format, however, a TFTP server may have security concerns.

One or more rack units of Catalyst switches can contain anywhere from 12 to 80 ports, depending on the model.

The other type of Catalyst switch is known as a modular switch, which has nearly every part installed independently, from the CPU card down to the switch cards.

cisco catalyst

What is Cisco Nexus?

The Cisco Nexus Series switches are data centre network switches with modular and fixed ports.

The Nexus 7000 family’s initial chassis is a 10-slot chassis with two supervisor engine slots, eight I/O module slots in the front, and five crossbar switch fabric modules in the back.

There are additional Nexus 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000, 6000, 7000, and 900, in addition to the Nexus 7000.

The Cisco Nexus Switch product line offers a number of software-defined networking solutions aimed at making it simpler to link and manage diverse data centre resources (SDN).

The objective was to make deployments easier and to provide consistent networking across physical, virtual, and cloud environments.

IT and Business Agility is a flexible, high-availability fabric that allows for dynamic resource allocation, changing traffic patterns, complicated workloads, and scalability inside and between data centres.

Consistent rules and services integrated directly into the fabric, as well as awareness of the virtualized environment, ease the delivery and administration of network operations in converged, virtualized, and cloud settings.

Consolidated, multi-protocol solutions for LANs and SANs with a single point of control decrease outages to current infrastructure and operations.

Nexus Switches offer a fast and stable switching infrastructure that enables users to get the high performance they require in a virtualized environment in next-generation data centres.

They provide continuous system operations and transport flexibility, I/O consolidation, and sophisticated networking features, including high availability and hitless In-Service Software Upgrades (ISSU), among other things.


Main Differences Between Cisco Catalyst and Cisco Nexus

  1. The Catalyst only supports 8 ports, whereas the Nexus supports combining ports to create a 16 port ether channel.
  2. The features in Catalyst are enabled by default, whereas we have to manually turn on every feature in the Nexus.
  3. We can configure multiple interfaces in Catalyst, whereas there is no range command to configure multiple interfaces in Nexus OS.
  4. Wildcard Mask is used in Catalyst Switches, whereas Subnet Mask is used in the ACL for matching the network/host in Nexus.
  5. Configuration can be saved in Catalyst with the command write memory, whereas configuration can be saved in Nexus using the command copy running-config startup-config.
  6. Catalyst does not support FCoE, whereas Nexus supports FCoE.
  7. Catalyst supports the user mode, and Nexus does not support user mode.
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