Cisco 9000 Series switches are high-performance, next-generation switches designed for data center and enterprise networking environments. These switches offer advanced features, scalability, and flexibility to meet the demanding requirements of modern networks. In this article, we will explore the important features of Cisco 9000 Series switches and discuss the licensing options available.

Important Features of Cisco 9000 Series Switches:

  1. High Port Density and Throughput: Cisco 9000 Series switches provide high port density, allowing for the connection of a large number of devices. They offer high throughput capabilities, ensuring fast and efficient data transfer within the network.
  2. Modularity and Flexibility: These switches support modular architectures, allowing for flexible configuration and scalability. Modules can be added or replaced to accommodate changing network needs.
  3. Advanced Routing and Switching: Cisco 9000 Series switches offer advanced routing protocols, such as OSPF, BGP, and EIGRP, allowing for efficient routing and traffic management. They also support advanced switching features, including VLANs, ACLs, and QoS, enabling secure and optimized network operation.
  4. Virtualization and Multitenancy: These switches support virtualization technologies, such as Virtual Port Channels (vPC) and Virtual Device Contexts (VDC), allowing for the creation of multiple virtual environments within a single physical switch. This enables efficient resource utilization and segregation of network traffic.
  5. Programmability and Automation: Cisco 9000 Series switches support programmability through APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) and automation tools like Cisco DNA Center and Cisco ACI (Application Centric Infrastructure). This enables network automation, simplifies management, and facilitates the deployment of software-defined networking (SDN) solutions.

Licensing Options:

Cisco 9000 Series switches come with different licensing options based on the desired features and capabilities. Some common licenses include:

  1. Network Essentials License: This license provides basic Layer 2 and Layer 3 features, including VLANs, STP, OSPF, and static routing. It is suitable for standard network deployments.
  2. Network Advantage License: The Network Advantage license offers advanced Layer 3 features, such as BGP, EIGRP, and Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol (EIGRP). It also includes additional security features like MACsec encryption.
  3. Data Center Network Manager (DCNM) License: DCNM is a network management tool provided by Cisco. This license enables the use of DCNM for centralized management and monitoring of the network infrastructure.
  4. Advanced Features Licenses: Cisco offers various additional licenses to enable advanced features such as MPLS, VXLAN, and network analytics. These licenses enhance the capabilities of the switches and provide support for specific use cases.


An example use case of Cisco 9000 Series switches is a large-scale data center deployment. The switches can be used as core switches to connect multiple racks of servers, storage systems, and other network devices. The high port density and throughput capabilities ensure efficient data transfer between servers and storage systems, supporting high-performance applications and workloads.

The advanced routing and switching features enable dynamic routing protocols and traffic optimization within the data center network. The virtualization capabilities allow the creation of virtual environments, providing secure and isolated network segments for different applications or departments. The programmability features enable automation and orchestration, streamlining network management and reducing operational complexity.

Important Notes about Cisco 9000 Series Switches:

  1. ASIC Technology: Cisco 9000 Series switches utilize custom-built Application-Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) for enhanced performance and advanced features. These purpose-built chips optimize forwarding, buffering, and packet processing, resulting in high-speed and efficient data handling.
  2. Deep Buffers: These switches feature deep buffers, which help in managing bursts of traffic and reducing packet drops. Deep buffers allow for smoother data transmission and help prevent congestion in high-demand environments.
  3. Segment Routing: Cisco 9000 Series switches support Segment Routing, which is a scalable and flexible traffic engineering technology. Segment Routing simplifies the deployment of MPLS-based networks and enhances network performance by optimizing traffic paths.
  4. Precision Time Protocol (PTP): PTP is a synchronization protocol used to achieve accurate time synchronization across network devices. Cisco 9000 Series switches support PTP, ensuring precise timekeeping for applications that require synchronized operations.
  5. MACsec Encryption: These switches provide support for MACsec (Media Access Control Security), which is a security standard for securing Layer 2 Ethernet links. MACsec encryption ensures data confidentiality and integrity, protecting against unauthorized access and data tampering.
  6. Analytics and Telemetry: Cisco 9000 Series switches offer advanced analytics and telemetry capabilities, allowing network operators to gather real-time insights into network performance, traffic patterns, and operational metrics. This data can be leveraged for network optimization and troubleshooting.
  7. Smart Licensing: Cisco 9000 Series switches utilize Smart Licensing, which simplifies license management by providing a centralized platform for license tracking and activation. Smart Licensing streamlines the process of adding or transferring licenses across multiple switches.
  8. In-Service Software Upgrades (ISSU): Cisco 9000 Series switches support ISSU, allowing for non-disruptive software upgrades. ISSU ensures continuous network operation during software updates, minimizing downtime and maintaining service availability.
  9. Optimized for Cisco ACI: These switches are optimized for use with Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI), a software-defined networking (SDN) solution. Cisco ACI provides policy-based automation and centralized management, enhancing network agility and scalability.
  10. Power Redundancy: Cisco 9000 Series switches offer built-in power redundancy features, such as dual power supplies and power stacking, to ensure uninterrupted operation in case of power failures or hardware issues.

In summary, Cisco 9000 Series switches provide advanced features, high performance, and scalability for data center and enterprise networks. With their unique ASIC technology, deep buffers, and support for innovative features like Segment Routing and MACsec encryption, these switches offer robust capabilities for modern networking environments.