Cisco Catalyst Center 2.3.7 Virtual Appliance on VMware ESXi Data Sheet

Data Sheet

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Updated:February 8, 2024

Bias-Free Language

The documentation set for this product strives to use bias-free language. For the purposes of this documentation set, bias-free is defined as language that does not imply discrimination based on age, disability, gender, racial identity, ethnic identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and intersectionality. Exceptions may be present in the documentation due to language that is hardcoded in the user interfaces of the product software, language used based on RFP documentation, or language that is used by a referenced third-party product. Learn more about how Cisco is using Inclusive Language.

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Cisco® Catalyst Center, formerly Cisco DNA Center, is a powerful network controller and management dashboard that empowers you to take charge of your network, optimize your Cisco investment, and lower your IT spending. Catalyst® Center provides a single dashboard for every fundamental management task to simplify running your network. With this platform, IT can respond to changes and challenges faster and more intelligently.

Catalyst Center Capabilities

     Design: Design your network using intuitive workflows, starting with locations where your network devices will be deployed.

     Policy: Define user and device profiles that facilitate highly secure access and network segmentation based on business needs. Application policies enable your business-critical applications to provide a consistent level of performance regardless of network congestion.

     Provision: Use policy-based automation to deliver services to the network based on business priority and to simplify device deployment. Zero-touch device provisioning and software image management features reduce device installation or upgrade time from hours to minutes and bring new remote offices online with plug-and-play ease from an off-the-shelf Cisco device. Additionally, the Cisco Secure Network Analytics (formerly Cisco Stealthwatch®) service provisions network elements to send NetFlow and Encrypted Traffic Analytics (ETA) to the analytics service.

     Assurance: Enable every point on the network to become a sensor, sending continuous streaming telemetry on application performance and user connectivity in real time. This, coupled with automatic path-trace visibility and guided remediation, means network issues are resolved in minutes—before they become problems. Automated NetFlow switch configuration for Cisco Secure Network Analytics provides detection and mitigation of threats, even when they are hidden in encrypted traffic.

     Platform: An open and extensible platform allows third-party applications and processes to exchange data and intelligence with Catalyst Center. This improves IT operations by automating workflow processes based on network intelligence coming from Catalyst Center.

Catalyst Center

Figure 1.               

Catalyst Center

Catalyst Center is a centralized network management system to bring all this functionality into an integrated controller and present it through a single pane of glass.

Catalyst Center Virtual Appliance

Cisco Catalyst Center can be deployed as a Virtual Appliance either in the cloud with Amazon Web Services (AWS), or on-premises with VMware ESXi. Virtualization gives customers operational flexibility, and improves time to value. The Virtual Appliance supports fabric and non-fabric deployments.

With the Virtual Appliance on ESXi, customers can reduce CapEx, while simplifying hardware lifecycles. Deployments benefit from the high availability capabilities of ESXi.

Virtual Appliance scale

Table 1.           Scale and hardware specifications




Catalyst Center Virtual Appliance

Devices1 (switch, router, wireless controller) (non-fabric)


Devices1 (switch, router, wireless controller) (fabric)


Wireless access points (non-fabric)


Wireless access points (fabric)


Wireless sensors


Concurrent endpoints


Transient endpoints
(over 14-day period)


Ratio of endpoints to wired wireless



Site elements


Wireless controllers




API rate limit

50 APIs/min

NetFlow flows/sec


Concurrent software image updates


Catalyst Center SD-Access scale

Devices1 (switch, router, wireless controller)


Wireless access points


Fabric domains


Fabric sites


Layer 3 virtual networks


Fabric devices


Scalable groups


Access contracts


Group-based policies


IP pools3, 4, 5


Layer 2 virtual networks3, 4, 5



1 Switch stacks, StackWise Virtual pairs, Virtual Switching System (VSS) pairs, and Wireless LAN Controller High Availability Single Sign-On (WLC HA SSO) pairs each count as a single device.
2 Includes all physical ports except the console ports. Includes Redundancy Ports (RPs) on WLCs.
3 Adding additional Fabric Sites to a SD-Access deployment does not increase any Catalyst Center system scale parameter. For example, 1000 concurrent endpoints spread over 10 Fabric Sites and 1000 concurrent endpoints in a single Fabric Site both contribute equally to system scale.
4 Catalyst Center supports a maximum of 1.5 million separate interfaces on managed devices. Interfaces include both physical and virtual interfaces such as Switched Virtual Interfaces (SVIs), loopbacks, tunnels, Locator ID Separation Protocol (LISP), and so on.
5 A Layer 2 Virtual Network is a Layer 2 segment in SD-Access with no Anycast Gateway in the Fabric Site; a Layer 2 Virtual Network does not use an IP pool.
6 Per Fabric Site, the sum of IP pools plus Layer 2 Virtual Networks must not exceed 200.
7 Per Fabric Site, the sum of IP pools plus Layer 2 Virtual Networks must not exceed 600.
8 Per Fabric Site, the sum of IP pools plus Layer 2 Virtual Networks must not exceed 1000.

Virtual Appliance on VMware ESXi requirements

For the system requirements, see Table 2.

Table 2.           Virtual appliance minimum requirements




32 vCPUs with 64-GHz reservation dedicated to the VM


256-GB Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM) with 256-GB reservation must be dedicated to the VM




VMware vSphere (which includes ESXi and vCenter Server) 7.0.x or later, including all patches

I/O bandwidth

180 MB/sec

Input/output Operations Per Second (IOPS)


Network Interface Card (NIC)

1Gbps network per network port

Product usage telemetry

Product usage telemetry provides valuable information about the status and capabilities of Cisco Catalyst Center. Catalyst Center is configured to automatically connect and transmit product usage data to Cisco. Collecting this data helps the product teams serve customers better. This data and related insights enable Cisco to proactively identify potential issues, improve services and support, facilitate discussions to gather additional value from new and existing features, and assist IT teams with inventory report of license entitlement and upcoming renewals.

For information on Catalyst Center privacy, please refer to Cisco Catalyst Center Privacy Data Sheet.

For more information

See how Catalyst Center helps you move faster, lower costs, and reduce risk:


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