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Configuring the Catalyst

This sample chapter from Cisco Press compares differences between the router CLI and the Catalyst 4000/5000/6000 family. It also describes the command line interface including aspects like command line recall, command editing, uploading and downloading code images and configuration files, and finally provides an overview of the menu driven configuration for the other Catalysts.
This chapter is from the book

This chapter covers the following key topics:

  • Catalyst 5000/6000 CLI Syntax Conventions—Provides the standard Cisco representation for interpreting commands administered on Catalyst switches.

  • Catalyst 5000 Configuration Methods—Provides information on how to operate under the Console, Telnet, and TFTP configuration modes for Catalyst configuration.

  • Using the Catalyst 5000/6000 Command-Line Interface—Describes command-line recall, editing, and help for the Catalyst 5000 series.

  • Passwords—Provides documentation on how to set, change, and recover passwords for the Catalyst 5000/6000 series of switches.

  • Configuration File Management—Discusses how to store and restore configuration files on flash and TFTP servers for Supervisor I, II, and III modules.

  • Image File Management—Describes how to transfer Supervisor I, II, and III module software images.

  • Redundant Supervisor Modules—Discusses how to implement redundant Supervisor modules to ensure system operation in the event of a module failover.

  • Configuring Other Catalysts—Provides a quick overview of the configuration methods for the 1900/2800 and the 3000 series of Catalyst switches.

Configuring the Catalyst

Users familiar with Cisco routers exercise a command line interface (CLI) embedded in the IOS. The CLI characteristics are seen across nearly all of the router product line. However, most Catalysts CLIs differ from those found on Cisco routers. In fact, the Catalyst family has several CLIs based upon the model origins. The Catalyst 4000/5000/6000 series differs from the 3000 series, the 1900,2800 and the 8500 series. This chapter compares differences between the router CLI and the Catalyst 4000/5000/6000 family. It also describes the command line interface including aspects like command line recall, command editing, uploading and downloading code images and configuration files. An overview of the menu driven configuration for the other Catalysts is addressed in the last section, Configuring Other Catalysts. Examples of configuring the Catalyst 8500 series are included in Chapter 11, "Layer 3 Switching." This chapter deals primarily, however, with the "XDI" interface used by the Catalyst 4000/5000/6000 family.


Cisco folklore has it that XDI is the name of a UNIX-like kernel purchased for use in equipment that evolved into the Catalyst 4000, 5000, and 6000 products of today. The XDI CLI is often referred to as "CatOS."

The Catalyst product family evolution does not have the same roots as the Cisco router products. Cisco's history begins with the development of routers to interconnect networks. As the router family increased, a number of differences between the early models and the later became evident. Particularly with the release of 9.1x, the command line interface vastly differed for the IOS. But the IOS essentially retained the same look and feel after that point across all of the router family. Users of the Catalyst on the other hand may encounter multiple CLIs dependent upon the model used. This occurs not because Cisco changed its mind on how to present the CLI, but because some of the products were acquired technologies with a previously installed user base. For example, some of the Catalysts such as the 1900 and 2800 came from Grand Junction and have their own configuration methods. Some come from Kalpana, such as the Catalyst 3000, and use a different menu structure. Some were developed by Cisco. For example, the 8500 and the 2900XL, and use IOS type configurations. The Catalyst 5000 family originated with Crescendo. When Cisco acquired Crescendo, a significant user base already familiar with the XDI/CatOS configuration modes existed. The Catalyst 5000 and 6000 series use a CLI which differs from all of the others.

This chapter provides an overview for configuring the Catalyst 4000/5000/6000 series products. The CLI syntax and conventions are covered, along with command recall and editing methods. Methods for storing and retrieving configuration files images are also explained. Finally, configuring and managing redundant supervisor modules in a Catalyst 5500/6000/6500 are discussed.

Catalyst 5000/6000 CLI Syntax Conventions

All well-documented equipment uses a standard representation for interpreting commands. The Catalyst is no exception. Cisco documents how to interpret the printed commands of its documentation. Table 4-1 summarizes the command syntax conventions used in the Catalyst documentation and in this book.

Table 4-1 Catalyst Syntax Conventions

Command Presentation



Commands and keywords that are entered literally as shown are in boldface.


Arguments for which you supply values are in italics.

[ ]

Elements in square brackets are optional.

{x | y | z}

Alternative required keywords are grouped in braces and separated by vertical bars.

[x | y | z]

Optional alternative keywords are grouped in brackets and separated by vertical bars.


A nonquoted set of characters. Do not use quotation marks around the string or the string will include the quotation marks.

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