Intro to Cisco Operating Systems

Neil Anderson
A free video tutorial from Neil Anderson
Building your Cloud and Data Center career
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Lecture description

In this lecture, you'll learn about the different operating systems that run on Cisco's different router and switch platforms. You don't actually need to know this for the CCNA exam, but it's beneficial to have an understanding of Cisco's wider portfolio. Cisco's different operating systems are very similar from a management and administrative point-of-view, so it's easy to transfer your skills between platforms.


I'll start off by giving you a bit of history. Many people think of Cisco as being a routing and switching company, but they actually were just a purely routing company when they started out. IOS was the original operating system that they used on their routers. It's the same operating system that's used today, although obviously it's gone through quite a few upgrades in the time since Cisco started back in 1984.


Cisco then bought the company 'Crescendo' in 1993. The Catalyst switch product line came about because of that acquisition. The original operating system on the Catalyst switches was CatOS, but that's been deprecated for a long time now.


Cisco firewalls evolved from another acquisition, that of 'Network Translation' back in 1995. Cisco got their PIX firewall from that acqusition, which used the Finesse operating system. The PIX firewall has since evolved into the ASA Adaptive Security Compliance.


Both the CatOS and Finesse operating systems were ported over to IOS over the following years. Cisco standardised on IOS for all of their network infrastructure devices.


There are also some other operating systems on some of the newer router and switch platforms. IOS runs on the majority of Cisco routers and switches, but some of the newer platforms have new operating systems.


The Cisco Nexus and MDS Data Centre switches run on NX-OS.


The high-end NCS and CRS service provider routers and also the ASR9K and XR12K routers run on IOS-XR.


The ASR1K service provider routers run on IOS-XE.


You may be thinking "all these different operating systems are going to make things more difficult for network engineers." But they don't really, because all of the different Cisco operating systems have incredibly similar Command Line syntax. If you know a command in IOS, it's probably going to be exactly the same command in all of the other operating systems as well.


If you're now wondering why Cisco have different operating systems for their routers and switches then, the main difference is under the hood. IOS has a monolithic kernel, meaning that if one process running on the router crashes it can crash the entire router. The other, newer operating systems have microkernels, with processes running in separate, protected memory address space. If one of the processes crashes, it should restart without affect the rest of the system.


These operating systems other than IOS are mainly on the higher-end routers and switches, with the standard routers and switches still running IOS. Now, don't think that IOS is an inferior or unreliable operating system. It's been purpose-built by Cisco, who are the biggest networking company in the world, to run on enterprise-grade routers and switches. It is very hardened and still very, very reliable.

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Cisco CCNA 200-301 – The Complete Guide to Getting Certified

The top rated CCNA course online and only one where all questions get a response. Full lab exercises included.

38:08:15 of on-demand video • Updated April 2021

  • Get what you need to pass the up-to-date Cisco CCNA 200-301 exam
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English [Auto] In this lecture you'll learn about the different operating systems that run on Cisco's different rotor and switch platforms. Now you don't actually need to know this for the exam. The exam focuses purely on your -- on Cisco routers and switches. So if you're wondering why am I including this man. The reason is that it's something that you would wonder about anyway. And I want to explain to you that by taking this course and warning how to configure Cisco IOW it's going to enable you to work on any of the different Cisco writers and switches because from a management and administrative point of view it's pretty much identical no matter which actual operating system you're working on through. I'll start off by giving you a bit of history. Many people think of Cisco as being a rowing and switching company but they actually were just purely routing company when they started off. And when we did start off I always was the original operating system that they used on rowers the same operating system that's used today although obviously it's going through quite a few upgrades in the time since Cisco started back in 1984. So there were originally a rowing company to offer switches that was through an acquisition. They bought crescendo in 1993 and the catalyst to switch product line came about because of that acquisition. The original operating system on the countless switches was cut away. But that's being deprecated quite a long time ago in a Cisco firewalls evolved from another acquisition that was the acquisition of network translation back in 1995 and Cisco got their picks firewall from that which uses the finance operating system. Now Booth the catalyst switches and the originally the picks firewalls it's now the ESEA firewall were parted over to the OS operating system over the following years. So Cisco standardized on Io asked for all of their network infrastructure devices. There are some other operating systems on some of the newer wrote or on switch platforms film. So Ioannis runs on the majority of the school routers and switches but some of the newer platforms do have these new operating systems. Let's look at those now. So on the Cisco Nexus and the MVs data center switches they run on an X or ash on the high end service provider routers the N.S.A. and the sheer ash. And also in the U.S. Our nine K and the X our 12 keyboard ers they run on AOS X R and on the MSR one care service provider right ers they run on IOW x e so you're maybe thinking oh well this is gonna make things more difficult for. All these different operating systems. But really it doesn't because all of the different Cisco operating systems there are incredibly similar from the command line point of view if you know a command in AoS it's probably going to be exactly the same command and all of the different operating systems as well as far is administering and managing them. They're all nearly exactly the same. So you're maybe wondering if managing them is exactly the same. Why is it a different operating systems. The main reason and where they're different is under the hood you is got a monolithic kernel meaning that if one process running one crashes it can crash the entire road or the other and you're operating systems have got micro kernels and the processes run in separate protected memory address space. So if one of the processes crashes it shouldn't affect the running on the rest of the system. So these other operating systems are mainly on the higher end rotors and switches but on the enterprise grade right reason switches they're still running a Iow net don't think that a warehouse is a bad or an unreliable operating system. It's being purpose built. And by Cisco you have the biggest networking company in the world to run on enterprise grade directors and switches. So it is very hard and it's still very very reliable.