How To Monitor Cisco Catalyst Metrics with Grafana

How To Monitor Cisco Catalyst Metrics with Grafana

Table of Contents


In today's interconnected world, the reliability of network infrastructure, especially Cisco Catalyst switches, plays a key role for businesses. To ensure these critical components perform optimally, it's vital to monitor their metrics effectively. This article will show you how to effortlessly monitor Cisco Catalyst metrics with Grafana, a top-tier monitoring and visualization platform. As you read through the article, you will find out the fact that you can take your Cisco Catalyst monitoring to the next level with Hosted Grafana by MetricFire. Discover how MetricFire's expertise in data visualization can enhance your network monitoring experience.


Don't miss out – explore how MetricFire can help you unlock the full potential of your Cisco Catalyst metrics today.


Why Should I Monitor Cisco Catalyst?

Cisco Catalyst switches are the backbone of your network infrastructure, ensuring that data flows seamlessly and securely. However, simply deploying them isn't enough; effective monitoring is essential to maintain their reliability and optimize network performance. Let's delve into two key aspects of why you should monitor Cisco Catalyst switches: Network Monitoring and Cisco Metrics Overview.


Network Monitoring

Effective network monitoring extends far beyond the basic task of checking if devices are online. It involves the continuous tracking of various network parameters to ensure that your network operates at its best. Here's why network monitoring for Cisco Catalyst is crucial:

  • Proactive Issue Detection: Network monitoring allows you to identify and address problems before they escalate into critical issues. Whether it's a sudden spike in bandwidth usage, a port error, or an unusual pattern in traffic, early detection means quicker resolution and less downtime.

  • Optimized Performance: Monitoring network traffic and device health metrics lets you fine-tune configurations. This optimization ensures that resources are used efficiently, reducing bottlenecks and improving overall network performance.

  • Enhanced Security: Effective monitoring helps detect and respond to unusual network behavior or security threats promptly. Whether it's unauthorized access attempts or unique data transfer patterns, early intervention safeguards your network's integrity.


Cisco Metrics Overview

To monitor Cisco Catalyst switches effectively, it's essential to understand the key metrics they provide and their significance. Here's a brief overview:

  • Bandwidth Utilization: Monitoring the amount of network bandwidth in use helps you identify potential congestion points and allocate resources optimally.

  • Port Errors: Tracking port errors, such as collisions or dropped packets, reveals issues at the network's physical layer that might affect data transmission.

  • CPU Usage: Monitoring CPU utilization provides insights into device performance. Spikes in CPU usage may indicate resource-intensive tasks or potential bottlenecks.

  • Memory Usage: Understanding memory consumption is crucial to ensure that the device has adequate resources to operate efficiently.

  • Interface Statistics: Examining data on each network interface helps pinpoint underutilized or overloaded connections, enabling better resource allocation.


It is important to monitor Cisco Catalyst switches through network monitoring and understand key metrics. With these approaches, you can ensure network reliability, optimize performance, and enhance security. It's the proactive approach that ensures your network continues to operate seamlessly, even in the face of challenges.



How to Monitor Cisco Catalyst Metrics with Grafana

Monitoring Cisco Catalyst metrics with Grafana involves several steps, including configuring data collection, setting up a data source in Grafana, and creating dashboards to visualize the data. Here's a general guide to help you get started:



  1. Cisco Catalyst Switch: Ensure that your Cisco Catalyst switch supports SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) and that it's configured to allow SNMP polling.

  2. Grafana Installed: Make sure you have Grafana installed and running. You can install Grafana on a server or your local machine.



1. Configure SNMP on Cisco Catalyst Switch

  1. Log in to your Cisco Catalyst switch.

  2. Enter global configuration mode:

configure terminal


  1. Enable SNMP and set the community string (replace public with your desired community string):

snmp-server community public RO


  1. Set the SNMP version (SNMPv2 or SNMPv3):

snmp-server version [2c | 3] [default-community | community-string]


  1. Exit configuration mode:



  1. Save your configuration:

write memory


2. Install SNMP Exporter

Grafana doesn't natively support SNMP, so you'll need to use an exporter to convert SNMP metrics into a format that Grafana can understand.


Install an SNMP exporter like snmp_exporter. You can find it on GitHub: snmp_exporter.


Follow the installation instructions provided in the repository.


3. Configure SNMP Exporter

Edit the SNMP exporter configuration file (snmp.yml) to specify the target Cisco Catalyst switch and the SNMP community string.

 - name: cisco


4. Run SNMP Exporter

Start the SNMP exporter with the configured settings:

snmp_exporter --config.file=snmp.yml


5. Configure Grafana Data Source

  1. Open Grafana in your web browser.

  2. Log in and go to the "+" menu on the left sidebar, then click "Data Sources."

  3. Add a new data source and choose "Prometheus" as the type.

  4. Set the URL to the address where your SNMP exporter is running (e.g., http://localhost:9116).

  5. Save the data source.


6. Create Grafana Dashboards

  1. Create a new dashboard by clicking the "+" menu and selecting "Dashboard."

  2. Add a panel to the dashboard.

  3. In the panel settings, choose the Prometheus data source and enter your SNMP query.

  4. Customize the visualization and repeat for other metrics you want to monitor.


7. Explore and Customize

Explore the available metrics and customize your dashboards in Grafana to suit your monitoring needs. You can add graphs, tables, and other visualizations.

Additional Tips:

  • Explore SNMP Metrics: Use SNMP tools or MIB browsers to explore available metrics on your Cisco Catalyst switch.

  • Grafana Plugins: Consider using Grafana plugins for Cisco devices, if available, to simplify integration.

  • Alerts: Set up alerts in Grafana to be notified of any abnormal behavior or thresholds being breached.


Cisco dashboards vs. Grafana

When it comes to monitoring Cisco Catalyst switches, you might wonder whether to rely on the native Cisco dashboards or turn to the powerful Grafana platform.


Cisco Dashboards

  • Simplicity: Cisco's native dashboards are designed specifically for their devices, offering a straightforward way to monitor your Cisco Catalyst switches. They come pre-packaged with Cisco's monitoring solutions, making them easily accessible.

  • Limited Customization: While Cisco dashboards provide essential metrics, their customization options are limited. You have less flexibility to tailor the dashboard to your unique monitoring needs.

  • Vendor-Locked: Using Cisco's native dashboards may lock you into their ecosystem, limiting your ability to integrate other data sources or third-party tools seamlessly.



  • Flexibility: Grafana stands out for its flexibility. It allows you to create highly customizable dashboards that can aggregate data not only from Cisco Catalyst switches but also from various other sources, providing a holistic view of your network.

  • Customization: Grafana enables you to design dashboards tailored to your specific requirements, displaying the metrics that matter most to you. You can choose from a wide range of visualization options, enhancing your ability to gain insights.

  • Open Integration: Grafana's open architecture promotes integration with multiple data sources, making it a versatile choice for those who want to build a comprehensive monitoring ecosystem.


While Cisco's native dashboards offer simplicity and immediate access to device-specific metrics, Grafana shines with its customization, flexibility, and ability to unify data from diverse sources. If you seek a more comprehensive and adaptable monitoring solution that goes beyond Cisco Catalyst switches, Grafana is a clear choice, especially when complemented by MetricFire's hosting and support services.


Using Hosted Grafana by MetricFire

To take your Cisco Catalyst monitoring to the next level, consider leveraging Hosted Grafana by MetricFire. This partnership between Grafana and MetricFire offers a seamless monitoring experience that combines Grafana's visualization prowess with MetricFire's robust infrastructure. Here's why Hosted Grafana by MetricFire is the perfect match for your monitoring needs:


  • Hassle-Free Deployment: With Hosted Grafana, there's no need to worry about server setup, maintenance, or scaling. MetricFire handles the infrastructure, ensuring that Grafana runs smoothly, allowing you to focus solely on monitoring your Cisco Catalyst switches.

  • Expert Support: MetricFire's expertise in data visualization and monitoring means you have access to a team of professionals who understand the intricacies of Grafana. If you encounter issues or need guidance, expert support is just a message away.

  • Secure and Reliable: Security is paramount in network monitoring. Hosted Grafana by MetricFire is designed with robust security measures to safeguard your data. Additionally, MetricFire's infrastructure ensures high availability and reliability.

  • Scalability: As your monitoring needs grow, so can Hosted Grafana. MetricFire offers scalable solutions to accommodate your expanding network and data requirements.

  • Integration Possibilities: MetricFire's platform extends beyond Grafana, allowing you to integrate other data sources, applications, and third-party tools seamlessly. This comprehensive approach offers a holistic view of your network infrastructure.


Hosted Grafana by MetricFire provides a hassle-free, expert-supported, and secure solution for your Cisco Catalyst monitoring needs. With MetricFire's infrastructure backing your Grafana instance, you can confidently monitor your network's performance, optimize resources, and enhance security. Elevate your monitoring capabilities by partnering with MetricFire and Grafana today, ensuring that your Cisco Catalyst switches continue to deliver optimal results.



Monitoring your Cisco Catalyst switches is not just a necessity; it's a strategic advantage for network reliability and performance. Grafana, with its powerful visualization capabilities, takes Cisco Catalyst monitoring to new heights, and Hosted Grafana by MetricFire simplifies the process even further. Don't settle for basic monitoring when you can harness the combined power of Grafana and MetricFire. Take control of your network's performance, security, and scalability. Partner with MetricFire today, and unlock the full potential of your Cisco Catalyst metrics. Your network deserves nothing less than the best.


Get started now and experience the difference.

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