Cisco IOS XE

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Cisco IOS XE
DeveloperCisco Systems
OS familyUnix-like
Working stateCurrent
Source modelClosed source
PlatformsSome Cisco routers (such as ASR 1000) and some Catalyst switches (such as 3850)
Default user interfaceCommand line interface
Official websiteCisco IOS XE

IOS XE is a train of Cisco Systems' widely deployed Internetworking Operating System (IOS), introduced with the ASR 1000 series.[1]

It is built on Linux[2][3] and provides a distributed software architecture that moves many operating system responsibilities out of the IOS process[4][5] and has a copy of IOS running as a separate process.[6] Since it runs a copy of IOS, all CLI commands are the same between Cisco IOS and IOS XE, in contrast to IOS XR which has a completely different code base and its developers implemented a different CLI command set.


IOS XE is released separately for ASR 1000[7] and Catalyst 3850.[8]

Differences between IOS and IOS XE[edit]

Cisco IOS is a monolithic operating system running directly on the hardware while IOS XE is a combination of a linux kernel and a (monolithic) application (IOSd) that runs on top of this kernel. On the other hand, IOS XR is based on QNX (since version 5.0 it's also based on linux) where the IOSd application has been separated into many different applications. While IOS XE (IOSd) and IOS share a lot of the same code, IOS XR is a completely different code base.

Since IOS XE has IOSd running as an application on top of linux, it becomes possible to also run different applications on the hardware, a good example of this is running Wireshark on a switch.[9] Another example is the Cisco IOS XE Open Service Containers.[10]


  1. ^ David Newman (2009-01-12). "Cisco's ASR 1000 router built for 10-year tenure". Network World, Inc. Retrieved 2016-01-05.
  2. ^ "Logging into a Linux shell from a Cisco ASR1000 Series Router". 2014-05-12. Retrieved 2016-01-05.
  3. ^ "Cisco IOS XE Software for Cisco ASR 1000 Series Routers". Cisco Systems. 2012. Retrieved 2016-01-05.
  4. ^ Michael Morris (2009-01-26). "Now a Look at Cisco IOS XE for the ASRs". Network World, Inc. Retrieved 2016-01-05.
  5. ^ "Cisco ASR 1000 Series Aggregation Services Routers Software Configuration Guide". Cisco Systems. Retrieved 2016-01-05.
  6. ^ Tom Hollingsworth (2013-04-18). "IOS X-Treme!". Retrieved 2016-01-05.
  7. ^ ASR 1000 release notes
  8. ^ Catalyst 3850 release notes
  9. ^ "Catalyst 4500 Series Switch Software Configuration Guide". Cisco Systems. Retrieved 3 August 2017.
  10. ^ "Cisco IOS XE Open Service Containers" (PDF). Cisco Systems. Retrieved 3 August 2017.

External Links[edit]