GUI vs CLI - Managing Your Cisco Equipment.

Unanswered Question
Sep 30th, 2009

I wasn't sure where to start this conversation since there doesn't seem to be a "General" discussion board.

I just want to see what some of you professionals, and everyone else prefer to use when it comes to managing your awesome Cisco gear.

I myself like the control and precision of the CLI. It makes me feel more in touch with the equipment and more in control. With a GUI, I feel like I'm opting for the easy way out.

I know for people like myself who work in professional environments and must meet deadlines, figuring out how to implement new Cisco technologies can be difficult when using the CLI rather than the GUI, but the time sacrificed in learning the CLI and the satisfaction I get from "manually" configuring everything is well worth it.

Any input would be appreciated.

Thanks everyone.

I have this problem too.
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ohassairi Wed, 09/30/2009 - 00:28

i prefer GUI specially with ASA firewalls.

visibility is better with GUI.

platinum_jem Wed, 09/30/2009 - 00:41

Yes, GUI for ASA firewalls definitely.

For the routers and switches, i would opt to go for CLI instead. Troubleshooting and configs are much faster and more straightforward.

Jon Marshall Wed, 09/30/2009 - 00:59


Personally i prefer the CLI for all the main devices ie. routers/switches/firewalls although there are some devices such as the VPN 3K that is managed via an http interface.

I have always felt that using a GUI "removes" you somehow from the actual configuration and if you only know how to configure via the GUI what happens when you don't have the GUI available.

Having said that there is nothing inherently wrong with using a GUI and i think a lot depends on the persons background ie. i come from a Unix background (Solaris) and when i was using Solaris there really weren't a lot of GUIs to use and those that existed weren't really very good. So when i transferred to Cisco i found it perfectly natural to be typing commands in on the CLI.

If you understand what the GUI is doing when you are clicking buttons etc. then it really just comes down to a matter of preference.


gokulkrishnan.d Wed, 09/30/2009 - 04:35

i agree with the amount of time and effort to be reduced when using a GUI but the thing is we will be on to lot more troubleshooting with the hardware part also when using a GUI as you can see when we face lot of problem in Windows

Collin Clark Wed, 09/30/2009 - 08:15

I prefer the CLI. I'm faster and more accurate with it than with a GUI, but that's because back when I started working with Cisco devices there were no GUIs. By the time they came along I was a full fledged CLI dork. I recently deployed a couple of ACE appliances and I played around with the GUI and I liked it. I still checked the CLI when I was done, but that's just me.

Leo Laohoo Wed, 09/30/2009 - 15:04

I use the CLI for routers and switches. GUI for the ASA. I use both CLI and GUI for the WLC.

I don't know with the rest but in the alley of the WLC, you get more functions with CLI than with GUI and in earlier versions the GUIs sometimes don't work. :)

pompeychimes Thu, 10/01/2009 - 18:18

CLI is my preference for the reasons you state. If I'm going to use a GUI I prefer them to be lightweight and browser based.

Cisco sucked at GUI's for many years. They are much better now. Earlier versions of PDM, SDM, and CiscoWorks where very laborious to install and use.

Brent Rockburn Sun, 10/04/2009 - 05:35

I prefer CLI for routing and switching devices, I prefer GUI for IPS/IDS/ASA devices.


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