What Is Smart Licensing?


Essentially, Cisco Smart Licensing is a new method introduced by Cisco, for registering all product instances using a cloud or on-premise license manager. Cisco Smart Licensing simplifies managing licenses across organizations in different ways and offers a centralized portal, Cisco Software Service Management, that empowers management of all Cisco software licenses from one centralized website. The final advantage is reporting, through the portal, Smart Licensing offers an integrated view of all the licenses you have purchased and what has been deployed in your network. This data can be used to make better purchase decisions, based on environment.

Product Instances

A product instance is a single device with a unique device identifier (UDI) which is registered using a product instance registration token (or registration token). You are able to register any number of instances of a product with a unique registration token. Each product instance can use one or more licenses residing in the same virtual account. Product instances must periodically connect to the Cisco Smart Software Manager servers during an exact renewal period. If a product instance fails to connect, it is marked as having a license shortage, but continues to use the license. A removed product instance licenses are released and made available within the virtual account.

Cisco Smart Software Manager (CSSM)

CSSM is an intuitive portal where you can activate and manage all of your Cisco licenses. An On-Prem version is available for security-sensitive customers.

Cisco Smart Account

A Cisco Smart Account is a container that lets you to organize all of your Cisco licenses, devices and license agreements and provides access control to all assets in the future. Cisco Smart Accounts will allow you to organize all of your Cisco subscriptions licenses, devices and services. Smart account is already mandatory for managing most of Cisco products licenses.

Virtual Accounts

Virtual accounts are groups of licenses and product instances which can be created in CSSM in order to manage the licenses for each company into logical entities.

Smart Licensing deployment ways

Smart Licensing

It’s important to understand that the Cisco products that only support smart licensing, association of the licenses to a Cisco Smart Account is required before the customer can successfully use the products. Customers can use the following instructions to deploy Cisco smart licensing:

  • Direct cloud access: In direct cloud access deployment method, Cisco products’ usage information is sent directly over the internet to Cisco Smart Software Management and no further components are required. This method Requires devices to have permanent connectivity over the internet.
  • Using CSLU: Cisco products send usage information to a locally-connected collector, which acts as a local license authority. For this matter, customers should deploy the Cisco Smart Licensing Utility (CSLU) which is a lightweight windows application that is used to pull software use data from Cisco device and report the software use to CSSM.
  • Using DNAC: Customers can use the Cisco DNA Center to collect reports from their products and share it with CSSM.
  • Air-gapped Networks: Customers should export the license using reports from the product to the license manager manually. Moreover, customers can use Permanent License Reservation (PLR License) for their secure environment to enable all instances with full capabilities and permanently.

For the products that are sold with an older licensing model, such as PAK, honor based, Cisco Prime® License Manager, or other proprietary licensing models, customers should convert their old licenses to the smart licenses using CSSM dashboard.

Currently all Cisco new products use Online Smart Licensing instead of Traditional PAK-Based Licensing. Most of these products are listed as below:

  • Cisco Secure Firewalls (Formerly Firepower and ASA-X)
  • Cisco Branch Routers (ASR and ISR)
  • Cisco Nexus Switches
  • Cisco Catalyst Switches
  • Cisco ISE
  • Cisco Secure Network Analytics (Formerly Stealthwatch)
  • Cisco CUCM

We can offer up to 90% discount for all Cisco Smart License in both online and offline (PRL) types so please feel free to ask if you have any questions or inquiries.