Cisco Catalyst 9200 / 9300 DNA Licensing

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I get asked this at least once a month, “What’s the score with this DNA Licensing?” It took long enough for everyone to get used to Lan Base, IP Base, and IP Services!

Cisco 9000 Series DNA Licensing

The cynic in me would say, Cisco have learned from Meraki that selling subscription licences is much better than selling products that you don’t get any recurring revenue from. But I’ll try an give you the short answer so you can get the correct license. 

Solution: Buying Cisco Catalyst 9K Switches

Firstly: Not sure who decided that Cisco would release 9000 series Catalyst switches, when they had 9000 series Nexus switches? (Thanks for that!)

Catalyst 9200 or 9300?

As a rule of thumb 9200 series are typically used as access switches i.e. replacements for things like the Catalyst 2960, 2960-X, and 2960-XR). And the 9300 series are a replacement for things like Cisco Catalyst 3750G, 3750-X, and 3850.

Note: There’s also a Catalyst 9400 switch, which is a modular (line card) based chassis switch to replace the Catalyst 4500 and 6000 series.
Note2: There’s also a Catalyst 9500 switch that replaced the 10Gbps catalyst 3850 models (traditional 1U size).
Note3: There’s also a Catalyst 9600 switch which is modular (line card) based chassis switch to replace the Catalyst 6000 Series.
Note4: There’s also a Catalyst 9800 series which, just to confuse everyone further, is a range of wireless controllers?

Cisco 9000 Series Catalyst

So which switch to buy? Cisco keep adding models to both ranges so the first thing to do is decide 9200 or 9300, then look at the current Cisco Data Sheet for that range.

9200 Series Data Sheet

9300 Series Data Sheet

Then decide

  1. How many ports (access/downlink) do you need, and what speed/type do they need to be?
  2. Do you need PoE?
  3. What uplink ports do you need? (Some models have fixed (built in) uplinks, others need a network module (modular) uplink. Remember modular uplinks have their own part number (SKU), and will need to be ordered separately. (Note: 9200L and 9300L have fixed uplinks)
  4. Do you need additional (redundant) power supplies? 
  5. Do you need to ‘Stack’ your switches, if so don’t forget to get a stack cable (theres no separate stacking modules).

They were cheaper than you expected right?

That’s because now we need to add on a DNA licence as well.

DNA Licensing

Cisco DNA (Digital Network Architecture) is the name given collectively to a suite of products that are aimed towards being software driven, automated, with built in security.

There’s three types;

  • DNA Essentials: (Lan Base in old money) Basically Layer 2 functionality and static routing.
  • DNA Advantage:  (Combines IP Base and IP Services in old money) Basically full Layer 3 functionality, (and all the functionality of DNA Essentials).
  • DNA Premier: Combines all the functionality of DNA Essentials and DNA Advantage, and adds on ISE integration and Cisco Secure Network Analytics (formerly Stealthwatch) support.

Each licence comes in either a 3 Year, 5 Year, or 7 Year subscription model.

Example DNA Licensing SKU: C9200- DNA-E-24-3Y

C9200  – for a Cisco Catalyst 9200 series switch.

DNA – Digital Network Architecture licence.

E – Essentials (A would be advantage, and P would be premier).

24 – For a 24 port switch

3Y – 3 Year Subscription

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Author: PeteLong

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