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Help build the Network Architecture FAQ

Cisco Employee
Cisco Employee

Hey community members!  It's been a couple days since the big announcement on The Network. Intuitive.  While you are digesting the information and figuring out how it plays in to your architecture I thought we could start a community-driven FAQ based on your questions about this news. 

No question is off limits, too big, too small.  I'll help track down the answers from our Cisco product and technical experts for you as we go along.  Just go for it and start by replying to this post with anything that's on your mind about Cisco's new network innovations. 

3, 2, 1....

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15 Replies 15

Community Manager
Community Manager

Q: What is the VSS or stack equivalent for Cat 9400 and 9500?

A: The Catalyst 9500 platform supports StackWise Virtual to enable multi-chassis etherchannel capability. This capability is on the roadmap for Catalyst 9400 platform as well.

Gary Geihsler

Is there a way to purchase the DNA Essentials or Advanced as a perpetual license? The paragraph below seems to say you can, if fact says perpetual only.

"Cisco understands Enterprise customers have invested in products such as Catalyst 3K with a Lan Base, IP Base or an IP services in a perpetual buying motion in the past. Therefore, with Catalyst 9K we continue to offer our Network licenses – Network Essentials and Network Advantage as perpetual only. However, with DNA licenses we want to offer flexibility to our customers. Most of the capabilities in these licenses contain new path breaking innovations from Cisco that our customers would be using for the first time. Therefore, we are offering DNA licenses – DNA Essentials and DNA Advantage as term-based licenses with 3, 5 and 7-year term options as that would greatly encourage our customers to try out these new technologies and deploy them in their Enterprise networks."

Cisco Catalyst 9000 Series of Switches – Software Consumption Done Right!

Network Essentials/Advantage is perpetual while DNA Essentials/Advantage is subscription only.

Can you help me to understand the difference between Network Essentials/Advantage and DNA Essentials/Advantage? I see how they are segmented where the Network portions are different from the DNA, but how are the Network functions licensed separately from the DNA if at all? Thanks.

The difference between network and DNA license is that network licenses are perpetual while the DNA licenses are term based.


Credit process for C1 perpetual catalyst customers.

How DNA Center works.

Story of Prime in cat9k world.

Licensing detail in the C1 offer structure.

Is would be helpful if there was a perpetual model of C1 suites.

To maintain the integrity of the C1 message, may I suggest to keep portability only to C1 Suites and not DNA.

Perhaps give credits for customers that upgrade into C1 suites.

What are the technical components needed for encrypted traffic analysis

Kevin Breit

I would like to understand the future of C1. We've sold C1 to our customers and now that Network and DNA Essentials/Advanced are coming in, they appear to be the next evolution, or perhaps replacing, C1 on 3k and 9k Catalyst switches.

In addition to kevinbreit question concerning C1 , a lot of effort where put into explaining customers TCO of C1, and that next generation HW did not require additional software license. Can you explain when SKU's will be available for upgrading C1 customers to C9000?


Is DNA/SD-Access supported only in topologies that include Cat 9K's? In other words can a customer purchase the DNA subscription on a network that includes SD-Access supported devices without 9Ks? And do all of those devices require licensed?

Hi Lance,

You can see the below documents which has list of different supported platform as different role in campus fabric. It also has the list of licenses that is supported by different models required of fabric.



Hello ...

Seeking some clarification while i pursue with our VAR and research... We stalled our ISE deployment a couple of years back due to a switch refresh cycle. Our access switches at the time (2015) did not support ISE. So, we initiated a project to replace our access switches to ISE compatible switches. Quite many of those were/are 2960S.

Now, our understanding is with the direction towards DNA and SDA, "not all ISE compatible switches are DNA-ready". So, we will need to swap out our access switches again to be DNA-compatible (ex catalyst 9k etc).

taking advantage of DNA would be more at the remote site core to core for campus fabric, so i do not see why the remote site access switch (ISE compatible 2960s) will need to be DNA-ready. Is there any deployment summary or use case that we can reference ?


Access switches are essential SD-Access "Fabric Edge" devices. Hence, it required to have one of the switches from the list of supported fabric edge devices as the access switches to enable SD-Access.

Pranay Prasoon

All document says that we can have two border for redundancy. Is it also talking in terms of default and known border? Like two known border and two unknown borders?

Yes you could have multiple fabric borders (known border) and for redundancy purpose we support two default borders in first release

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