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AbraCadavra44
Beginner

Cat 9k - Tell your customers how to buy smart licenses!?!

I purchased two 9300L switches from the Cisco store through Amazon.com. I received my switches, and then had to jump through the amazing number of licensing hoops to register my devices with the smart license portal. That only took about 6 hours of work to get done, plus more hours of reading/watching Youtube videos.

 

So I finally got my switches added to the Smart Licensing portal. It shows that I have sufficient C9300L 24P Network Essentials licenses, because those came with the switch (you might want to do a better job of explaining this to people). But I require 2 C9300L 24P DNA Essentials licenses. Being a good customer, we want to properly license our devices and be done with this. However, there is a little snag. Cisco has provided no information on how to purchase these licenses. I read the licensing guide for the 9300L platform, and sure enough there are product SKUs available to buy for this. I searched these SKUs on the CDW website, and purchased 2x the 5 year DNA Essentials license for these devices. 

 

However, how do I get these licenses into my smart portal now? My CDW rep doesn't seem to know. The Cisco website assumes that you have purchased these devices through Cisco apparently, as that's the only explanation for how to order these licenses provided in the official documentation: Cisco Catalyst 9300 Series Ordering Guide - Cisco

 

If you want people to buy into this new insanely complicated licensing scheme, maybe you should actually make it so people can buy the licenses you say are required and give them instructions on how to add them to the "smart" licensing portal? I want to congratulate Cisco on creating the dumbest "smart" portal ever made.

 

Someone at Cisco do me a favor. Get the team together. Have everyone on the team order 2 Cisco 9xxx switches, and have them be involved in configuring the devices for "smart licensing". At the end, everyone on the team will either have quit, or will be forcing the engineers to change this system to something that actually makes sense.

8 REPLIES 8
Leo Laohoo
VIP Community Legend


@AbraCadavra44 wrote:

But I require 2 C9300L 24P DNA Essentials licenses.


DNA Essentials License is a "tax" or a "levy" -- Everyone who buys Cisco kit is going to pay for it (whether they have DNA or not). 

The most "basic" license anyone can get is the Network Essentials License and there is nothing else "lower" than that.  

When the DNA license expires, and there is no DNAC appliance, do not worry about it.  Let it lapse and nothing will happen.


@Leo Laohoo wrote:


DNA Essentials License is a "tax" or a "levy" -- Everyone who buys Cisco kit is going to pay for it (whether they have DNA or not). 

The most "basic" license anyone can get is the Network Essentials License and there is nothing else "lower" than that.  

When the DNA license expires, and there is no DNAC appliance, do not worry about it.  Let it lapse and nothing will happen.


Huh? Can you explain that statement? What does that mean that everyone who buys Cisco kit is going to pay for it, whether they have DNA or not?

 

We bought this switch. We were not forced to buy DNA when we bought the switch. As far as I can tell, we probably could run the switch without DNA in perpetuity with no problem. However, this does not appear to be compliant with Cisco's model. We want to properly license the switch under Cisco's model. We may decide in the future that this is way too much brain damage to ever buy this product again, but that ship has sailed for this switch stack, and we are trying to license it per Cisco's requirements.

 

I am just stunned at the incompetence related to this product rollout. I asked Cisco support for information on how to buy these licenses. They had no response. Seriously, what is wrong with Cisco? This doesn't have to be this hard. If it's not actually required to buy these DNA licenses, then don't have your portal warn the customer that we don't have sufficient licenses.

 

Somebody at Cisco....GET YOUR SH** TOGETHER. You are going to lose all your customers if you don't fix this insanity.


@AbraCadavra44 wrote:
Huh? Can you explain that statement? What does that mean that everyone who buys Cisco kit is going to pay for it, whether they have DNA or not?


Anyone-and-everyone who buys Cisco kit pays for DNAC license.  There is no difference if the end user has DNAC appliance or not -- Everyone pays for DNAC License.  Period.  

This is why I call it a "tax" or a "levy".  

In my personal opinion, the reason why the mandatory DNAC License is a "separate" line item is because it will make people ask:  What is "DNA"?  It is a mere marketing ploy.  

I bought my switches off of Amazon, and I don't have a DNA Essentials license. Which is in fact what this entire thread is about, since Cisco's smart licensing portal is letting me know I need DNA Essentials. Congratulations again to Cisco on making this incomprehensible to normal people. What am I supposed to do to properly license my switch?

Ok, I'm going to help you save some mint.  

Did you read the 9300 Data Sheet?  If you did, did you read the Warranty section:

Cisco enhanced limited lifetime hardware warranty

The Cisco Catalyst 9300 Series Switches come with a Cisco Enhanced Limited Lifetime hardware Warranty (E-LLW) that includes Next-Business-Day (NBD) delivery of replacement hardware where available and 90 days of 8x5 Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC) support.

Your formal warranty statement, including the warranty applicable to Cisco software, appears in the information packet that accompanies your Cisco product. We encourage you to review the warranty statement shipped with your specific product carefully before use.

Cisco reserves the right to refund the purchase price as its exclusive warranty remedy.


Read that carefully. 

And lastly, read this:  Cisco Catalyst IOS Software Update Program for Cisco Catalyst 9200, 9300, 9400, 9500 and 9600 Series switches Product Bulletin

Pay close attention to the following: 

Free major and minor releases:

◦    Free major and minor release updates are available to an original customer moving from one release to another within the same perpetual license level (i.e. Cisco Network Advantage or Cisco Network Essentials).

◦    No support contract is required to obtain these releases.


English translation:  Free to download IOS-XE firmware.  Period.


@AbraCadavra44 wrote:

since Cisco's smart licensing portal is letting me know I need DNA Essentials.


Actually, you do not need DNA Essentials License because there is no DNAC appliance. Do not worry about this and nothing is going to happen. 


@AbraCadavra44 wrote:

What am I supposed to do to properly license my switch?


The most "basic" license is Network Essentials.  No one can buy any Cisco Catalyst 9k switches without Network Essentials license at a minimum. 
The switch already has a license -- Network Essentials.  

What is most important is to register the switch to your CCO account so you can avail of the hardware warranty and firmware download.

sphillips
Beginner

I know your frustration. I'm a Surveillance Technician and I have 9 9200s
and 3 9300s. My vendor purchased everything and set up the switches. About
a week ago, one of the 9300s needed an RMA. After I got the new switch, I
installed it but realized I needed to move the licenses. I determined no
one set me up a smart account. I took weeks for Cisco to approve my smart
account. Finally after I got it, it showed NO licenses for any of
my devices. Cisco had to upload the licenses into my smart account. Finally
was able to get it resolved but it took about 6 weeks amd several webex
meetings with Cisco. The whole smart account/licenses debacle is not easy
to understand nor easy to manage. I work at a casino so no internet or
sever access so I have to do it all through specific license reservation
and a thumb drive. Good luck on your journey.
AbraCadavra44
Beginner

Is anyone at Cisco reading this? It took this person 6 weeks to get his devices registered with the smart account. Amazing customer service job guys. How much of your customers' time are you intending to waste in order to make a few extra bucks on all this non-sense? As you can tell from this thread, the actual plan seems to normally just not buy the DNAC license since most people don't need it.

 

Luckily, I operate in an environment where my switches can talk to the Internet, and they have registered themselves with the Cisco smart account, after I upgraded their firmware to 17.x+ (...after spending hours finding the Cisco video that describes how to register with the smart account using the over the internet method with the new firmware).

 

You see, for us, we don't buy that much Cisco gear. We previously purchased 2960x switches and set them up as a stack, which we were pretty happy with. However, due to supply chain issues, those have been hard to find, so I took a flyer on a 9300L with POE that I needed to replace a failing switch. Little did I know that this would kick off a 10+ hour long odyssey of trying to figure out Cisco's insane and completely irrational new "smart" licensing model, which is a dystopic joke of a name for the product.

 

And after all of this thread, there is still not a single person who can tell me how to buy the DNA Essentials license if I wanted to do that. There are a lot of people telling me I don't need it. Ok, maybe. But let's just say I want to blow some money and buy it anyway...there is literally not a single person on here who can tell me how to do it. The Cisco portal tells me that the license is required and I should buy it, but no one can tell me how. It's really quite funny. Time to short Cisco Systems I guess.