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Cisco Employee
Cisco Employee


ACS is licensed for a base feature set and incremental, feature-based add-on licenses.

For license PIDs/SKUs, please see the ACS v5.x Ordering Guides/Bulletins or the ACS v4.x Ordering Guide. Licenses are provided as Product Activation Keys (PAKs) which must be registered with the Cisco Product Licensing portal.



ACS 5.x License Overview

License Expiration Maximum
Network Devices
Per ACS server? Notes
Evaluation Base License 90 days 50 Yes

A unique base license is required for each ACS server.

Another evaluation license cannot be used to extend the existing evaluation

Base License N/A 500 Yes

A unique base license is required for each ACS server.

Add the Large Deployment License for >500 devices

Large Deployment

Feature License

N/A Unlimited No Only one LD license is required per deployment on the primary ACS instance
ACS View Feature License N/A N/A No This is now included for free in ACS v5.1 base license
It is available as a $0 SKU for existing ACS v5.0 deployments



What licenses are required for an evaluations or trial?

A unique base license is required for each ACS server. An eval base license supports 50 AAA clients (network devices), but this limit is not enforced, so a Large Deployment license is not required for evals.

Note :- ACS 5.x software can be downloaded by a customer or partner that has an ACS 5.x SAS contract purchased with his registered CCO ID. Otherwise, any Cisco employee will have to publish or download the images for them.


Does the evaluation license limit the functionality of ACS?

No, the base evaluation license provides equivalent functionality to the base permanent license. The only difference is that the evaluation license is for 50 network devices.


Does I need a Large Deployment license for an evaluation?

While an evaluation base license only supports 50 AAA clients, you may configure more clients. Not having a Large Deployment license should not limit the evaluation.


Where do I get an evaluation license?

You may download a 90-day evaluation base license:

  1. Go to the Product Licensing Portal (a login is required)
  2. Select Get Other Licenses > Demo and Evaluation.
  3. Select Network Mgmt Products > Cisco Secure Access Control System Evaluation.


What are the 'devices' referred to in ACS 5 licensing?

The devices are the are the AAA clients (typically network devices) sending AAA requests to ACS, for example, routers, switches, wireless controllers, etc. The devices are not endpoints such as laptops, printers, smartphones (unless they happen to be AAA clients).


How does ACS count devices for the purpose of licensing?

ACS counts the number of IP addresses represented by the network devices configured under Network Resources -> Network Devices and AAA Clients. For example, a network device configured with an IP range of will represent 256 devices(!) in the device count. The device count remains the same even if the actual number of devices in this subnet are fewer.

You can confirm what ACS thinks the current device count is by looking under System Administration -> Licensing -> Feature Options.


Is the device count per ACS server?

No, the device count is per ACS deployment (a deployment consists of an ACS primary and zero or more secondaries). There is no such thing as a per server device count as device configuration is replicated throughout the ACS deployment.


Do I need the Large Deployment license?

Base licensing covers 500 devices in an ACS deployment. For greater than 500 devices, the Large Deployment license is required. Only 1 Large Deployment license is required.


I don't like idea of this Large Deployment license. Why is this required?

Previous versions of ACS had per server licensing. ACS 5 introduced a per server base license (like ACS 4), and a Large Deployment license for ACS configurations using more than 500 devices. This was to keep prices low for small customers and have larger customers pay for the additional scale.


How does ACS 5 enforce the device count for the basic license?

It doesn't. You may continue adding devices, but you will see warning messages in the UI, indicating that the licensed device count has been exceeded.


How is ACS 5.x Advanced Monitoring and Troubleshooting licensed?

For ACS 5.0, you can now get the license by ordering the part number for $0.
For ACS 5.1 and later, it is already included in the Base license by default.


How does ACS 5 licensing differ from ACS 4 licensing?

ACS 4 had per server licensing but there was no enforcement - once someone had the software, it could be installed on multiple servers without restriction.

ACS 5 requires a base license file to be applied to each ACS server. ACS will detect a duplicate base license and prevent that server from joining the deployment. ACS 5 also has feature licenses - Large Deployment and CTS. These feature licenses are not per server - only one is required for the ACS deployment.


Do I need to buy support (SAS) for add-on licenses such as the Large Deployment license?

Yes, support pricing is based on the total cost of the product, so for SAS, each ACS part number requires the corresponding SAS support.


When upgrading, can I use my previous ACS 5 licenses, or will I be issued new ones?

When performing a minor upgrade (e.g. 5.1 to 5.2), no new licenses are issued. You should just apply the new software and use the existing licenses.


What does my customer need to do to migrate from two ACS5.3 1121 appliances to VM edition?

ACS can be migrated free of charge from an appliance into VM, however it requires purchasing a service/ support contract for the VM. Licensing can be migrated via backup/restore.


How do I purchase a SNS 3945 appliance without ACS software and licensing?

You can’t just order the SNS-3495. When you order it you also select the product (ACS in this case) and then you will get the license.


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