The ONE answer: Cisco’s new licensing suite unlocks the power of software

 In Software, Volume Licensing

We’ve said it plenty of times: Licensing is rarely simple. Cisco is trying to change that.

Enter Cisco ONE, a suite that bundles all available licensing options for a device or platform together in one package. With Cisco ONE, organizations are freed from the requirement of buying licenses on a feature-by-feature basis. Because these licenses are un-coupled from devices, organizations can plan for consistent hardware refreshes without having to buy new licenses.


Take note: Cisco ONE is a software licensing suite, not a warranty or maintenance contract. More specifically, it’s not SMARTnet. Technical issues with the hardware or software should be handled through other Cisco support channels or third-party vendors.

Yes, licensing is often confusing, and although Cisco ONE might sound complex on its surface, it’s actually a simple way for organizations that generally require fully integrated solutions to stay current and protect their investment. So here is a quick primer on how traditional Cisco licensing worked, and three ways Cisco ONE can simplify licensing and increase user productivity.

Moving past the traditional model of one device, multiple licenses

In the past, a Cisco license was tied to Cisco hardware, and its lifespan was that of the device. Through this a-la-carte program, additional licensing options for a device could be purchased on an as-needed basis.

But that posed problems for organizations. For one, unlocking features on a device proved to be expensive. Next, organizations felt stuck with hardware – could IT justify upgrades and buy new licenses when an older device still worked well enough?

Cisco ONE, however, is a one-price-for-all-options suite of licenses that sits on a device or platform. Most of these licenses are perpetual and can be purchased alongside new hardware, and unlike traditional a-la-carte licenses, you can move the Cisco ONE suite to a new device. Organizations can also equip existing hardware with new Cisco ONE benefits.

We should note that Cisco ONE is not replacing the a-la-carte model. Organizations can still purchase individual devices and individual licenses as they see fit. However, Cisco ONE is certain to benefit organizations running robust IT environments.

Let’s take a closer look at three ways this impacts your organization.

1. Unlocks innovation: Cisco ONE bundles every license option for an entire platform (a router for example), providing your organization’s network access to Cisco’s ongoing innovation and new technologies. Every advanced feature that may typically require additional licensing can be turned on and off as necessary, and there’s no worry about being outdated or under-licensed.

IT managers want to maximize the power of the organization’s technology, down to the last drop. Cisco ONE makes it simple to use any or all of a device’s full line of software features, and your organization will always be working with the most advanced features and capabilities.

2. Enables license portability: If an organization is planning a significant hardware refresh, licensing the new devices through the Cisco ONE suite will ensure those licenses carry over to future devices in perpetuity. Since organizations can easily and quickly replace hardware as it ages and move the Cisco ONE license to new hardware as it is purchased, hardware, in a sense, becomes secondary to software.

3. Improving and protecting your IT investment: No C-suite wants to hear about money wasted. Because it provides license portability, Cisco ONE ensures that licenses aren’t wasted when hardware is replaced.

Cisco ONE allows an organization to efficiently consume the technology that IT has purchased, and enables IT to easily upgrade the environment when new hardware is available. One example is Cisco’s Catalyst switches: If you purchase a new switch to support a higher stacking bandwidth or converged wired-wireless access, you can transfer the Cisco ONE license to the new device. Thus, you’re keeping current with the latest networking technology and capabilities without buying new licenses every few years.

A license package for all

As an organization’s IT portfolio grows, multiple licensing options add to the complexity of its asset management. With Cisco ONE, organizations can stack all licensing options on a device, giving it the potential for new functionality and access to ongoing innovation. Ultimately, the licensing suite gives you the freedom to take advantage of a device’s wide range of features, and the confidence that your investment is protected due to the suite’s portability.

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