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FAQ: Cisco ONE Software License Portability

September 29 2017 , Written by Cisco & Cisco Router, Network Switch Published on #Networking, #IT, #Technology, #Cisco License, #Cisco & Cisco Network

  • Cisco ONE Software License Portability is an important capability that allows you to reassign license entitlements from one hardware platform to another.
  • It is very valuable when refreshing your hardware by eliminating the requirement to repurchase software licenses for new hardware.

Cisco ONE Software License Portability for You

License portability is a key benefit of Cisco ONE Software through Cisco Software Support Service (SWSS). Previously, software application licenses were node-locked to a specific device. Now, when you need to move to a different device, license portability entitles you to move your software licenses to that new device. This allows you to continue using your existing investment in Cisco software and may eliminate the need to repurchase licenses when doing a hardware refresh. Depending on the feature sets you use, license portability can lead to significant savings.

FAQ: More about Cisco ONE Software License Portability

Q. How do I get license portability?

A. First, you must have purchased your licenses through the Cisco ONE Software licensing model. Licenses purchased outside of Cisco ONE Software are not eligible for license portability.

Second, you must have maintained an active Cisco Software Support Services (SWSS) contract from the initial date of purchase, or reinstate support through Cisco’s standard support reinstatement policy.

Q. I currently have Cisco Smart Net Total Care but not Cisco SWSS. Am I eligible for license portability?

A. Cisco Smart Net Total Care provides support for hardware and the platform/OS software. It offers many business critical services like advance hardware replacement. However, Cisco Smart Net Total Care does not provide software license portability for Cisco ONE Software.

To take advantage of license portability, you must have a current Cisco SWSS agreement in place. Cisco SWSS provides the benefits of license portability, software technical support, continuous innovation, updates, and upgrades as well as future software enhancements to Cisco ONE Software products. Cisco SWSS delivers software support in a single offering, making it simple for you to purchase, manage, and renew licenses.

Q. I had a Cisco SWSS contract in the past. Can I reinstate it?

A. If you want to reinstate your software maintenance agreement, then the standard Cisco Application Software Support Contract Reinstatement Policy applies. The reinstatement policy is included in the Software Transfer Relicensing Policy document on Cisco.com. Cisco ONE Software does not have a separate reinstatement policy.

Q. How do these policies apply if I have a subscription agreement? Do I need Cisco SWSS with a subscription contract?

A. Subscription contracts include the equivalent coverage of Cisco SWSS (technical support and upgrades rights) along with the term-based right-to-use license for Cisco ONE Software products and portability rights. These are available at a single price and give you the benefits for the duration of your subscription term. You do not require a separate Cisco SWSS contract.

Cisco SWSS is sold separately only in support of a perpetual license.

Subscription-based licensing will be offered in a future release of Cisco ONE Software. More details will be made available with the future release. [1]

License Portability Use Cases

Q. What are the main use cases for license portability?

A. There are four main use cases for license portability:

1. Hardware Replacement

2. Equipment Refresh-One-to-One Swap

3. Equipment Refresh-One-to-Many or Many-to-One

4. Moving from a Physical Device to a Virtual Machine, or the Reverse

We will discuss each of these scenarios in detail in the following questions.

Use Case 1: Hardware Replacement

Q. I had a hardware failure. The device was/was not under warranty. I do/do not have a Cisco Smart Net Total Care contract. What do I do?

A. Since hardware replacement is outside the scope of the Cisco ONE Software license portability policy, you need to follow existing procedures for hardware replacement. Replacements many be covered under a Warranty Replacementor through Cisco Smart Net Total Care. Or you may replace the hardware with a spare device that you have available.

You need to transfer the existing entitlements - including software licenses and any software maintenance agreements (Cisco SWSS) - to the new device. To transfer the software license, use the Cisco Software Licensing Portal (Cisco.com login required). Service contracts can be updated through the Cisco Service Contract Center (Cisco.com login required).

Use Case 2: Equipment Refresh-One-to-One Swap

Q. I need to perform a hardware refresh. Which policies are applicable to software portability when I perform a one-to-one swap of my older devices?

A. The hardware product family on which you have deployed your licenses determines your portability options. Licenses are portable only within a product family (for example, Cisco 2900 Series Integrated Services Routers (ISR) to 2900 Series ISR). Devices with greater capabilities are categorized in a higher series because they gain more benefit from the capabilities in Cisco ONE Software.

There is no cost associated for porting Cisco ONE Software to a device within the same or lower series of a product family, such as Cisco 2901 ISR to 2911 ISR or Cisco 3901 ISR to 2911 ISR. There is a software upgrade fee for refreshing to a higher-series device, such as Cisco 2901 ISR to Cisco 3925 ISR, as you receive greater capabilities. Cisco will publish upgrade SKUs to enable this type of transfer.

For a classification of device families and series for Cisco ONE Software, click here.

The price for Cisco ONE Software will be consistent within a given product family for a given software product.

Table1 provides a consolidated view of the license portability options in a one-to-one equipment refresh scenario.

Table1. Equipment Refresh: One-to-One Swap Use Cases

Use Case



Refresh a device with a device in the same series

Example: Cisco 2901 ISR to 2911 ISR

If a Cisco SWSS contract is in place, the software can be used on the new device.


Refresh a device with a device in a higher series.

Example: Cisco 2901 ISR to 3925 ISR

You must pay a software upgrade fee to use the software from the original device on the replacement device.

You must purchase an upgraded Cisco SWSS contract for the new software. You will receive a credit for the old support contract.

The cost is the license cost on the new device minus the license cost on the old device, at current list prices, subject to customer-negotiated discounts.

You will also need to consider the cost of the upgraded Cisco SWSS contract.

Refresh a device with a device in a lower series.

Example: Cisco 3925 ISR to 2901 ISR

You are entitled to port the software deployed on your original device to a lower series device; your license entitlement would be set permanently to the lower series device family.

None. However, no reimbursements for the price difference between the higher/lower series is available The support contract remains with the original device family. You will have an option to renew your Cisco SWSS contract at a lower price based on software support for lower series device. Global credit & cancellation policy applies to SWSS contract for existing and new device.

Refresh a device with a next-generation device.

Example: Cisco 3925 ISR to 4000 Series ISR

In this case, the transfer depends on whether the next-generation Cisco 4000 Series ISR is considered to be the same series as the existing device or a higher or lower series. Depending on the series, the policies outlined above apply.

In all cases, you must migrate your software licenses to a next-generation device before your older device reaches end of support. At this stage, your Cisco SWSS contact will have expired and you will not meet the portability criteria.

The series of the next-generation device will determine the cost. Depending on the series, the policies outlined above apply.

Use Case 3: Equipment Refresh-One-to-Many or Many-to-One

Q. I have two 12-port switches that I want to combine into one 24-port switch. Or I have one 24-port switch that I want to break out into two 12-port switches. Does license portability apply in these cases?

A. Cisco ONE Software supports one-to-one license portability. Please refer to one-to-one device swap use case section for additional details.

Table2. Equipment Refresh: One-to-Many or Many-to-One Use Case

Use Case



I would like to combine two or more devices into a single device, or the reverse.

This is not allowed - only 1:1 license portability is permitted; Further details are provided in the one-to-one swap use case section.

Not applicable.

Use Case 4: Moving from a Physical Device to a Virtual Machine, or the Reverse

Q. I want to run some of my Cisco software on a virtual machine. Can I port my licenses over to a virtual machine?

A. Yes, you can, but there is an upgrade fee to use your software on a virtual machine (VM). This fee is required because the software contained within the base platform of the device, such as with the operating system, was not included in the original Cisco ONE Software product, but now would be within the VM offer.

The upgrade price is calculated as the license cost of the Cisco ONE Software product as a VM minus the license cost of the Cisco ONE Software product on the physical device. This fee is calculated at current list prices, subject to customer-negotiated discounts. Virtual device licensing will be offered in a future release of Cisco ONE Software. More details and upgrade SKUs will be made available at that time.

Q. Can I port my software licenses to a virtual machine in every use case?

A. No, you can’t. Not all software included in Cisco ONE Software is capable of running on virtual machines. When it can be run on a virtual machine, it is subject to the software license policies described above.

Q. I purchased Cisco ONE Software for a virtual machine, but have changed my mind and would like to run it on a physical device. Can I port my licenses from a virtual machine to a physical device?

A. Yes, but you must purchase the physical device with its base software platform, such as the operating system. You would then be entitled to use the Cisco ONE Software product(s) originally contained on the VM on your new device at no additional charge.

You also retain license portability rights associated with the original VM, so you could subsequently refresh the physical device back to a VM at no additional charge.

License Portability Operations

Q. How do I port the licenses to a new device?

A. Initially, licenses are deployed to physical devices in the same way as in today’s model. Cisco will provide you with activation keys and the correct software images for the new devices. Cisco is working on tools to improve the customer experience with easier deployment of the software products, license management, and capabilities.

Q. I am interested in porting one of the licenses in my product to a different device. Can I do that?

A. Your entitlement for portability is at the product level; for example, Foundation for Data Center Networking. These products cannot be unbundled into their components for portability to different devices. You can, however, deactivate all licenses from the original device and port them to a new device.

Q. Are all of the software capabilities included within Cisco ONE Software portable between different devices, virtual machines, generations of hardware, and so on?

A. The entitlement to the software capabilities is portable, but that doesn’t imply that all devices can run all the software within a Cisco ONE Software product. Cisco will maintain a table that shows what features can be enabled on each device. While you are entitled to the features within your purchased software, you need to verify that the device you intend to operate actually supports those features.

Q. How will I know whether my company is compliant with the software licensing policies?

A. You are responsible for verifying that you remain compliant with the licenses purchased. This typically matters only at times of hardware refresh. Cisco reserves the right to audit the customer environment through a third party to help ensure compliance.

Cisco is creating a software licensing portal that will assist you in tracking your software license entitlements and help you determine whether you are in compliance. These capabilities will be available in a future release.

Q. Is the software included in the base software platform, such as device operating system, controllers and APIs, included in these portability policies?

A. Because the cost of base platform software is included in a device purchase, it is not purchased as part of Cisco ONE Software. In general, base platform capabilities may differ between devices, similar to the hardware differences between devices.

More Information

Q. Where can I get more information about Cisco ONE Software?

A. Please visit our website at http://www.cisco.com/go/one or talk to your authorized Cisco representative.

Info from https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/collateral/software/one-software/q-and-a-c67-732981.html

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This is a very interesting read, especially if we are ready to provide any kind of third party services to cisco users, there is always a problem with the microcode licenses, be aware of that people!