Author: Brian Loftus Jr.

Date: December 20, 2019

Continuing our Cisco DNA Software Subscriptions blog series — where we highlighted the benefits of Cisco DNA software subscriptions, discussed Cisco’s Enterprise Agreement and its exclusive Cisco DNA benefits, and conducted a deep-dive into Cisco DNA Software for Switching — we continue with a deep dive into Cisco DNA Software for SD-WAN and Routing.

What is the structure?

Cisco DNA Software for SD-WAN and Routing subscriptions are provided in three tiers: Cisco DNA Essentials, Cisco DNA Advantage and Cisco DNA Premier.

SD-WAN and Routing subscription tiers
Check out the full list of features in our Cisco DNA Software SD-WAN and Routing Matrix

The base tier is Cisco DNA Essentials.  It enables a blend of typical routing (NAT, BGP, DNS, etc.) and security (MACsec, ACLs, Snort IPS, etc.) capabilities for routing-only deployments for any organization. This tier is also the stepping stone into the world of SD-WAN as customers can deploy smaller SD-WANs of up to 50 edge devices and two VLAN instances using this tier. The network is managed by either Cisco DNA Center or vManage. Each is a single, centralized management console to monitor and manage the entire network, simplify the workflows for physical and virtual branch automation, and handle NFV provisioning and VNF orchestration.

Moving up a tier, Cisco DNA Advantage is the most prevalent tier for SD-WAN and Routing. Larger and more demanding SD-WAN deployments as well as those customers planning a future migration from advanced routing to SD-WAN benefit from the capabilities of this tier. Cisco offers these particular customers the unique ability to migrate network management from Cisco DNA Center to vManage with a simple device image update! In this tier, the routing, security, SD-WAN, and analytics features are enabled with more robust capabilities. Among other capabilities, this tier adds MPLS functionality, Advanced Malware Protection and SSL proxy, lifts the 50 edge device and VPN limits, and includes vAnalytics, an indispensable tool that generates reports, automates break/fix, provides insights into the health of the network, and integrates AI/ML into your network.

Because of the superior components in it, the Cisco DNA Premier tier is, for all practical purposes, aligned specifically with the needs of enterprise customers demanding the most secure cloud edge in their SD-WAN deployments. In this tier, two additional security packages, Cisco Umbrella Insights and Cisco Threat Grid, are provided to secure the network from malware attacks. Cisco Umbrella Insights is a cloud security platform that enforces security at the DNS and IP layers. Requests to malicious and unwanted destinations are blocked before a connection is even established thereby stopping threats over any port or protocol before they reach the network or its endpoints. In addition, Cisco Threat Grid enables the network to sandbox up to 200 unrecognized files per day for analysis by malware experts.

When you attach a Cisco DNA software subscription to your router, you will also get a perpetual license, either Network Essentials or Network Advantage. These perpetual licenses cannot be purchased individually; they are bundled exclusively with a Cisco DNA Subscription for SD-WAN and Routing license. Like the name suggests, Network Essentials is bundled with Cisco DNA Essentials. Network Advantage is bundled with Cisco DNA Advantage and Cisco DNA Premier.

The perpetual licenses define the underlying routing capabilities of the hardware and define what capabilities remain active on the device should the Cisco DNA Subscription lapse. Accordingly, in a Routing only or traditional WAN environment, not much will change. In an SD-WAN deployment, however, allowing the Cisco DNA subscription to lapse will lock out the majority of the SD-WAN functionality from the device. The network infrastructure will revert back to a traditional WAN deployment relying solely and exclusively on the routing capabilities in the Network Essentials or Network Advantage perpetual license.

The bandwidth matrix: a level within a level

Bandwidth requirements

A unique aspect of a Cisco DNA for SD-WAN and Routing subscription, absent from both Switching and Wireless subscriptions, is the requirement to select a bandwidth level in conjunction with the subscription tier. So let’s take a quick look at how that bandwidth level is determined. You need to look at both the upstream and the downstream bandwidth utilization for each WAN circuit connected to the device. Add the upstream utilizations together, then add the downstream utilizations together.

A good rule of thumb is to always select the license based on the higher of the two directions, knowing that the bandwidth license permits bi-directional traffic at that speed. And if you’re not clairvoyant, fear not! Pure bandwidth upgrades in any of the three subscription tiers will receive a 100% credit of the initial subscription tier’s residual value applied to the upgrade transaction.

Why should I purchase a subscription for my routers?

Subscription matters because it gives you faster access to innovation with access to the latest features, and it gives you enhanced agility and better financial planning with license portability and a linear, predictable budget. Read about the benefits of software subscriptions here.

I purchased Cisco ONE, what about me?

For Cisco ONE customers, we have you covered for an easy transition to Cisco DNA Software subscriptions. When you renew your SWSS (software support service) contract, we will provide entitlement to a Cisco DNA Software subscription at no additional cost. So, for the same term and price that you are paying for SWSS, we will include Cisco DNA Essentials or Cisco DNA Advantage subscription licenses. (Cisco ONE Foundation receives Cisco DNA Essentials, and Cisco ONE Advanced receives Cisco DNA Advantage).

Take advantage of these exclusive special offers for a
Cisco DNA Enrollment in an Enterprise Agreement

What support do I get with my subscription?

With Cisco DNA subscription for SD-WAN and Routing, there is embedded software support that includes 24/7 TAC support, new software downloads, and knowledge base access for the length of the subscription. Please note that this support is for the Cisco DNA Subscription components only.

Depending on the router product family, routers come with a Cisco Limited Hardware Warranty of either ninety days or one year, and hardware replacement within 10 working days.

If you are looking for TAC support on the network stack (Network Essentials/Advantage), you should purchase Solution Support or Smart Net Total Care on the router, which covers both the hardware and the network stack.

Used with permission from Cisco.