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ACI Licensing Guide

Licensing of Cisco ACI change mutliple times over the years. Find up to date information on how to license your ACI Fabric

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How does Licensing in Cisco ACI work?

The basic principle to licensing in Cisco ACI is that you only have to license the Leaf Nodes, Spines and APICs don’t need a dedicated license. Based on the features you use in Fabric, you need different License on the Leafs. There are also some add-on licenses for specific features like MACsec.

Different Levels of Licensing for Cisco ACI

Cisco offer three different tiers in their datacenter licensing:

  • Essentials - The most Basic one
  • Advantage - All features that ACI itself offers
  • Premier - Additional feature through Nexus Dashboard

For the perpetual License, Cisco only offer Advantage these days. But it’s highly likely that this option will be deferred soon, and only subscription licenses are offered in the future.

Feature comparison between the Licenses

Essentials cover nearly everything that ACI has to offer, except the option to run Multi-Site. So for Multi-Site, which includes ACI anywhere, you need at least the Advantage License.

License Features
Essentials Basic features, Fabric Management, centralized policy configuration, Multi Pod
Advantage Multi-Site, Nexus Dashboard Orchestrator (MSO), Physical Remote Leaf
Premier Cisco Nexus Dashboard Insight, with this License you get the Nexus Dashboard Insight App, which provides additional information about the Fabric.

Add-ons

C1-N9K-SEC-M and C1-N9K-SEC-XF

These license add-ons are required for each leaf on which you want to use the MACSec feature (layer 2 encryption). It’s enough to have the license for the Leafs that use MACSec and not on all switches in the Fabric.

Different options available:

  • C1-N9K-SEC-XF-3Y – Security license for a 10/25/40/100G fixed platform, 3 year term
  • C1-N9K-SEC-XF-5Y – Security license for a 10/25/40/100G fixed platform, 5 year term
  • C1-N9K-SEC-XF-7Y – Security license for a 10/25/40/100G fixed platform, 7 year term
  • C1-N9K-SEC-M-3Y – Security license for a 4-, 8-, or 16-Slot modular platform, 3 year term
  • C1-N9K-SEC-M-5Y – Security license for a 4-, 8-, or 16-Slot modular platform, 5 year term
  • C1-N9K-SEC-M-7Y – Security license for a 4-, 8-, or 16-Slot modular platform, 7 year term

Summary of ACI Licensing

If you are just going for a normal Fabric (Single Site, Stretched, Multi Pod), Essentials License got you covered. If you are looking for a Multi-Site Fabric, ACI Anywhere or Remote Leafs, then you need Advantage License on your leafs.

In the case that you want to use the Nexus Dashboard Insight, you have to go with Premier.

License SKUs

To make this article about Cisco ACI Licensing and the feature which are related to it a bit easier searchable, I added all the related SKUs.

Essentials Licenses

  • C1E1TN9300GF-3Y – DCN Essentials package for a 1G fixed platform (GF), 3 year term
  • C1E1TN9300GF-5Y – DCN Essentials package for a 1G fixed platform (GF), 5 year term
  • C1E1TN9300GF-7Y – DCN Essentials package for a 1G fixed platform (GF), 7 year term
  • C1E1TN9300XF-3Y – DCN Essentials package for a 10/25/40/100G fixed platform (XF), 3 year term
  • C1E1TN9300XF-5Y – DCN Essentials package for a 10/25/40/100G fixed platform (XF), 5 year term
  • C1E1TN9300XF-7Y – DCN Essentials package for a 10/25/40/100G fixed platform (XF), 7 year term
  • C1E1TN9300XF2-3Y – DCN Essentials package for a Nexus 9364C and 9300-GX platform (XF2), 3 year term
  • C1E1TN9300XF2-5Y – DCN Essentials package for a Nexus 9364C and 9300-GX platform (XF2), 5 year term
  • C1E1TN9300XF2-7Y – DCN Essentials package for a Nexus 9364C and 9300-GX platform (XF2), 7 year term
  • C1E1TN9500M4-3Y – DCN Essentials package for a 4-Slot modular platform, 3 year term
  • C1E1TN9500M4-5Y – DCN Essentials package for a 4-Slot modular platform, 5 year term
  • C1E1TN9500M4-7Y – DCN Essentials package for a 4-Slot modular platform, 7 year term
  • C1E1TN9500M816-3Y – DCN Essentials package for an 8- or 16-Slot modular platform, 3 year term
  • C1E1TN9500M816-5Y – DCN Essentials package for an 8- or 16-Slot modular platform, 5 year term
  • C1E1TN9500M816-7Y – DCN Essentials package for an 8- or 16-Slot modular platform, 7 year term

Advantage Licenses

  • C1A1TN9300GF-3Y – DCN Advantage package for a 1G fixed platform (GF), 3 year term
  • C1A1TN9300GF-5Y – DCN Advantage package for a 1G fixed platform (GF), 5 year term
  • C1A1TN9300GF-7Y – DCN Advantage package for a 1G fixed platform (GF), 7 year term
  • C1A1TN9300XF-3Y – DCN Advantage package for a 10/25/40/100G fixed platform (XF), 3 year term
  • C1A1TN9300XF-5Y – DCN Advantage package for a 10/25/40/100G fixed platform (XF), 5 year term
  • C1A1TN9300XF-7Y – DCN Advantage package for a 10/25/40/100G fixed platform (XF), 7 year term
  • C1A1TN9300XF2-3Y – DCN Advantage package for a Nexus 9364C and 9300-GX platform (XF2), 3 year term
  • C1A1TN9300XF2-5Y – DCN Advantage package for a Nexus 9364C and 9300-GX platform (XF2), 5 year term
  • C1A1TN9300XF2-7Y – DCN Advantage package for a Nexus 9364C and 9300-GX platform (XF2), 7 year term
  • C1A1TN9500M4-3Y – DCN Advantage package for a 4-Slot modular platform, 3 year term
  • C1A1TN9500M4-5Y – DCN Advantage package for a 4-Slot modular platform, 5 year term
  • C1A1TN9500M4-7Y – DCN Advantage package for a 4-Slot modular platform, 7 year term
  • C1A1TN9500M816-3Y – DCN Advantage package for an 8- or 16-Slot modular platform, 3 year term
  • C1A1TN9500M816-5Y – DCN Advantage package for an 8- or 16-Slot modular platform, 5 year term
  • C1A1TN9500M816-7Y – DCN Advantage package for an 8- or 16-Slot modular platform, 7 year term

Premier Licenses

  • C1P1TN9300GF-3Y – DCN Premier package for a 1G fixed platform (GF), 3 year term
  • C1P1TN9300GF-5Y – DCN Premier package for a 1G fixed platform (GF), 5 year term
  • C1P1TN9300GF-7Y – DCN Premier package for a 1G fixed platform (GF), 7 year term
  • C1P1TN9300XF-3Y – DCN Premier package for a 10/25/40/100G fixed platform (XF), 3 year term
  • C1P1TN9300XF-5Y – DCN Premier package for a 10/25/40/100G fixed platform (XF), 5 year term
  • C1P1TN9300XF-7Y – DCN Premier package for a 10/25/40/100G fixed platform (XF), 7 year term
  • C1P1TN9300XF2-3Y – DCN Premier package for a Nexus 9364C and 9300-GX platform (XF2), 3 year term
  • C1P1TN9300XF2-5Y – DCN Premier package for a Nexus 9364C and 9300-GX platform (XF2), 5 year term
  • C1P1TN9300XF2-7Y – DCN Premier package for a Nexus 9364C and 9300-GX platform (XF2), 7 year term
  • C1P1TN9500M4-3Y – DCN Premier package for a 4-Slot modular platform, 3 year term
  • C1P1TN9500M4-5Y – DCN Premier package for a 4-Slot modular platform, 5 year term
  • C1P1TN9500M4-7Y – DCN Premier package for a 4-Slot modular platform, 7 year term
  • C1P1TN9500M816-3Y – DCN Premier package for an 8- or 16-Slot modular platform, 3 year term
  • C1P1TN9500M816-5Y – DCN Premier package for an 8- or 16-Slot modular platform, 5 year term
  • C1P1TN9500M816-7Y – DCN Premier package for an 8- or 16-Slot modular platform, 7 year term

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