Cisco Licensing is very strange and I spent over 4 hours reading about its obfuscated software licensing plan. My question is simple. Do I have to purchase 5 different licenses of Cisco DNA Premier (C9300-DNA-P-24-3) to connect 5 Switches (C9300-24P) to the DNA Center, Cisco ISE and Cisco Stealthwatch? Some of those switches will be connected in a ring.

As far I understand, the company already owns DNA Center and ISE. Do I additional licenses to connect them? How many licenses? 5 different licenses, one for each switch? Or none?

Any input would be grateful. The difference is substantial between $10k to $15k


  • 1
    "Some of those switches will be connected in a ring." That is not a good idea. You should connect switches in a tree with the distribution switches as the roots, and the access switches connected to the distribution switches, not each other.
    – Ron Maupin
    Commented Dec 4, 2019 at 14:56
  • @RonMaupin. You are right, they will be connected using IEEE 802.1s Multiple Spanning Tree Protocol (MSTP) Per-VLAN Rapid Spanning Tree (PVRST+) Commented Dec 4, 2019 at 14:57
  • Any ideas regarding my licensing question? I have been trying to follow up on the datasheets but I couldn't find an answer. And Cisco has, in my opinion, a terrible customer support. cisco.com/c/dam/en/us/products/collateral/switches/… and cisco.com/c/en/us/products/collateral/switches/… Commented Dec 4, 2019 at 15:03
  • I personally do not know about that, but Cisco is very helpful when they want to sell you something, and you can ask on the Cisco web site in the chat, or you could call the company.
    – Ron Maupin
    Commented Dec 4, 2019 at 15:04
  • @AlexandruIonutBudisteanu (IEEE) MSTP and (Cisco) RPVST+ are two different protocols. While there are devices that can run both of them concurrently they are quite different and you should make up your mind which one of them you run - for an easier life. Also, mind Ron's advice and do not try to build a ring.
    – Zac67
    Commented Dec 4, 2019 at 15:48

1 Answer 1



Each device requires a DNA licenses (especially if you want to integrate them) and in fact should be sold with the new 9k series by default. Also note that the different licenses will auto come with access to Stealwatch, 1000eyes etc and various other backend services (talk with your SE), for ISE specific it depends what version your running 2.7 or 3.0 and also what licensing model. Traditional vs Smart. the older model requires base license count for each auth.

There are 3 types of licenses for DNA Center.

  1. Essentials
  2. Advantage
  3. Premier

Second note: These are subscription based on 3yr, 5yr and 7 yr; you would choose to match your device lifecycle.

Each license "Unlocks" different advanced features depending on its role AKA edge switch vs distribution vs Core; same as IPbase(LAN) vs IPadvance(Routing) in the older (16.9.5) scheme of licenses.

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