Cisco Smart Licensing 

Cisco Smart Licensing

Cisco Smart Licensing

What is Smart Licensing? Cisco Smart Licensing is a system that consists of a license manager on most of Cisco devices. This method manages licenses for different software and hardware features. The license manager analyses and authenticates a license before accepting it.

The license manager APIs is used on the router in order to check out and release licenses from license manager. Licenses are stored in persistent storage on the router. Cisco is making massive changes to its product lines in response to changing customer requirements, including reinventing the network to be more software-focused and less hardware-dependent.

Older classic licenses offer Customers an imperfect view, as there was no way to keep track of all of the software licenses that they own. Also, each device had to be registered manually using a PAK (Product activation keys). Moreover, Licenses were tied to a specific device, and if the device was no longer in use, neither was the license. 

Cisco Smart Licensing  simplifies managing licenses across organizations in different ways. First, Licenses are not node-locked to hardware, so customers can easily pool license entitlements and change them around freely when needed. After that Smart Licensing establishes a pool of software licenses and no Product Activation Keys (PAKs) are needed for registrations. Moreover, by Leaving inconsistent licensing entitlements and management behind, Cisco is standardizing Smart Licensing across all products.

Cisco Smart license is cloud-base, this solution allows you to automate time-consuming licensing tasks. The solution lets you to simply check the status of your license and software usage trends. Smart Licensing helps simplify three core functions.


Initially, Purchasing the software that you have installed in your network can automatically self-register themselves, without PAKs, Moreover, admin can automatically track activations against license entitlements. Also, there is no need to install the license file on every node. You can create license pools (logical grouping of licenses) to reflect your organization structure.

Smart Licensing offers a centralized portal (Cisco Software Service Management) that empowers management of all Cisco software licenses from one centralized website. The final advantage is reporting, through the portal, Smart Licensing offers an integrated view of all the licenses you have purchased and what has been deployed in your network. This data can be used to make better purchase decisions, based on environment.

Smart Licensing deployment ways:

  • Smart Licensing only: for the products that smart licensing is their only licensing option. Association of the licenses to a Cisco Smart Account is required before the customer can successfully use the products.
  • Hybrid: for the products that are sold with an older licensing model, such as PAK, honor based, Cisco Prime License Manager, or other proprietary licensing models. They will default to using their old licensing model, but the customer may opt to activate cisco smart licensing on the products when ready.

Smart Licensing Steps

Cisco Smart Licensing Steps


  • Setting up: use portal to order and manage cisco smart licenses. By accepting the terms and conditions governing the use, access of Smart Licensing and cisco smart license activation will be provided in the Smart Software Manager portal.
  • Enabling and Use: After Cisco Smart Licensing is enabled, you can use either of the following options to communicate:
  • Smart Call Home: The Smart Call Home feature is automatically configured after the Smart Licensing is enabled. Smart Call Home is used by Smart Licensing as a medium for communication with the Cisco license activation service. Call Home feature allows Cisco products to periodically call-home and perform an audit and reconciliation of your software usage information. This information helps Cisco efficiently track your install base, keep them up and running, and more effectively pursue service and support contract renewals, without much intervention from your end.
  • Smart Licensing Satellite: The Cisco Smart Licensing satellite option provides an on-premises collector that can be used to consolidate and manage Smart license usage, as well facilitate communications back to Cisco License Service at
  • Manage and Report: Cisco Smart Licenses can be managed and view reports about your overall software usage in the Smart Software Manager portal.

Cisco Smart Software Manager: The user interface

Cisco Smart Software Manager enables you to manage all of your Cisco Smart software licenses from one centralized website. With Cisco Smart Software Manager, you organize and view your licenses in groups called virtual accounts (collections of licenses and product instances). Use the Cisco Smart Software Manager to do the following tasks:

  • Create, manage or view virtual accounts.
  • Make and manage Product Instance Registration Tokens.
  • Transfer licenses between virtual accounts or view licenses.
  • Transfer, remove or view product instances.
  • Run reports against your virtual accounts.
  • Adjust your email notification settings.
  • View overall account information.

Cisco Smart Licensing Portal


Use Chrome 32.0, Firefox 25.0 or Safari 6.0.5 web browsers to access the Cisco Smart Software Manager. Also, ensure that Javascript 1.5 or a later version is enabled in your browser.


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