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Explaining Cisco ONE: licence portability, and protecting investment in the enterprise

10 March 2017

Cisco ONE - What is it?

Cisco One offers a great alternative for licensing and the IT infrastructure management solutions for your business.

>But what is it? Ideal’s Account Director George McKenna explains all…

Cisco ONE - Licence portability and protecting your enterprise security

As someone who speaks every day to enterprise clients, I find the subject of Cisco ONE comes up pretty often. It's a great option - particularly for medium and larger organisations - but there's often confusion about what Cisco ONE is, how it works, and what kind of benefits it provides. In fact it's pretty straightforward, as I'll try to explain.

How Cisco ONE is changing licensing

Back in the day the IT industry dealt with discrete boxes, offering a feature set that was largely fixed in the hardware. You'd invest in a solution, and as it aged you'd look to replace it with an improved product a couple of years down the line. That's not how it works any more. With the rise of intelligent, software-defined environments, network hardware is far more powerful, with an ability to run customised and regularly updated feature sets in software.

The big change is that the licence for this software has become the commodity. With a technology partner like Cisco, even an entry-level device is equipped to run the same feature set its the top-of-the-range equivalent. It's applying the appropriate licence that enables this.

Make Cisco ONE do the work

That's the change, and for the smaller organisation, which might buy a limited number of network switches and then sweat these assets for five or six years - there's little appreciable difference.

Benefits of Cisco ONE

In larger organisations however, particularly those requiring an advanced solution, there's a significant benefit. Where in the past an enterprise might have bought large numbers of highly-specified switches and then upgraded the hardware every two years at a high cost, Cisco ONE provides an attractive alternative: owning the licences for the required feature set, and then applying these to new, entry-level equipment when it's time to upgrade to the next generation of hardware.

Initially, there's an uplift in cost for decoupling the licences from the hardware in this way, but in the long-term, savings on replacement hardware means that Cisco ONE provides better ROI for enterprises who want to both refresh their hardware, and maintain and expand an enhanced feature set.

I've used switching as an example, but Cisco ONE can be applied across the range of Cisco licensing, touching everything. It's also the mechanism through which the Cisco Digital Network Architecture (DNA) is delivered, as Daren Vallyon recently explained. While its fundamental benefit is protecting your investment in technology, its other important plusses include licence portability - even between different classes of device - and access to ongoing innovation: if you need to unlock a new feature in a new generation of hardware, there's the flexibility to do this from the existing licence pool.

For any client with a large Cisco estate, Cisco ONE should be the next step in the evolution of your network management. If you want to talk more about it, give me a call on 01273 957503.


Images: Daniel X. O'Neil/Flickr, Andre Chinn/Flickr. Both Creative Commons