How to buy a Cisco Catalyst 9300 Switch

The new Cisco Catalyst 9300 is an impressive switch.  I won’t go into all of the features and details here, that’s not the point of this blog post.  The point of this blog post is to share some knowledge that almost nobody seems to have when trying to place an order for Catalyst 9300.   VARs and Cisco alike don’t understand how the licensing works.

I won’t even go into all of the licensing options, just the most basic.

First off, you must chose between two license levels, “Network Essentials” and “Network Advantage”.  The different here being the feature set included on your switch.  These are akin to “IP Base” and “IP Services” from older products.  This license is perpetual.  It does not require an annual subscription or any further fees.  It is in the part number for the switch itself.

Secondly, Cisco is currently forcing you to purchase “DNA” with your switch.  You have no choice between between “DNA Essentials” and “DNA Advantage” – you can only select the one that matches your license level.    You do not need to buy the super expensive controller for the DNA. You do not need to buy Cisco ONE Advantage.  You do not need to renew “DNA” when the initial 3-year term expires.  But you do need to buy DNA with the switch.  Why on earth would Cisco call two different products with almost the same name?  Well this is what happens once the marketing people get hold of things.

Also, to answer some questions that I also had but couldn’t get a definitive answer.  1.  No stacking cable is included.  2. Rack ears are included.  No stacking module is required, it’s built in.

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