How does Cisco License Manager help?

Essentially, Cisco License Manager (CLM) will keep track of your Cisco IOS licenses, although it isn’t a “required licenses server” as some companies have. CLM can produce auditing reports to show proof of purchase. It also allows you to add Product Activation Keys (PAKs) for the licensed software you have purchased, and it automatically gets license keys. Since it uses a simple GUI interface, it is very easy to use and implement.

Cisco License Manager: Common questions

Do you buy it?
No, it’s free. Just download CLM from the Cisco Web site. Of course, you will need to be a registered user to obtain the free download. CLM is available as a Linux, Solaris, and Windows download. In Figure A, you can see the circled Cisco License Manager version 2.2 for Windows.

Figure A

Cisco License Manager 2.2 has a right-to use license (RTU), so no license key registration is required. Of course, a service contract is available for optional Java and Perl Software Development Kits (SDKs), and you must purchase a Software Application Support (SAS) contract to receive access to technical assistance through Cisco’s Technical Assistance Center (TAC).

How does it work?
Cisco License Manager is set up on role-based access controls with specific roles like Administrator, Inventory Manager, and PAK Manager utilizing access control lists (ACLs). You can have a device, model, device group, and an IP address range and then assign a PAK to the policy. Figure B shows the interface.

Figure B

 Courtesy of Cisco Systems

What about Return Material Authorization (RMA)?

Cisco License Manager enables users to transfer licenses from a failed device using the RMA process to a new device.

Can you use command-line interface (CLI)?

Yes, you can utilize CLI with Telnet and Extensible Markup Language (XML) over HTTPS through the Web.

Will Cisco License Manager help me in case my license gets corrupted?

Yes, licenses are stored in the Cisco License Manager database so you can redeploy a license that accidently gets removed or corrupted.

What Cisco devices does it support?

CLM supports 3750-E; 3560-E; PIX; ASA, IPS; MDS9000; and Cisco 1800, 2800, and 300 series routers with IOS 12.4 IOS revisions (see CLM datasheet for list of supported devices).

Cisco License Manager: Positives and negatives

Like most software products, this one has advantages and disadvantages. Here is my breakdown:


Cisco License manager automatically tracks all your information about licensed features of Cisco devices. This allows you to inventory, deploy, and reclaim licenses for features of all your Cisco devices. What you may be able to do now at a command line, by being able to do this in a GUI, you will save time and make your life easier. Here are two examples of how CLM can help you:

You can create rules and filters inside CLM that allow you to quickly filter hundreds of devices and then take a licensing action on those devices.

You can transfer licenses from one device to another with a few clicks of your mouse.

Cisco License Manager for Windows runs only on Windows XP or 2003 (see Figure C) — not Vista or 2008.
Figure C

Final thoughts

Cisco License Manager is free and available to assist you in managing your Cisco IOS Software activation and license management. It allows you to activate licenses directly through much more quickly than you could otherwise. It can automatically discover Cisco devices, inventory licenses for those devices, and assign or move license features from those devices.

To learn more about CLM, read the Cisco License Manager Documentation and the CLM FAQ. Registered Cisco users can download the Cisco License Manager here.

What do you think about the Cisco License Manager? Do you use it? Is it worth trying? Sound off your comments about the Cisco License Manager in our comments section!

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