Cisco Smart License Conversion Trick

It’s been a while since Cisco has announced Smart License to replace Traditional PAK-based licensing. Overall, this new system brings loads of benefits, such as ability to track license utilization, see all managed instances by hostname, transfer licenses and product instances between virtual accounts (i.e. sub-domains) and many other features. However, it also brings some challenges and surprises that everyone must be aware of.

First of all, keep in mind that eventually everything will be Smart License managed. Cisco made this licensing mandatory for Catalyst switching platforms starting from Fuji 16.9.1, as per below

Starting from Cisco IOS XE Fuji 16.9.1 the Right-To-Use (RTU) licensing mode is deprecated, and the associated license right-to-use command is no longer available on the CLI.

Release Notes for Cisco Catalyst 3850 Series Switches, Cisco IOS XE Fuji 16.9.x

When you upgrade, switches will silently activate EVALUATION mode, which will be valid for the next 90 days, but then, if you do not configure Smart Licensing you automatically go into non-compliance state. It won’t affect basic switch functions, but will definitely affect anything DNA-based (e.g. Assurance). So, keep this in mind and plan carefully.

I was confused initially as all our Catalyst 3850 switches have been purchased using Cisco One license, well before Smart License become mandatory. In fact, we haven’t even had any PAK codes, it was all RTU based. So, one might be guessing how to remain compliant?

Apparently, there’s a very handy command that performs the conversion of RTU license into Smart License. It is the following

license smart conversion start

Make sure you enable Smart License before you perform the conversion. I assume you’ve already setup Smart License Account, there will only show a minimum required config:

Switch(cfg-call-home)#source-interface <source-interface>
Switch(cfg-call-home)#vrf <source-vrf>
Switch(config)#ip http client <source-interface>
Switch(config)#ip name-server <dns1> <dns2>
Switch(config)#ip domain lookup
Switch#license smart register idtoken <smart-license-token>

Keep in mind, <smart-license-token> will have to be generated via Smart License portal to make sure device is added to correct Virtual Account (VA). Once device is registered, execute RTU to Smart License conversion as shown above, then check your license again and it must be compliant:

Smart Licensing is ENABLED

  Status: DISABLED

Data Privacy:
  Sending Hostname: yes
    Callhome hostname privacy: DISABLED
    Smart Licensing hostname privacy: DISABLED
  Version privacy: DISABLED

  Type: Callhome

  Smart Account: <YOUR SMART ACCOUNT>
  Virtual Account: <VIRTUAL-ACCOUNT>
  Export-Controlled Functionality: ALLOWED
  Initial Registration: SUCCEEDED on Oct 28 23:12:38 2019 UTC
  Last Renewal Attempt: None
  Next Renewal Attempt: Apr 25 23:12:37 2020 UTC
  Registration Expires: Oct 27 23:06:33 2020 UTC

License Authorization:
  Status: AUTHORIZED on Oct 29 09:33:34 2019 UTC
  Last Communication Attempt: SUCCEEDED on Oct 29 09:33:34 2019 UTC
  Next Communication Attempt: Nov 28 09:33:33 2019 UTC
  Communication Deadline: Jan 27 09:28:32 2020 UTC

License Conversion:
  Automatic Conversion Enabled: False
  Status: Successful on Oct 29 09:33:31 2019 UTC

Export Authorization Key:
  Features Authorized:

As you can see, license is AUTHORIZED (i.e. COMPLIANT state). Go check your Smart License portal and you will notice new licenses in a pool assigned to added devices.

RTU-based licenses converted into Smart License

C3850_48_Ipserv represent converted RTU licenses for Catalyst 3850 switches running IP Services RTU at the moment of conversion.

I hope this was helpful.

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