Improvements of Cisco Prime Infrastructure 2.1
Since a couple of weeks, Cisco Prime Infrastructure 2.1 (PI 2.1) is available and ready for download. In the datasheet we can find the following added as new features:
- Manage 802.11ac-based access points
- Unify Wireless LAN Controller (WLC) AireOS and Cisco IOS® XE platforms with One Management
- Realize day-1 support for Cisco access points
- Extend the management of Cisco data center switches to the Cisco Nexus ® 9000 Series
But what does it really change? What can I benefit from this new functions?
Let’s have a look a bit into the details:
First we recognize that most new features in PI 2.1 are related to Wireless-Installations.
The only notable exception is the added support of the Nexus 9000 Series Switches.
So, let’s have a closer look to the Wireless-Features.
1. Prime Infrastructure 2.1 improves a lot the SW-Support for current Wireless-LAN-Controllers
PI 2.1 supports now also controllers running AireOS-Releases 7.5 and 7.6 . These WLC-Releases have introduced support for the 802.11ac-based Access Points – adding support for them, support for these APs was added at the same time. PI 2.1 also supports IOS-XE 3.3 respectively the WLAN-Features in that release – so also here we have better support.
Well, so far this sounds great – but one note has to be made about Prime Infrastructure and it’s support for AireOS-Releases:
From a feature-perspective PI 2.1 is still based on the AireOS 7.4 Release – so the Hardware is supported with for example AireOS 7.6, but the new 7.6-Features cannot be configured.
In reality are however only the following three features affected from this:
- Client SSO
- Policy Classification Engine
- Bonjour Gateway
2. Prime Infrasturucture 2.1 provides basic support for future WLAN-Controller-Software
This summer we expect SW-Versions 8.0 on AireOS-based Controllers respectively 3.6 on IOS-XE-based Controllers to be released. The next Prime Infrastructure Release is however only planned for the second half of 2014.
How can we manage these new Controller-Releases till then?
Prime Infrastructure 2.1 will also supports also some basic monitoring of SW-Versions AireOS 8.0 rsp. IOS-XE 3.6.
The following example should help understand that concept:
Imagine a WLAN-Controller that would be fully supported by PI2.1 while it’s running AireOS 7.4 – the same controller will be still supported by PI 2.1, when it runs AireOS 8.0.
But the Feature-Support of PI 2.1 will be still limited to 7.4-Code – no new 8.0-Features will be possible to be configured.
So this is very similar what has been described in the paragraph before, and the very same also applies to IOS-XE 3.3 resp. 3.6
3. Prime Infrastructure 2.1 Upgrade Path
Migration to Prime Infrastructure is supported from PI 2.0 and from PI 1.3
If you have SASU- or ESW-Contracts in place, these upgrades are actually free. Server requirements and sizing is actually equal to the PI 2.0 – not generating additional hurdles.
Customers running earlier versions of PI 1.x or NCS or WCS or LMS, should first migrate to PI 2.0 and then further from there. Customers running already PI 1.4 cannot migrate to PI 2.1 as there is no migration-path.
Visualization of the Upgrade-Path and Ordering-Guide
Attached to this blog are two informal documents, which are based on the official documentation on www.cisco.com
They should it make a bit more easy to figure out, what path you need to take to upgrade towards PI 2.1
Support of all these different SW-Releases makes Prime Infrastructure 2.1 the standard Management-Solutions for Wired and Wireless Deployments .
The only two exceptions are:
- Customers already running PI 1.4
- Customers wanting to manage Client SSO, Policy Classification Engine and/or Bonjour Gateway
More infromation about Prime Infrastructure can be found on the following Webpage: