Cisco UK & Ireland Blog

What’s the deal with Cisco ONE Software?

December 5, 2016

There’s been a lot of hype about Cisco ONE software.  But there are lots of questions too. What is it? And what’s great about it?  Does it really make much difference how an organisation buys software? I wasn’t sure myself so I chatted to Howard Meredith in our Software Licensing team.  Who gave me a beginners’ guide to all things software at Cisco.

First we started with what is it…

Put simply Cisco ONE is a new way of consuming Cisco software.  Cisco have decoupled hardware and software to allow license portability.


Traditionally when you purchased IT kit, be that switches, routers, servers etc. then you decided which one you wanted and what you wanted it to do, and the software would be supplied to fit your specification.  Job done….so it would seem.

Then if you wanted your network to do different things, you would buy new hardware, with a new set of software applied.  And what if the hardware itself was fine, really all you needed was new software?  Frustrating, especially from a budgeting perspective.

Combine that with a network that quickly ends up with a mix of hardware purchased at different times. Before you know it you have lots of different software versions across the network.  You go to activate a new functionality only to find its only available on half your kit.

That’s where Cisco ONE comes in, to deliver that agility. Now buying your hardware and software can be separate transactions.  Cisco ONE combined with licensing options such as Advanced or Enterprise Licensing Agreement (ELA) gives you a new level of flexibility in how to consume and use the software you need at your business pace.

Modern wireless technology illustration with a computer device

Then I asked, what are the key benefits for customers?

And it turns out there are lots of advantages to Cisco ONE for organisations including:

  1. Manage all your software licences as a single package with either an advanced or enterprise licence agreement, with a single regular renewal date. And forward plan your software with licensing that can flex to accommodate your changing demands.
  2. Run all your equipment on the same software version, with the same features. No more of having a mixed selection of differing features and versions.
  3. Benefit from software version updates automatically, without needing to repurchase. No more legacy software in your network.  Particularly important for security, on top of the obvious benefits in terms of functionality.
  4. Benefit from new features when they become available. No longer get held back from delivering new or improved services.   Or finding you can’t deliver them consistently, or where you need them most.

More and more customers are experiencing the benefits of Cisco ONE.  Weetabix is one company here in the UK that made the change and have reaped the rewards. This all sounds great.  So what’s holding customers back?

Here’s the myth busting bit.

Worried about legacy hardware?
Quite often there is a concern you might end up paying twice for your software.  No problem. Cisco offer mid-cycle refresh packages that take account of your existing hardware and software to enable you to migrate without ripping and replacing hardware that still has years of service left in it.

Sounds more expensive?
Not at all.  So long as you have identified you need or will benefit from more than a certain percentage of the features in the Cisco ONE package, then going with the Cisco ONE package soon becomes the more cost effective software purchasing model over time.

And even better, there are currently some offers that give you even more value. Check them out here.

What about CapEx and OpEx?
By decoupling hardware and software you can reduce your CapEx because hardware refresh will be cheaper. Now you only need to replace the bare metal.  While your Cisco ONE software licence and associated annual support becomes predicable OpEx spend – your procurement team will love this!

What if I need more or less software than I planned?
Both the Advantage Licence and ELA have flexibility built in.  We help you forward plan and provide a level of flexibility for unexpected growth or changes. Allowing you to scale up and down to meet your operating needs in this rapidly evolving times of business innovation and growth.

Just want a basic switch or router?
No problem, buying kit with the software attached is still possible.  And can still be the right choice in some circumstances.

Want to know more?

Listen to our very own Peter Adkins and Justin Woolen talk about the value of the software that runs on our networks and how customers can get access to this innovation with CISCO ONE in this podcast. Or contact us here and one of our team will be in touch as soon as possible.

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