Cisco Smart Software Manager Test Drive

With the Cisco Smart Licensing, newer devices like 9200 Series switches and software like Cisco ISE 3.0 require an active internet connection for the licensing.

However, in a lot of scenarios Switches and other network hardware or software (like ISE) cannot have a direct internet connection. This might be due to security reasons or the LAN is behind a firewall or it’s just not possible or wanted and so on.

Therefore Cisco offers the Smart Software Manager as an On-Prem solution, which acts as a “middle-man” between the network hardware and Cisco’s Smart Licensing in the Internet. In this setup, the network hardware must be able to connect to the SSM On-Prem installation and the SSM On-Prem must be able to connect to the internet.

To download Cisco SSM On-Prem, a Cisco ID or Login for Cisco Software Central is required.

In this blog post I’m describing the installation and the first setup steps in the Web UI.

Virtual Machine setup

For a test drive installation I am creating a virtual machine with a 200 GB Hard disk, 8 GB memory and 4 vCPU’s. Based on the datasheet Cisco Smart Software ManagerOn-Prem License Server this is sufficient for 25.000 products per local account.

Cisco SSM On-Prem Virtual machine
Cisco SSM On-Prem Virtual machine

After booting the ISO image, the system asks in a setup dialog. One interesting option is that the hard disk can be encrypted with LUKS, which is a quite cool option. In general, I’m using for all my virtual machines LUKS to encrypt the hard disks, therefore kudos to Cisco.

After entering the IPv4 and DNS configuration, a click on “OK” prompts for a password for console/SSH logins and the installation process is starting.

Cisco SSM On-Prem Installation dialog
Cisco SSM On-Prem Installation dialog

When the installation is done, the Cisco SSM On-Prem presents in my virtual environment a login screen.

Cisco SSM On-Prem Login after installation
Cisco SSM On-Prem Login after installation

Web UI first steps

By using a web browser and entering as URL the IP address of the system, the Web UI comes up and ask for a login. Based on the manual, the admin user is: admin and the intial password is: CiscoAdmin!2345. Please note that this is not the password used for console/SSH which was configured in the Installation dialog. In addition, this password must be changed in a Web UI setup dialog after the first login.

Cisco SSM On-Prem Web UI login
Cisco SSM On-Prem Web UI login

The Web UI dialog asks for the

1) Default language

2) A new, strong admin password

3) Host Common Name

The last page of this Web UI dialog is just “review and confirm”. By clicking on “Apply” the system is ready.

Cisco SSM On-Prem Web UI review and confirm
Cisco SSM On-Prem Web UI review and confirm

Registering the SSM On-Prem

After finalizing the Web UI dialog, the system is ready and on the Smart Software Manager web site the SSM On-Prem can be registered. I’m not doing this because I have older, refurbished Cisco hardware in my lab which does not require the Cisco Smart Licensing.

Cisco SSM On-Prem Web UI administration
Cisco SSM On-Prem Web UI administration

Please note that the registration process is described in the Smart Software Manager On-Prem Installation Guide document.


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