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For years, IOS users have gotten away with simple and non-intrusive licensing models from Cisco. The CSR 1000V tries to keep a fairly lightweight licensing model, but there's no question that Cisco is not giving this virtual hardware away. Starting with the March release, you'll be able to license the appliance on a term basis. This means that you have to buy a one-, three- or five-year license, and when that license expires, the CSR 1000V throttles traffic down to 2.5Mbps.
To lock down the CSR 1000V virtual machine as much as possible, Cisco has built a licensing scheme that requires a different license for each virtual machine. Although you can vMotion the CSR 1000V all over your network without requiring a new license, you can't just clone a legal CSR 1000V to get a second CSR 1000V appliance -- you must pay for and apply a different license to the cloned VM.
Network managers looking for high availability can either use the built-in high-availability features of VMware to resurrect a single CSR 1000V, if the host hardware fails, or can use Cisco's own HSRP to keep two (or more) legally licensed CSR 1000Vs alive all the time. Or both.
Overall, Cisco has come to a reasonable approach to keep its intellectual property intact. And network managers intent on using the CSR 1000V for their CCIE study labs shouldn't fear, as the CSR 1000V has a 60-day evaluation mode that doesn't require a license.
Snyder, a Network World Test Alliance partner, is a senior partner at Opus One in Tucson, Ariz. He can be reached at Joel.Snyder@opus1.com.
Read more about lans & wans in Network World's LANs & WANs section.