Cisco’s 12.x code has definitely proven to be a very stable operating system. But since change is a given, Cisco has gone through a lot of revisions, and it’s finally time to morph into the 13.x code. But no… wait! 13 is bad. Buildings don’t have a 13th floor, and even if they do, elevators don’t go there! 13 is a superstitiously cursed, unlucky number here in the U.S.
Friday the 13th has been cursed since the 16th Century because that’s the day that the King of France attacked and attempted to jail all of the members of the secretive society, the Knights Templar. Reading folklore tells us that a vast fortune disappeared at that time too, and no, the Masons didn’t bring it to the U.S. nor did Nicolas Cage find it a couple years ago.
Yet, strangely enough, the also secretive and private Swiss banking system began around the same time all this vast fortune from the Knights Templar disappeared. Okay, so I’m not a historian, I’m a Cisco networking guy, so I really don’t how much truth there is to any of this, (if any), but it’s sure some sweet fodder for great stories and movies.
Cisco appears to feel a bit superstitious too… they skipped the 13.x code and went to… 14.x code? Nope. Not 14 either, because 14 happens to be a really nasty number in parts of Asia. So to keep anyone from getting the willies, Cisco’s jumped to the new 15.x code! The actual reason for skipping versions 13 & 14 code is of course, nothing but a rumor, but it it’s a fun way to start to this blog. And just as with secret societies and bank accounts, no one’s talking!
Technically, the first release is called 15.0(1)M and was created to run on Cisco newest Integrated Services Routers (ISR) Generation 2 (G2) routers. I’ve got to say these are some seriously sweet routers with, and I quote from Cisco here: “multi-core CPUs, support for high capacity Digital Signal Processors (DSPs) with video-ready media engine in addition to a rich set of audio features. For future enhanced video capabilities, high powered service modules with improved availability, Gigabit Ethernet switching with enhanced POE, and new energy monitoring and control capabilities while enhancing overall system performance. Additionally, a new Cisco IOS Software Universal image and Services Ready Engine module enable you to decouple the deployment of hardware and software, providing a flexible technology foundation which can quickly adapt to evolving network requirements.”
That’s quite a mouthful, Cisco. Let’s see if we can pull the good, bad, and the painfully expensive out of all this talk.
This new ISR code has a vast array of additional features, which falls under “the good”, but is also has a new licensing “feature” that can be bad because it’s going to cost us—maybe, quite a bit! So if you have one, you may want to access that Swiss account now. Gone are the days where you bought a router with the cheapest IOS you could, hopped over to Cisco’s web site and downloaded the biggest, baddest IOS compatible with your router.
I’ve personally never done anything like that, of course, but I’ve heard that a lot of people have. Shame on those peeps because now we’re all stuck with this new licensing “feature” called the Cisco License Manager (CLM). It’s not all bad news though. When you actually take the time to read more about it, the CLM is actually kinda cool—for anyone not trying to nick a free upgrade, that is!
But first, back to the “Bad News” category… If you have an x800 series first generation ISR router, the 15 code will run on them as well. Oh no! I have literally hundreds of 2500 and 2600 routers…What’s going to happen to them? Well, to be real, the 2500 series have really been EOL for many years and I mainly use them just to beat on them for fun creating large AS networks and connecting them together with BGP for detailed practice for when I build my world-wide empire – yes, 2500’s can do this, just not in production. The 2600’s have been EOL for a while too, but they sure are good enough, and even fast enough to run a lot of networks in use today.
Bummer they won’t run anything higher than a 12.2 code unless you have the XM series, and even these super 2600 models won’t run the 15 code. Here’s where we travel from “The Bad’ to “the Expensive “part. If you happen to be someone who needs, or is designing a network to fly with the new video, audio and other great features the 15 code offers, and you’re going to need a major cache of cash!
Interesting enough, all the routers will come with an IOS that has ALL the new (and old) features, called the “Universal Image”, and you “unlock” new features based on what you purchased or want to upgrade to. Seems to me that this will make upgrades a snap, and the CLM will make sure that Cisco gets all their money due them for what you’re actually using. I’ve always found it funny how so many people have always seen Cisco as a hardware company when in reality they’re really a software company that creates software products that just happen to run on proprietary hardware. Think about it: The hardware has always been the inexpensive part of buying a router or switch. Cisco’s revenue is based squarely upon their IOS and now, just like Microsoft, nothing’s free anymore.
Another fun fact here is that we’re now going to the x900 series of routers. I’m guessing this is Cisco’s way of recycling because I’ve never seen Cisco re-use old router or switch numbers before. Some of us of a certain age used a lot of 1900 and 2900 switches, so thinking of these as “new” is clearly going to take some getting used to!
Anyway, here’s a table of the devices that can run the 15 code:
|Cisco 800 series||Cisco IAD2801 series integrated access devices|
|Cisco 1800 series||Cisco IAD2430 series integrated access devices|
|Cisco 2800 series ISR||Cisco AS5350XM universal gateways|
|Cisco 3800 series ISR||Cisco AS5400XM universal gateways|
|Cisco 1900 series ISR G2||Cisco 7000 family routers|
|Cisco 2900 series ISR G2||Cisco VG202 and VG204 voice gateways|
|Cisco 3900 series ISR G2||Cisco VG224 analog gateways|
|Cisco 3200 series rugged ISR||Cisco VGD 1T3 voice gateways|
With the exception of the new ISR G2, the other router platforms have familiar IOS code images to the 12.4 release of IOS similar for each model. What this means to you is that when you upgrade an existing device to 15.0 you will still be able to get to and use names that are you’re currently used to in existing ISR routers.
For example, let’s say that you currently have an image named Advanced IP Services, Advanced Security, or IP Base—something like that. You will continue to have images with names and features broken up that way, at least for now. Why only for now? You’ll have to wait for my next blog to find out….
Be sure and stop by next week as I continue with a second part of this blog discussing the inside details of Cisco new software licensing framework. In the meantime, be sure and check out www.globalnettraining.com for some end of year specials and where you’ll find the best and only Todd Lammle Cisco Authorized training! Talk to you next week.