Key to Cisco Networking Services Flow-through provisioning is the capability to associate, with each device, a simple, manageable, and unique ID that is compatible with your systems for order entry, billing, provisioning, and shipping and can also link your order-entry system to the Cisco order-fulfillment system. Such an ID must have the following characteristics:
Be available from manufacturing as part of order fulfillment.
Be recordable on the shipping carton and chassis.
Be available to the device’s Cisco software.
Be modifiable after the device is first powered up.
Be representative of both a specific chassis and a specific entry point into your network.
To define such an ID, Cisco Networking Services flow-through provisioning equips the Cisco Networking Services agent with a new set of commands—the cns commands—with which you specify how configurations should be done and, in particular, how the system defines unique IDs. You enable the Cisco software to auto-discover the unique ID according to directions that you specify and information that you provide, such as chassis serial number, MAC address, IP address, and several other possibilities. The cns commands are part of the bootstrap configuration of the manufactured device, specified to Cisco Configuration Express at time of order.
Within this scope, Cisco Configuration Express and the cns commands also allow you to define custom asset tags to your own specifications, which are serialized during manufacture and automatically substituted into the unit’s bootstrap configuration.
Cisco appends tags to the carton for all the various types of IDs supported by the cns commands, so that these values can be bar-code read at shipping time and fed back into your systems. Alternatively, these IDs are also available through a direct XML-software interface between your system and the Cisco order-status engine, eliminating the need for bar-code reading. The Cisco Networking Services agent also provides a feedback mechanism whereby the remote device can receive XML events or commands to modify the device’s ID, in turn causing that same device to broadcast an event indicating the old/new IDs.