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Updated:January 23, 2014
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Accelerate business and network transformation with unified lifecycle management and application visibility.
Business and network transformation brings new challenges to traditional IT network management. The proliferation of mobile devices and pervasive voice and video collaboration, along with cloud and data center virtualization, is driving the need for higher levels of service and improved quality of experience across the network infrastructure. These new services and applications require network managers to have improved visibility to quickly and proactively troubleshoot and resolve problems before they affect services and end-user experience.
™ Infrastructure addresses these challenges by providing a single integrated solution for comprehensive lifecycle management of the wired/wireless access, campus, and branch networks, and rich visibility into end-user connectivity and application performance assurance issues. Cisco Prime Infrastructure accelerates the rollout of new services and provides secure access and management of mobile devices, making "Bring Your Own Device" (BYOD) a reality for corporate IT. Tightly coupling client awareness with application performance visibility and network control, Cisco Prime Infrastructure helps ensure uncompromised end-user quality of experience. Deep integration with the
Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) further extends this visibility across security and policy-related problems, presenting a complete view of client access issues with a clear path to solving them.
Converged Simplified Lifecycle Management
Combining the wireless functionality of Cisco Prime Network Control System (NCS) with the wired functionality of Cisco Prime LAN Management Solution (LMS)
Cisco Prime Infrastructure simplifies and automates many of the day-to-day tasks associated with maintaining and managing the end-to-end network infrastructure from a single pane of glass. The new converged solution delivers all of the existing wireless capabilities for RF management, user access visibility, reporting, and troubleshooting along with wired lifecycle functions such as discovery, inventory, configuration and image management, automated deployment, compliance reporting, integrated best practices, and reporting.
A new operational model based on lifecycle processes (Figure 1) aligns the product functionality with the way network operators do their jobs:
• Design: Assess, plan, and create configurations required to roll out new network services and technologies. Create templates used for monitoring key network resources, devices, and attributes. Default templates and best practice designs are provided for quick out-of-the-box implementation automating the work required to use Cisco validated designs and best practices.
• Deploy: Schedule the rollout and implementation of network changes. Changes may include published templates created in the design phase, software image updates, and support for user-initiated ad hoc changes and compliance updates. This accelerates service rollout, minimizes chances for errors, and is highly scalable.
• Operate: Predefined dashboards provide up-to-date status monitoring on the overall health of the network. Simple one-click workflows and 360-degree device views enhance troubleshooting and reduce the time to resolve network issues. Unified alarm displays with detailed forensics provide actionable information and the ability to automatically open service requests with the Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC).
• Report: Provides a wide variety of predefined reports for up-to-date information on the network including detailed inventory, configuration, compliance, audit, capacity, end-of-sale, security vulnerabilities, and many more.
• Administer: Provides an easy-to-use set of workflows that help to maintain the health of the application and keep devices, users, and the software up to date, allowing the IT staff to focus on other important activities.
Figure 1. Operational Lifecycle Workflow
Improve Application Delivery and End-User Experience
By converging lifecycle management and assurance, Cisco Prime Infrastructure empowers network managers to more effectively manage their network as well as the services their network delivers. Bringing device management capabilities into operational monitoring workflows provides a holistic, multidimensional view of the user, application, and network. This powerful combination of application awareness and network savvy helps network managers realize operational efficiencies that include improved responsiveness to business needs, faster problem identification and remediation, and lower incident and problem rates.
Cisco Prime Infrastructure enables embedded Cisco instrumentation and industry-standard technologies, such as NetFlow, Network Based Application Recognition (NBAR), Medianet, Performance Agent, and Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP), to deliver networkwide application-aware visibility. It provides operations monitoring and quality of experience workflows that reduce instrumentation configuration and data collection complexity to quickly and easily gain insight into network and application performance. It also integrates with Cisco Prime Network Analysis Module (NAM) to permit the collection and correlation of granular flow- and packet-based data from one NAM or many, helping to enable deeper analysis and troubleshooting to rapidly solve challenging application and network problems.
Reduce Operational Expenses
Cisco Prime Infrastructure's scalable single-pane-of-glass solution significantly reduces operational costs by reducing the number of required management solutions. Cisco Prime Infrastructure scales to manage thousands of routers and switches and hundreds of Cisco wireless controllers, which in turn can manage up to 15,000 Cisco Aironet
® access points (APs). Ongoing support of new Cisco devices and software releases helps ensure device support parity within each device family, and is provided through the Incremental Device Updates (IDUs).
This eliminates gaps in your management operations, especially when it comes to service availability and troubleshooting.
Cisco Prime Infrastructure offers both physical appliance and virtual appliance options for deployment flexibility without sacrificing scalability, ease of installation and setup, or serviceability and sustainability.
Features and Benefit Summary
Table 1 provides a summary of the features and benefits of Cisco Prime Infrastructure.
Table 1. Summary of Cisco Prime Infrastructure 1.3 Features and Benefits
• Streamlined workflows facilitate design, deployment, and operational lifecycle tasks that align with user roles.
• Contextual dashboards and 360-degree views display only the most relevant information for fast and efficient troubleshooting.
• Flexible user experience accommodates novice and experienced IT administrators, reducing the investment in multiple tools.
• The Cisco Prime Infrastructure Toolbar client widget provides real-time at-a-glance updates of network status from your browser or Microsoft Outlook clients.
• Cisco Prime Infrastructure Mobile application for Apple iOS devices helps enable fingertip access to view, troubleshoot, and resolve network issues anywhere and anytime.
Integrated Cisco best practices
• Integration with Cisco knowledge base helps to ensure optimal service and support, product updates, best practices, and reports to improve network availability.
• Ongoing support of new Cisco devices and software releases to help ensure device support parity within each device family are provided through the IDUs.
• Smart interactions streamline service request creation, reducing the time required to fix problems.
• Flexible virtual machine and physical appliance solutions provide cost-effective, easy-to-install options for small to global enterprise-class networks.
• Built-in high availability (HA) maximizes uptime for services delivery and improves operational efficiency.
• Role-based access control provides flexibility to segment the network into one or more virtual domains controlled by a single Cisco Prime Infrastructure platform. Virtual domains help deploy both large, multisite networks and managed services.
• Flexible authentication, authorization, and accounting (AAA) allow for local, RADIUS, TACACS+, or single sign-on options.
• Single-pane-of-glass solution for complete end-to-end infrastructure management, reducing the need for multiple tools and lowering operating expenses and training costs.
Complete lifecycle management
• Extensive discovery protocol support helps improve accuracy and completeness, including ping, Cisco Discovery Protocol, Link Layer Discovery Protocol (LLDP), Address Resolution Protocol (ARP), Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), Open Shortest Path First (OSPF), and route table lookups.
• Flexible grouping and site profiles help to manage large networks by associating network elements to user definable groups or to a hierarchical campus, building, and floor model.
• Device Work Center simplifies access to the tools and features necessary to easily manage the network inventory, including discovery, manual and bulk import, and software image management.
• Customizable predefined Cisco best practices and validated design configuration templates help enable quick and easy device and service deployment.
• Composite templates allow greater flexibility and packaging of individual templates into larger, reusable, purpose-built configurations for more consistent and quicker network designs.
• Automated deployment workflows provide plug-and-play functionality to simplify the rollout of new devices and sites, accelerating service availability.
• Centralized monitoring of branch, campus, and WLAN access networks helps maintain robust performance and an optimal access connectivity experience.
• Integration with Cisco ISE and Cisco Secure Access Control Server (ACS) View provides a simple way to collect and analyze additional data relevant to endpoints.
• Integrated workflows and tools help IT administrators quickly assess service disruptions, receive notices about performance degradation, research resolutions, and take action to remedy nonoptimal situations.
Network-based end-user experience monitoring
• Detailed analytics dashboards to monitor end-user experience of business-critical applications and their key performance indicators (KPIs).
• Site-based tracking of user endpoints.
• Time-based filtering of data lets users narrow the issue down to a particular timeframe or to look at related network/application events given a timeframe in which the problem was observed.
Flexible NetFlow Version 9 support and advanced troubleshooting
• Flexible NetFlow templates and raw records collection.
• Standard NetFlow support with the ability to update/add new fields based on heuristics.
• Trigger packet captures on multiple NAMs based on common software filters.
• Access to packet, flow, and MIB data for detailed real-time and offline analysis.
• Predefined collection plans are provided to collect application response time, traffic analysis, and Real-time Transport Protocol (RTP) metrics, reducing the complexity in setting up data sources and KPI collection.
• Threshold templates are provided to monitor key indicators and alert the operator/engineer of any anomalies.
Dedicated dashboard for voice, video monitoring, and analysis
• Analysis of voice, video, and RTP traffic in general is available at branch or individual user level.
• Multiple data sources are provided for voice video analysis, including Network Analysis Module and Medianet.
• Monitoring of RTP conversations is available at the branch and client levels.
Support for Wireless LAN Controller (WLC) Release 7.3
• Support for new hardware and software features introduced in WLC Release 7.3 is provided. This includes WLC 8500 controller, virtual WLC platforms, AP 2600, AP 1550 with EPON interface, HA with subsecond failover, Proxy Mobile IPv6, and other features.
• New maps engine supports high-resolution images with much improved pan and zoom controls. Search within maps is also supported. The new maps combined with search offer a faster and smoother navigation experience with quicker access to information.
Automatic hierarchy creation
• Automatically create maps and assign access points to maps using regular expressions. This feature automates the tedious work of creating campus, building, and floor hierarchies and assigning access points to the floor.
Automatic switch port tracing
• Ability to automatically identify the Cisco switch and port information for a rogue access point connected to the Cisco switch, which allows quickly identifying and mitigating the threat posed by a rogue access point.
• Ability to discover and monitor third-party (non-Cisco) switches that support RFC 1213 and wireless controllers/access points from Aruba Networks.
Branch and WAN
• Feature configuration templates are provided for dynamic multipoint VPN (DMVPN), Group Encrypted Transport VPN (GETVPN), access control lists (ACLs), and ScanSafe.
• Device-level support is provided for DMVPN, GETVPN, ACLs, Enhanced Interior Gateway Protocol (EIGRP), Routing Information Protocol (RIP), OSPF, static routes, Ethernet interfaces, Network Address Translation (NAT), and Zone-Based Firewall.
New Features and Enhancements Introduced in Cisco Prime Infrastructure 1.3
• This release supports Cisco Aironet 1600 Series Access Points (APs) and allows IT administrators to manage the 1600 Series from Cisco Prime Infrastructure. They can plan, deploy, and manage the 1600 Series through Cisco Prime Infrastructure.
• Cisco Prime Infrastructure provides management support for new access point hardware in the Wireless Security Module (WSM) module. The WSM module is a field-upgradable, third radio module add-on to the 3600 Series Access Point. Also, SNMP MIB enhancements are available for the monitor module within the specific 3600 Series access point. Enables increased client performance by offloading spectrum monitoring and security capabilities to third radio, while the integrated radios concurrently serve 2.4 and 5 GHz client devices.
• Cisco Prime Infrastructure provides an Assurance for Wireless feature. This allows IT administrators to monitor, configure, report, and troubleshoot application traffic using tools like NBAR-2 and NetFlow.
• The support for Application Visibility and Control (AVC) is introduced in this release. AVC classifies applications using Cisco's Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) techniques with the NBAR engine and provides application-level visibility and control into the Wi-Fi network. After recognizing the applications, the AVC feature allows administrators to either drop or mark the traffic.
Using AVC, the controller can detect more than 1000 applications. AVC enables administrators to perform real-time analysis and create policies to reduce network congestion, costly network link usage, and infrastructure upgrades.
• The Support for NetFlow protocol is introduced in this release. The NetFlow protocol provides information about network users and applications, peak usage times, and traffic routing. The NetFlow protocol collects IP traffic information from network devices to monitor traffic.
• The NetFlow architecture consists of the following components:
– Collector: Entity that collects all the IP traffic information from various network elements.
– Exporter: Network entity that exports the template with the IP traffic information. The controller acts as an exporter.
• Support for the Multicast DNS (mDNS) protocol is introduced. This feature allows IT administrators to easily deploy and manage Bonjour Services Directory. They can monitor, configure, and troubleshoot Bonjour Services Discovery.
• This release provides the following additional RADIUS support features on FlexConnect:
– A primary or secondary RADIUS server per FlexConnect group is sufficient.
– The FlexConnect group allows you to configure a primary or secondary RADIUS server, which may not be present in the controller.
• This release supports the following hardware platforms:
– Cisco Catalyst 3850 Series Ethernet Stackable Switch
– Cisco NAM 2304 Appliance
– Cisco IE 2000 Series Switches
• Cisco Prime Infrastructure supports the new Mobility Services Engine (MSE)features such as the WSM module, Qualcomm, Meridian, and wIPS.
The recommended deployments for a virtual appliance are VMware ESX and ESXi. Table 2 shows the resources required for different sizes of the virtual appliance.
Table 2. Product Specifications for Cisco Prime Infrastructure 1.3
Virtual Appliance Resource Requirements
Virtual Appliance Size
Hard Disk Drive Size
Throughput (Disk I/O)
Version 4.1 or 5.0
Version 4.1 or 5.0
Cisco Prime Appliance
900 GB (After RAID5)
Minimum Client Requirements
Client hardware: A Mac or Windows laptop or desktop compatible with one of the supported browsers and a processor running at least 4 GB RAM or more
Browser: Internet Explorer 8.0 or 9.0 or later with Google Chrome plug-in(plug-in not needed by Lobby Ambassador users), Mozilla Firefox 13 or later and Firefox ESR 10.x (ESR 17 is recommended), Mozilla Firefox 22 or later, Google Chrome19.0 or later
Resolution: Screen display resolution is recommended to be set to 1280 x 800 or higher
TIP: It is strongly recommended to use a client with at least 4GB or more. Adding more memory will definitely enhance the end-user experience.
Server Sizing Matrix
The information in Table 3 should help users to pick the correct Open Virtualization Archive (OVA) size image for the Cisco Prime Infrastructure Virtual Appliance.
Table 3. Supported Scale for Small, Medium, Large, and Extra-Large Configurations
* Max Wired Devices
* Max Controllers
* Max Autonomous APs
* Max Unified APs
* Max NAMs
Total Max Devices
Max Wired Clients
Max Wireless Clients
Max Roaming Clients
Max Events (events/sec)
Max NetFlow Rate (flows/sec)
* NetFlow is supported only on the Large and Extra-Large OVAs in Cisco Prime Infrastructure 1.x; sizing numbers are based on internal testing.
An Integrated Solution
Cisco Prime Infrastructure is now a single installable software package
2 with tiered licensing options to expand and grow functionality and coverage as needed. Simply install the base software license and one or more of the following feature set options:
• Lifecycle management: Simplifies the day-to-day operational tasks associated with managing the network infrastructure for all Cisco devices, including routers, switches, access points, and more.
• Assurance management: Delivers application-level visibility through the normalization and correlation of rich performance instrumentation data to help ensure application delivery and an optimal end-user experience.
• Automated Deployment Gateway: This optional feature complements the built-in automated deployment functionality available through lifecycle management. It enables remote automated deployment for large-scale environments and DMZimplementations.
Ordering and Licensing Information
Cisco Prime Infrastructure 1.3 is available for new customers and upgrade options are available for existing Cisco Prime Infrastructure, Cisco Network Control System, Cisco Wireless Control System (WCS), and LMS customers. For details refer to the Cisco Prime Infrastructure 1.3 Ordering and Licensing Guide. Information is also provided in the guide regarding obtaining an evaluation copy of Cisco Prime Infrastructure 1.3.
Technical Service Options
Cisco Prime Infrastructure software products come with the Cisco 90-day software warranty. Purchasing a Cisco Software Application Support plus Upgrades (SASU) service provides benefits not available with the warranty, including access to maintenance releases, minor and major upgrades, online resources, and Technical Assistance Center support services.
The Cisco Prime Appliance option comes with a Cisco 90-day hardware warranty. Adding a contract for a technical service offering, such as Cisco SMARTnet
® Service, to your device coverage provides access to the Cisco Technical Assistance Center and can provide a variety of hardware replacement options to meet critical business needs, updates for licensed operating system software, and registered access to the extensive Cisco.com knowledge base and support tools.