About Smart Software Licensing
This section describes how Smart Software Licensing works.
This section only applies to ASA logical devices on the Firepower 4100/9300 chassis. For more information on licensing for Firepower Threat Defense logical devices, see the Firepower Management Center Configuration Guide.
Smart Software Licensing for the ASA
For the ASA application on the Firepower 4100/9300 chassis, Smart Software Licensing configuration is split between the Firepower 4100/9300 chassis supervisor and the application.
Firepower 4100/9300 chassis—Configure all Smart Software Licensing infrastructure in the supervisor, including parameters for communicating with the License Authority. The Firepower 4100/9300 chassis itself does not require any licenses to operate.
Inter-chassis clustering requires that you enable the same Smart Licensing method on each chassis in the cluster.
ASA Application—Configure all license entitlements in the application.
Smart Software Manager and Accounts
When you purchase 1 or more licenses for the device, you manage them in the Cisco Smart Software Manager:
The Smart Software Manager lets you create a master account for your organization.
If you do not yet have an account, click the link to set up a new account. The Smart Software Manager lets you create a master account for your organization.
By default, your licenses are assigned to the Default Virtual Account under your master account. As the account administrator, you can optionally create additional virtual accounts; for example, you can create accounts for regions, departments, or subsidiaries. Multiple virtual accounts let you more easily manage large numbers of licenses and devices.
If your devices do not have Internet access, and cannot register with the License Authority, you can configure offline licensing.
Permanent License Reservation
If your devices cannot access the internet for security reasons, you can optionally request permanent licenses for each ASA. Permanent licenses do not require periodic access to the License Authority. Like PAK licenses, you will purchase a license and install the license key for the ASA. Unlike a PAK license, you obtain and manage the licenses with the Smart Software Manager. You can easily switch between regular smart licensing mode and permanent license reservation mode.
You can obtain a license that enables all features: Standard tier with maximum Security Contexts and the Carrier license. The license is managed on the Firepower 4100/9300 chassis, but you also need to request the entitlements in the ASA configuration so that the ASA allows their use.
If your devices cannot access the internet for security reasons, you can optionally install a local Smart Software Manager satellite server as a virtual machine (VM). The satellite provides a subset of Smart Software Manager functionality, and allows you to provide essential licensing services for all your local devices. Only the satellite needs to connect periodically to the main License Authority to sync your license usage. You can sync on a schedule or you can sync manually.
Once you download and deploy the satellite application, you can perform the following functions without sending data to Cisco SSM using the Internet:
Activate or register a license
View your company's licenses
Transfer licenses between company entities
For more information, see the Smart Software Manager satellite installation and configuration guides on Smart Account Manager satellite.
Licenses and Devices Managed per Virtual Account
Licenses and devices are managed per virtual account: only that virtual account’s devices can use the licenses assigned to the account. If you need additional licenses, you can transfer an unused license from another virtual account. You can also transfer devices between virtual accounts.
Only the Firepower 4100/9300 chassis registers as a device, while the ASA applications in the chassis request their own licenses. For example, for a Firepower 9300 chassis with 3 security modules, the chassis counts as one device, but the modules use 3 separate licenses.
The Firepower 4100/9300 chassis supports two types of evaluation license:
Chassis-level evaluation mode—Before the Firepower 4100/9300 chassis registers with the Licensing Authority, it operates for 90 days (total usage) in evaluation mode. The ASA cannot request specific entitlements in this mode; only default entitlements are enabled. When this period ends, the Firepower 4100/9300 chassis becomes out-of-compliance.
Entitlement-based evaluation mode—After the Firepower 4100/9300 chassis registers with the Licensing Authority, you can obtain time-based evaluation licenses that can be assigned to the ASA. In the ASA, you request entitlements as usual. When the time-based license expires, you need to either renew the time-based license or obtain a permanent license.
You cannot receive an evaluation license for Strong Encryption (3DES/AES); only permanent licenses support this entitlement.
Smart Software Manager Communication
This section describes how your device communicates with the Smart Software Manager.
Device Registration and Tokens
For each virtual account, you can create a registration token. This token is valid for 30 days by default. Enter this token ID plus entitlement levels when you deploy each chassis, or when you register an existing chassis. You can create a new token if an existing token is expired.
At startup after deployment, or after you manually configure these parameters on an existing chassis, the chassis registers with the Cisco License Authority. When the chassis registers with the token, the License Authority issues an ID certificate for communication between the chassis and the License Authority. This certificate is valid for 1 year, although it will be renewed every 6 months.
Periodic Communication with the License Authority
The device communicates with the License Authority every 30 days. If you make changes in the Smart Software Manager, you can refresh the authorization on the device so the change takes place immediately. Or you can wait for the device to communicate as scheduled.
You can optionally configure an HTTP proxy.
The Firepower 4100/9300 chassis must have internet access either directly or through an HTTP proxy at least every 90 days. Normal license communication occurs every 30 days, but with the grace period, your device will operate for up to 90 days without calling home. After the grace period, you must contact the Licensing Authority, or you will not be able to make configuration changes to features requiring special licenses; operation is otherwise unaffected.
The device can become out of compliance in the following situations:
Over-utilization—When the device uses unavailable licenses.
License expiration—When a time-based license expires.
Lack of communication—When the device cannot reach the Licensing Authority for re-authorization.
To verify whether your account is in, or approaching, an Out-of-Compliance state, you must compare the entitlements currently in use by your Firepower 4100/9300 chassis against those in your Smart Account.
In an out-of-compliance state, you will not be able to make configuration changes to features requiring special licenses, but operation is otherwise unaffected. For example, existing contexts over the Standard license limit can continue to run, and you can modify their configuration, but you will not be able to add a new context.
Smart Call Home Infrastructure
By default, a Smart Call Home profile exists in the FXOS configuration that specifies the URL for the Licensing Authority. You cannot remove this profile. Note that the only configurable option for the License profile is the destination address URL for the License Authority. Unless directed by Cisco TAC, you should not change the License Authority URL.