I work for a Cisco Partner.
Collaboration Licensing is hard. I recently had to provide a BoM for a BE6000 Solution.
In one configuration, to get modern functionality (eg: Voice Mail and VoIP on Smartphones) i had to attach *four different SKUs* to each user in order to be correctly licensed, plus one service and one subscription. That’s 6 SKUs for each user.
If you want to save an inordinate amount of money, you have to know the deep end of the UCL licensing Model.
You will also need to be certain of what you’re gonna need and thus the SKUs will multiply because A users will need 3 SKUs but B users will need 1 then again C users will need 3 but not the same of A.
It feels like several people are watching the same blue print from different orientations and each adding a piece to it from their perspective and they’re expecting it to work properly. This is borderline split personality disorder.
To process a BE6000 Order, you need to read a 30 pages long Ordering Guide!.
There is also an “easier” licensing model, UWL. With it, you only need 1 SKU + 1 Service + 1 Subscription (still 3 SKUs.) The premium for the convenience of a simpler licensing model means a 2x increase in license cost over UCL Enhanced.
That is without considering that for most users, a cheaper UCL license would be enough.
That’s how much of a difference there is between the flexible model and the unified one.
Cisco Live 2014 is currently on in San Francisco and in an interview, an exec was talking about “Smart Licensing”, an expansion on the CallHome feature already present in a lot of Cisco Gear.
It will supposedly allow customers to (purchase and) activate licensing options directly from the devices, right at the moment when that feature is being configured for the first time.
This is not a solution. This will only open the door for even more atomization of feature licenses, hidden behind this supposedly automatic licensing scheme.
This means that each time an engineer needs something, he will have to trust the algorithm to pick the correct license and actually figuring out if they really need it will be even harder.
Once it’s automatic, what stops the vendor from just adding obscure SKUs after obscure SKUs? no customer will *really* need to know them because the system will acquire the license for them!
I don’t have a solution, but this is a big problem from my perspective