What license is required to use Cisco API?

Basically you don’t need license to access APIs on the network devices directly, because it’s on base license.

However, if you search “Cisco API” online, or when you follow Cisco Devnet contents, it is confusing because a lot of contents are made around ACI/APIC/DNA. And DNA subscription is mandatory for some devices(e.g. Catalyst9k) now, and it sometimes misleads the customer that DNA subscription is required to use any kind of APIs on Cisco boxes.

Cisco licenses/subscriptions are always difficult to understand, it is partly because they have broad ranges of products. So it is the best option to ask your partner if you have any license questions, but here is the illustration of licenses and subscription with regards to Catalyst 9300.

First, you need to choose either “Network Essentials” or “Network Advantage”, which defines the switch functionality. It is very similar to former ipbase(SMI) or ipservice(EMI).

  • If you choose Network Essential … DNA Essentials is automatically added
  • If you choose Network Advantage … DNA Premier is automatically added. You can change this to DNA Advantage.

As per the image, DNA subscription doesn’t change the functionality of the switch itself. Hence you can use APIs directly whichever license you chose.

If you don’t use DNA to talk with your devices, you can just purchase minimum subscription(3-year) and let it expire because it doesn’t affect the switch function itself. Just don’t forget review your contract not to renew this DNA subscription. For legacy devices –e.g. Cat3k, you still have option to opt-out DNA subscription.