Rant: It’s a Yes / No Question & Cisco IOS Software Licensing hell begins here

I was looking into the stacking and licensing of Cisco 3750-E switches today looking for the answer to a simple question. Do all switches in a Cisco stack need to have purchased the IP Services license ?

We have an existing stack with a C3750 and C3750-E. The C3750 has Enterprise code, and the C3750-E has IP Services license. I need to add another C3750-E but it doesn’t have the IP Services license. So, do I need to buy the license so that it will work ? (Yeah, I’ve got that sinking feeling about now)

So I do a bit of googling and find this :

Cisco Catalyst 3750-E Series Switches: Questions and Answers – Cisco Systems:

“Q. In a stack of Cisco Catalyst 3750-E switches, must the same type of feature set be used on each switch? A. StackWise Plus combines powerful failover capabilities with unified software management. By using the same type of feature set on each switch in a stack, failover and software management features work as designed: simply and transparently.” tweet


Which marketing dweeb wrote this crud ? Can’t you just answer the question ? It was clearly a YES or NO answer. I don’t need an advertisement in an answer for a technical question. Just “YES it does” or “NO it doesn’t”.

And I shouldn’t have to contact Technical Support for the answer to a straightforward question. And because our reseller who provides our Cisco maintenance is such a bunch of goonheads there is no way we can ask them for an answer (they’ll just ask me to reboot the switch or upgrade to the latest version – again). This is far to complex for them to understand.


Does anyone know the answer ? Please leave a comment or get in contact via contact page PLEASE.

Licensing Hell

And so the licensing hell begins. How many licenses ? Which ones ? How do I retrieve licenses ? And transfer them.

I’m just whining cause I’m used to the old way, but the cost of ownership on Cisco gear has increased by quite a bit on already expensive equipment.

About Greg Ferro

Greg Ferro is a Network Engineer/Architect, mostly focussed on Data Centre, Security Infrastructure, and recently Virtualization. He has over 20 years in IT, in wide range of employers working as a freelance consultant including Finance, Service Providers and Online Companies. He is CCIE#6920 and has a few ideas about the world, but not enough to really count.

He is a host on the Packet Pushers Podcast, blogger at EtherealMind.com and on Twitter @etherealmind and Google Plus

You can contact Greg via the site contact page.

  • BenG

    First off, you need a better partner if they can’t answer a question like that.

    And two, yes you can do that. You’ll want to ensure that at least two switches in the stack are licensed for IP Services and have a stack priority higher than the IP Base switches.

    • D’Wayde

      You’ll also want to ensure that they have the same IOS, you can download the Universal IOS from Cisco.com

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