The Cisco Price List
If you didn’t know that Cisco publishes their Recommended Retail Price List on a monthly basis, then raise your hand ? Yep, thought so. Thats about 95% of the audience, the usual.
It’s one of the lesser known “reseller secrets” that anyone can get the latest Retail Price List on request. You can ask your Cisco Partner/Reseller, who would usually have it (and if they don’t, you should think about using another partner). Sometimes your Cisco Partner will refuse to give it you, stating that that it is confidential information, which it most certainly is not. Typically, I would then speak to my Cisco Account Manager who will then send it over. ((NO, I will not make it available for download, it doesn’t belong to me))
If you partner hasn’t heard about it (and you really don’t want to change reseller) then tell them to request it from the their wholesaler who will be able to get it for them.
What does the Price List look like ?
Its a spreadsheet that lists the part number, description and the retail price in US Dollars for every product that Cisco offers, including Smartnet (in all its myriad forms).
Making the most of this treasure
One of the most difficult parts of being a designer, is deciding which product or scenario is most useful to the requirements. For example, I need to install a WAN connection and I know that a Cisco 2811 would be enough, but how much would a Cisco 3825 cost and could I justify that knowing that I might need the IOS Zone Based Firewall in the future. Normally, I have to ask my reseller to give me a price on both models and the options in the IOS feature set.
Typically, this takes a few days while they prepare an official quote and work through the numbers before presenting you the information. More often that not, you need to get things changed and updated, again a wait for several days. And so the cycle goes until you get what you need.
And then the reseller wants to constantly bug you ((they call it ‘following up’)) to find out when you are going to purchase it. This means wasted time on the phone and email, you need to be nice enough to the person so that they will produce quotes in future but really you want them to bugger of and leave you alone.
So I have a better way to do this.
Cisco Dynamic Configuration Tool
The first step is to use the Cisco Dynamic Configuration Tool to prepare the list of part numbers required for the given solution. The Cisco Dynamic Configuration tool is a fundamental part of establishing each and every component that goes into the purchased product. For example, purchasing a Cisco 3845 router requires not only the hardware, but also the flash, memory, modules and other accessories to exactly come together. The only accurate way to do this is the use the tool provided by Cisco.
For a selected configuration, it will check and validate your configuration to make that all the modules can be installed (say, not installing too many NM’s, or the wrong type of ESW’s), and the the flash and memory has the capacity to run the IOS image that you have selected.
This detail in vital on building the correct part numbers.
Note: help is available within the tool and you should go there for a complete introduction. You do not need a Cisco CCO login to access the tool.
It is really important to use this tool because will collect together all the line items that Cisco wants you to buy. Because there are various business units within Cisco that may produce the overall product the line items can vary from zero cost to substantial sums. Selecting which IOS image to use is often a real problem and the Configuration Tool does all the checking of the versions, memory and flash. This tool is the same one that resellers use when quoting.
When you are finished with your configuration get the dynamic configuration to email you the parts list (shown below):
Product Description Quantity CISCO3845 3845 w/AC PWR,2GE,1SFP,4NME,4HWIC, IP Base, 64F/256D 1 S384AISK9-12420T Cisco 3845 ADVANCED IP SERVICES 1 MAX-28/38-FLASH-BN 64 to 256 MB CF Factory Upgrade and 256MB USB Flash Token for 2800/38001 NM-4T 4-Port Serial Network Module 1 NME-NAM-80S Cisco Branch Routers Series Network Analysis Module 1 NME-XD-48ES-2S-P EtherSwitch Service Mod 48 10/100T POE + 2SFP,Std Image(SMI)1 FL-WEBVPN-10-K9 Feature License IOS SSL VPN Up To 10 Users (Incremental) 1 CAB-SS-232MT RS-232 Cable, DTE Male to Smart Serial, 10 Feet 1
Using Excel to create your own Estimates
Since I can spend several hours working out prices and modelling different solutions, I need a better way to make my own estimates. I need something that I can quickly enter the part number and automatically creates an estimate.
If we have an entire spreadsheet with retail prices, we can use this to create our own pricing system.
- create a new sheet in the price list.
- create some headings that look something like this:
- Since I am buying in English Pounds I add a currency conversion. It’s an estimate but usually enough to give a rough idea
- Add a field for state / government taxes
- And a field for your estimated discount from retail price
- Enter a Cisco part number into the field
Now we need some Excel formulas to lookup from the price list. When I look at the spreadsheet that comes from Cisco, the pricing2/pricing3 tabs are only the Cisco maintenance prices therefore we don’t need to look them up. I delete these sheets. All of the prices for the actual equipment are in the first sheet.
The logic goes something like this: If there is something in Cell B12, then lookup the value in B12 the the area pricing1!C:F and return the second column value. This is the Description. This is very useful to make sure the product is actually what you want.
US Retail List Price
The logic is: If there is a part number in Cell B12, then lookup the value in B12 the the area pricing1!C:F and return the fourth column value, convert it to currency (REPLACE function) instead of text. If nothing in Cell B21 then just put a dash. This is the US Retail List price for the item.
Calculating Street Price
To make an estimate of what you would actually pay for it:
The logic is: If there is a part number in Cell B12, then lookup the value in B12 then multiply: the number of units you want to buy * the US List price * Currency Conversion * Discount applicable.
Working out your discount
Get any recent quote from your reseller / supplier and change the discount number until it is about the same quote. I would tend to keep on the more expensive side to give you a safety margin.
Recently I was trying to understand the difference in price between a 50 and 100 device license upgrade for Cisco Security Manager. So I put the part numbers in and got the following:
Now I rapidly make a decision whether to even bother getting a price for 100 Device License because it’s too expensive.
And the estimate on that Cisco3845:
You need to be cautious with this tool. Price lists can change significantly and the exchange rates can also change. I mostly use this tool to give me a rough idea of various solutions. For example, how much would Cat4500 cost compared to Cat6500 ? What about comparing a 5 context or a 10 context license for a ASA firewall in virtual mode ?
However, it makes my work much easier and hopefully it will be useful to you. Please feel free to leave comments and ask questions. I am hoping someone can suggest some enhancements!