Over the past few months I have been writing a series of blogs about the PnP process on Cisco DNA Center.

In the past, PnP was a standalone application within Cisco DNA Center, with a dedicated workflow for onboarding devices.  Now, in the most recent 1.2.8 release, PnP has been integrated into the main provisioning screen.  This blog documents this change.

In a following blog I will document the API changes.  For those using the current PnP workflow approach, the APIs are still available, but there is no UI for creating  PnP workflows.

Key Changes

The changes in PnP are illustrated below

The key changes are:

  • PnP application has been removed and PnP appears as a tab under “Provisioning”.
  • PnP Workflow is replaced by a network-profile which is assigned to a site
  • When a device in onboarded, it is added to a site.
  • Cisco DNAC credentials for SSH and SNMP are automatically applied to the device.  This simplifies the Day0 template.
  • Day0 Templates are defined in the Onboarding template folder and are assigned to a network-profile (which in turn is bound to a site)
  • Golden images (which can be assigned to a site, or globally) can be used to upgrade the operating system of the device. This step is optional.
  • Provisioned devices cannot be deleted from PnP tab. They need to be deleted from the inventory (you will get a warning to reflect this).

The rest of the blog will go through these steps in detail.

Step 1 – Create Day0 Template

The day0 template is configured using the template editor as before.  The two major changes are:

  • The day0 template needs to be in the “Onboarding Configuration” folder.
  • The template does not need to include device credentials or site specific settings, as these are added automatically as part of the provisioning process.

Here is an example of a very simple template. Make sure you both save AND commit the template.  The template below has two variables, $hostname and $loopback.


Step 2 – Create a Network Profile

The next step is to create a network profile.  This is a major part of the integration of the day0 process.  In the past, Day-N templates were assigned using network profiles.

“Design -> Network Profiles” and the click on “Add Profile”.  For this example I created a “Switching” profile.

Create new network profile

Next provide a name for the profile (I choose “BaseSwitching”),  the device type “Switches and Hubs” and choose the onboarding template defined in Step 1.

It is possible to define multiple Day0 templates as and the second tab allows selection of  Day-N templates.  Day-N templates are not applied during PnP, but during the provisioning process.

Assign Template to profile

Step 3 – Assign Sites to Network Profile

Once the Network Profile has been created, sites need to be assigned to it.  Click on the “Assign Site” link for the profile.

Assign Site to Network Profile

A list of sites will appear.  You can select as many sites as you like.  In this example I have selected the “Perth” hierarchy.  This includes all buildings and floors in the Perth location.

Step 4 – Add Device

Technically, this step is optional as a device can be “pre-provisioned” where a device is added prior to being connected, or “unclaimed” where the device contacts the controller as part of the PnP discovery process (and there is no matching PnP rule).  This is identical to earlier versions of Cisco DNA Center.

In this example, I am going to add a device, then claim it.   Go to “Provision -> Plug and Play”.  The select the “Add” button.

Add a new PnP device

Now provide a serial number, a productId and a device name.  In this example I am deliberately separating “Add” and the “Add + Claim”

The device will now appear as unclaimed in the Plug and Play list.

In the screen shot above, you can see the option to bulk upload devices and sync with a smart account.


Step 5 – Claim the Device

The final step is to claim the device.  This is similar to the earlier process,

First select the device added in Step 4.  Then click on “Actions -> Claim”.

Claim the device

Now select a site from the list.  In this example, I am selecting Global/Perth/PER1.  Click Next.

Next select the image and the template. In this example, I am skipping the image upgrade and there was only one Day0 template to choose (“basic”). Click Next.

NOTE:  You need to select the template below.  You will get a list to choose from (in this case a single template), but you still need to select it.  Other wise the configuration will be empty.

Select Template

As there are variables for the template, variables need to be provided.  First click under the “basic” template name and the name of the device.  Then the values for “hostname” and “loopback” can be provided.  Click Next.

Advanced Configuration

The summary page shows what will be configured on the device.  I have expanded the “Day-0 Configuration” and “Template CLI preview” panes.  This shows a base set of credentials and the Day0 template.

I need to select “claim” to continue

Claim Complete


The device moves into the “Planned” state.

Planned Device


Once the device has booted up, it will contact Cisco DNA Center and be provisioned and added to the inventory.  The state of the device is now “Provisioned”.

Provisioned Device

What Next?

Although it is possible to do a bulk upload of devices, and a bulk claim of devices, if you are using Day0 templates, you still need to step through the UI to provide variables for each device.  In the next blog I will show how to automate this via API, similar to the workflow approach.

In the meantime, if you would like to learn more about this, you could visit Cisco DevNet. DevNet has further explanations about this. Also, we have a Github repository where you can get examples related to PnP.

If you are going to be at Cisco Live Barcelona, make sure to drop into the DevNet Zone for lots of great sessions and workshops on Cisco DNA Center.  I will have a specific workshop on PnP.

Thanks for reading.


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Adam Radford

Distinguished System Engineer