Co-authored by Monisha Rajasekaran and Brian Loftus Jr.

Now that you’ve learned about the extensive features and capabilities available in our Cisco DNA Subscriptions for Switching, for Wireless, and for SD-WAN & Routing, you may be wondering, how do Cisco DNA Center and vManage play into this? You may have heard these terms but not know exactly what they are and why you need them with your subscriptions. Let’s clear this up today in this blog.

What is Cisco DNA Center?

Cisco DNA Center acts as a centralized network controller and command center for Cisco DNA infrastructure. Unlock features across automation, assurance, and security within the Cisco DNA software subscriptions of your Cisco switches, access points, and routers. Having centralized management means you can perform device upgrades and patches literally with a click, saving you time and ensuring consistency. You can perform detailed drilldowns of any network device or client, giving you full visibility and control. The Cisco DNA Center combines artificial intelligence and machine learning with more than 30 years of best practices to optimize your network performance and reduce troubleshooting time. Last but not least, your network will be able to react immediately to the latest security threats, and you will be able to segment your users and policy to ensure that the right people have access to the right things.

All this is great, but you may be wondering what costs are involved with obtaining the Cisco DNA controller appliance. We have some great offers and incentives to help eliminate that cost. If you purchase your subscriptions in a Cisco Enterprise Agreement, you receive a Cisco DNA appliance at no cost. That’s right – completely free.

What is vManage?

Much like DNA Center does for switching, wireless, and routing, Cisco vManage provides a similar centralized means to manage Cisco DNA Software Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) devices efficiently.

Cisco vManage is a mature, widely adopted cloud-based management dashboard that enables the orchestration and management of SD-WAN resources and provides the tools to centrally monitor network operations. Through the vManage console, network admins can quickly establish an SD-WAN overlay fabric to connect data centers, branches, campuses, and colocation facilities to improve network speed, security, and efficiency. Other key capabilities include:

  • Performing authentication, authorization, provisioning and upgrading of all elements deployed into the network
  • Providing information regarding component-to-component connectivity
  • A centralized policy engine to implement policies and connectivity (routing information, access control, segmentation, extranets and service chaining) between SD-WAN branches
  • Providing policy constructs to manage SD-WAN resources regardless of location
  • Providing visibility to network or application performance.

With its single, centralized approach, vManage simplifies SD-WAN management.

The Software Story

Cisco’s software story and vision is a controller-led, intent-based network that captures business intent and translates that into policies which can be automat­­ed and consistently applied across the network. The goal is for the network to continually monitor itself to assure desired business outcomes.


Here you see the whole picture of how our two controllers work with the software subscriptions to create an intent-based network.

Figure 1.1 Here you see the whole picture of how our two controllers work with the software subscriptions to create an intent-based network.­­­


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Monisha Alfaro

Product Marketing Manager

Enterprise Networking & Mobility