In this section, we begin a series of articles about Cisco Prime Infrastructure.
Cisco Prime Infrastructure is included in the section of Cisco Prime for IT, which in turn included in Cisco Prime suite. Cisco Prime suite is pretty extensive and besides Cisco Prime for IT also includes separate portfolios Cisco Prime for Service Providers and Cisco Prime for Cloud, and those, in turn, their own topics and products. So, for example, only Cisco Prime for IT includes the following products:
- Cisco Prime Infrastructure
- Cisco Prime Service Catalog
- Cisco Prime Network Analysis Module (NAM)
- Cisco Prime IP Express
- Cisco Prime Collaboration
- Cisco Prime Data Center Network Manager
Cisco Prime Infrastructure («PI» abbreviation is also using) is the most commonly used Network Management solution by Cisco Systems customers and it used for control of company’s IT infrastructure of the Enterprise sector. The major benefits of Cisco Prime Infrastructure are:
- useful interface and intuitive configuration
- visualization of different information (for example, Device 360 View)
- the possibility of customization of the interface profile (dashboards)
- simple and comfortable use
- support for a huge park of the Cisco Systems devices
Unfortunately, there are disadvantages, the system initially focused on Cisco Systems equipment and not a multi-vendor. Third party hardware support is available, but only if you have required MIB.
Cisco Prime Infrastructure has a modular structure, and depending on the set of modules can have varying functionality. Cisco Prime Infrastructure consists of the following software components (modules):
Lifecycle –the main module, helps network managers with daily tasks solution:
- infrastructure monitoring, also includes an opportunity of monitoring and diagnostic wireless infrastructure problems
- flexible configuration of filters and incidents
- in creating backups (software of network devices, configuration)
- software images administration
- statistics on work activities of the devices (uptime, state, incidents etc.)
- inventory of devices
- hardware configuration, include using of templates
- basic network audit
For today the most relevant version of Cisco Prime Infrastructure is 3.X version. The management interface is formed by dashboards necessary for administrator and immediately shows all the most important information for the administrator (available devices, alarms and incidents, loading etc.)
Assurance –the optional module:
- Service status dashboard provides an overview of the state of important applications;
- Support Cisco AVC 2.0 technologies, NetFlow, Flexible NetFlow, NBAR2, Performance Agent, Medianet
- Control and diagnosis of apps
- Configuration and monitoring of QoS on interfaces
- Support of NAM: traffic analysis, metrics about apps response, analysis of protocols
Plug and Play – the optional module, responsible for automatic configuration of equipment possibility without using of console access (using mechanism of Automated Deployment Gateway).
Improvements in Cisco Prime Infrastructure 3.x
Cisco Prime Infrastructure is available as hardware solution (appliance), or as virtual appliance (can be deployed as a virtual machine). The following are the resource requirements for Express, Express Plus, Standard and Pro (virtual machine) and for appliance (in table. EXP, EXP-Plus, STD, PRO и Gen2)
* ESXi 4.x not-support anymore.
And finally a little background, until 2011 year there was quite a well-known portfolio of solutions called “Cisco Works”, there were a large number of installations and at many customers it still up and running not looking that it is announced End of Life и End of Support long long time ago. Cisco Works was completely rebuilt and transformed into the Cisco Prime. Time by time Cisco Systems starts «trade in» program for old and outdated products, which allows customer to save good amount of money when purchasing new or upgraded SW and products. We do recommend all the customers who has such an old and outdated products, including “Cisco Works” to contact our sales representative regarding help in upgrade possibility, because “Cisco Works” products not only outdated, but it also got a lot of changes regarding functionality, supported products, user-friendly interface and so on when we talk about Cisco Prime.