IntroductionDeploy ISE NodesSetup ISE Management AccessManage Users and End-User PortalsEnable and Configure ISE ServicesMonitoring and Troubleshooting ISEReference

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Book Title Identity Services Engine Administrator Guide, Release 1.3

Chapter Title ISE Licenses

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This chapter describes the licensing mechanism and schemes that are available for ISE and how to add and upgrade licenses. ISE Licenses ISE licensing provides the ability to manage the application features and access, such as the number of concurrent endpoints that can use ISE network resources.

To maximize economy for customers, licensing in ISE is supplied in different packages as Base, Plus, Apex, and Mobility Upgrade.

All ISE appliances are supplied with a 90-day Evaluation license. To continue to use ISE services after the 90-day Evaluation license expires, and to support more than 100 concurrent endpoints on the network, you must obtain and register Base licenses for the number of concurrent users on your system. If you require additional functionality, you will need Plus and/or Apex licences to enable that functionality.

Licenses are uploaded to the Primary PAN and propagated to the other ISE nodes in the cluster. Licenses are centrally managed by the PAN. If you have two PANs deployed in a high-availability pair, obtain a license based on the hardware IDs (UIDs) of both the Primary and Secondary PANs. After you obtain the license, add it only to the Primary PAN. The license gets replicated to the Secondary PAN.

After you install the ISE software and initially configure the appliance as the Primary PAN, you must obtain a license for ISE and then register that license. You register all licenses to the ISE Primary PAN via the Primary and Secondary PAN hardware UID. The Primary PAN then centrally manages all the licenses that are registered for your deployment. recommends installing both Base and Plus or Apex licenses at the same time.

Using a Plus or Apex license requires also using a Base license. However, you do not need a Plus license in order to have an Apex license or vice versa, since there is no overlap in their functionality.

When you install a Base or Mobility Upgrade license, ISE continues to use the default Evaluation license as a separate license for the remainder of its duration.

You cannot upgrade the Evaluation license to an Plus and/or Apex license without first installing the Base license. ISE allows you to use more Plus and/or Apex licenses on the system than Base licenses. For example, you can have 100 Base licenses and Plus licenses.

When you install a Mobility Upgrade license, ISE enables all Wired, Wireless, and VPN services.

Table 1. ISE License Packages

ISE License Packages

Perpetual/Subscription (Terms Available)

ISE Functionality Covered




Basic network access: AAA, IEEE-802.1X

Guest management

Link encryption (MACSec)


ISE Application Programming Interfaces


Subscription (1, 3, or 5 years)

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD).

Profiling and Feed Services

Endpoint Protection Service (EPS) pxGrid

MSE integration for location services

Does not include Base services; a Base license is required to install the Plus license.


Subscription (1, 3, or 5 years)

Third Party Mobile Device Management (MDM)

Posture Compliance

Does not include Base services; a Base license is required to install the Apex license.


Subscription (1, 3, or 5 years)

Combination of Base, Plus, and Apex for wireless and VPN endpoints

Cannot coexist on a PAN with Base, Plus, or Apex Licenses.

Mobility Upgrade

Subscription (1, 3, or 5 years)

Provides wired support to Mobility license

You can only install a Mobility Upgrade License on top of an existing Mobility license.


Temporary (90 days)

Full ISE functionality is provided for 100 endpoints.

All ISE appliances are supplied with an Evaluation license.

License Consumption

You purchase licenses for the number of concurrent users on the system . A ISE user consumes a license during an active session (always a Base; and a Plus and an Apex license, if you use the functionality covered by these licenses). Once the session ends, the license is released for reuse by other users.


Restriction ISE license architecture consumption logic relies on authorization policy constructs. ISE uses the dictionaries and attributes within authorization rules to determine the license to use.

The ISE license is counted as follows:

A Base license is consumed for every active session. The same endpoint also consumes Plus and Apex licenses depending on the features that it is using.

The endpoint consumes the Base license before it consumes a Plus and Apex license.

The endpoint consumes the Plus license before it consumes an Apex license.

One Plus license is consumed per endpoint for any assortment of the license”s features. Likewise, one Apex license is consumed per endpoint for any assortment of its features.

Licenses are counted against concurrent, active sessions.

Licenses are released for all features when the endpoint”s session ends.

One AnyConnect Apex user license is consumed by each user who uses AnyConnect regardless of the number of devices that the user owns and whether or not the user has an active connection to the network.

To avoid service disruption, ISE continues to provide services to endpoints that exceed license entitlement. ISE instead relies on RADIUS accounting functions to track concurrent endpoints on the network and generates an alarm when the endpoint count of the previous day exceeded the amount of licenses.

View License Consumption

You can view your system”s current license consumption from the Licensing dashboard at: Administration > System > Licensing. Consumption is portrayed as in the following image: Figure 1. Traditional License Consumption


The License Consumption graph, in the License Usage area, is updated every 30 minutes. This window also displays the type of licenses purchased, the total number of concurrent users permitted on the system, and the expiry date of subscription services.

If you want to see your system”s license consumption over multiple weeks, click Usage Over Time. Each bar in the graph shows the maximum number of licenses used during a period of one week.

Unregistered License Consumption


License consumption relies on the attributes used in the authorization policy with which the endpoint is matched.

Consider you only have a Base license registered on your system (you deleted the 90-day Evaluation license). You will be able to see and configure the corresponding Base menu items and features.

If you configure (mis-configure) an authorization policy to use a feature (for example: Session:PostureStatus) that requires an Apex license, and if an endpoint matches this authorization policy then:

The endpoint will consume an Apex license, despite the fact that an Apex license has not been registered on the system.

Notifications to this effect will appear whenever you log in. ISE displays notifications and alarms “Exceeded license usage than allowed” (technically, this is to be expected as there are no registered Apex licenses on the system, but an endpoint is consuming one).

Possible Causes

Due to authorization policy mis-configuration, the Licensing table can show that ISE is consuming a license you have not purchased and registered. Before you purchase Plus or an Apex license, the ISE GUI does not display the functionality covered by that license. However, once you have purchased a license, the user interface continues to display their functionality even after the license has expired or exceeded its endpoint consumption. Thus, you are able to configure them even if you do not have a valid license for them.


In the ISE GUI, click the Menu icon (


) and choose Policy > Authorization, identify the authorization rule that is using the feature(s) for which you do not have a registered license, and reconfigure that rule.

Manage License Files

This section explains how to register, re-host, renew, migrate, upgrade, and remove ISE licenses:

Register Licenses

Before you begin

Consult your partner/account team about the types of licenses and number of concurrent users you require for your installation, together with the various packages you can purchase to maximize economy.



From the ordering system ( Commerce Workspace – CCW) on”s website, order the required licenses.

After about an hour, an email confirmation containing the Product Authorization Key (PAK) is sent.


From the ISE Administration portal, choose AdministrationSystemLicensing. Make a note of the node information in the Licensing Details section: Product Identifier (PID), Version Identifier (VID), and Serial Number (SN).


Go to, and where prompted, enter the PAK of the license you received, the node information, and some details about your company.

The PAK number can be obtained from the sticker located on the software”s CD sleeve or on a License Claim Certificate that was physically mailed to you. Post license registration, the permanent license will be sent to your provided email address. Licenses are sent from licensing

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