Cisco Prime vs Cisco DNA Center

Rashmi Bhardwaj | Blog,Hardware, Infrastructure & Design

Cisco networking company had a large bundle / suite of products to address any networking requirements for an organization. Starting from product bundles which aid in network management, operational efficiency enhancements, reduction in errors, delivery of network services, management and control platform for enterprise-wide networks, security etc.  

Today we look more in detail about two important product solutions from Cisco namely Cisco Prime and Cisco DNA center, understand the difference between them, purpose for which they are deployed and use cases etc.

Cisco Prime Infrastructure    

This product offers a traditional way of managing enterprise networks. Cisco Prime infrastructure discovers all network devices in a network first. After that a network topology map gets created with all network devices available in the network. Now this view helps network engineers to manage, configure, operate these devices over this network management application. 


Cisco Prime is a complete wired and wireless lifecycle management solution. 

P.S.- Cisco Prime is End-of-sale and End-of-life 

Features of Cisco Prime Infrastructure  

  • Single and unified platform for provisioning of network services
  • Scalable management and service assurance across enterprise networks
  • Scale up network management capabilities

Cisco DNA Center

Cisco DNA is a complete management and control solution for networks. It has integrated tools for network management, automation, virtualization, analytics, assurance, security, and Internet of things (IoT) connectivity. 

Cisco DNA also discovers network devices and creates a map of network topology. Cisco DNA also works with Cisco Prime and instead of doing device discovery again it uses the network devices which are already discovered by Cisco Prime.

Cisco DNA is the first intent based networking solution , Cisco software defined access (SD-Access), which is built on Cisco Digital network architecture (DNA). 

Features of Cisco DNA 

  • Behaviour metrics capture how people and assets behave inside your property 
  • Cisco DNA uses Artificial intelligence and Machine learning for intuitive network management

Cisco Prime vs Cisco DNA Centre


Cisco Prime Infrastructure

Cisco DNA Centre

  • Cisco Prime pushes configuration to devices using a template and configuration groups. Template language is velocity
  • Config templates are customer provided and CLI pushed via management console
  • Day 0 and day N update via multiple CLI template or composite templates


  • Cisco DNA performs service-based network provisioning via profiles and policy abstraction. It can also use template-based provisioning and language used in template is velocity (VTL) or Jinja
  • Uses abstract services normalized across device types and pushes cisco CVD best practices
  • Day 0 is pushed via PNP profile with settings and at site / regional profiles
Failure recoveryManual failure recovery via another CLI templateCisco DNA has rollback capability to recover from failure
Image upgrade
  • Separate workflow for wired and wireless devices
  • No such thing as image standardization
  • Limited set of predefined prechecks no customization
  • No support for software image patches
  • Manual compliances of images done by creating scripts
  • Common workflow across devices
  • Based on network device role, type and location standardization by software
  • Pre and Post check validations
  • Patching capability to achieve reduction in downtime during software upgrades
  • Automatic compliance and integrity checks for images
  • Data import is pull based
  • CPU overhead due to data crawls
  • No optimization for large volumes of data
  • No feature for false alarms and real time notifications
  • Too many black holes in min polling
  • Data export is push based
  • CPU overhead is less comparatively
  • Optimized for data exports
  • Notifications are generated after change
  • Reduction in delay in management data
  • There is no correlation feature
  • Visibility is fragmented
  • Top/Bottom N tracking
  • My report vs your report
  • Visibility with correlation
  • Visibility is end to end
  • SLA tracking feature
  • Analytics dashboards are available
  • Information is in raw form require expert analysis
  • Alarm generation at every event
  • Multiple alarms for same root cause
  • Alarm resolution no guidance available
  • Lack of correlation with affected users
  • Detailed information about the issue
  • False +ve alarms are suppressed
  • Insight into root cause with correlation
  • Expert knowledge with suggested solutions
  • Clarity on affected users and locations
Download the Comparison Table: Cisco Prime vs Cisco DNA Centre

Continue Reading:

Cisco ACI vs Cisco DNA: Understanding the difference

Cisco DNA Center: CIMC Controller and Maglev


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