Monday, March 26, 2012

WCS to NCS Migration

I did a quick google search to see if there was a quick run down on the steps you need to know about to do a WCS to NCS migration, and sure enough - the first google result was from my pal Samuel Clements. Sam outlines the features of NCS and the gotchas surrounding the NCS installer being a self-contained small, medium or large OVF file. Instead of installing NCS on a Windows or Redhat server, the VM is imported into an existing VM infrastructure.

If you choose the wrong selection from small, medium and large - there isn't a way to change it after the install without re-licensing the server and incurring an upgrade licensing fee in the process.

Sam has done a great job of listing the tasks that are necessary, so the only other thing I'll include here is a link to the Managing an Enterprise WLAN with Wireless Control System slide deck from CiscoLive 2011.

Key Enhancements with NCS:

15,000 Lightweight APs
5,000 Autonomous APs
5,000 Switches

WCS Supports up to:
3,000 Lightweight APs
1,250 Autonomous APs
zero switches

Cisco has also started to create quick learning modules for NCS. They can be found here.

For the sake of brevity, (and being able to find them again) I created the bitly link to point to that URL. Previously, I did the same thing for the WCS quick learning modules: That shortened link has come in handy several times when I'm not able to dig up the long url from an email I've sent.


  1. Jen, thanks for the plug! Just to clarify, if you have to decommission and redeploy a newer, larger sized NCS server, you don't have to pay for new licensing, but it does count against your 'relicense' capabilities of your product. Also, it's a pain in the rear.

  2. Thanks for the links to the online learning modules. These will come in handy to direct customers to in order to familiarize themselves with the platform.

  3. unfortunately the licensing process on their web page is horrible. I've done it twice and just put in an e-mail to the licensing team.

  4. WCS to NCS Migration:
    Step 1: Obtain the XML File from Your Existing WCS Deployment
    Step 2: Upload the Contents of the XML File to the Migration Webpage
    Step 3: Apply the New License to Cisco Prime NCS

  5. General Comments
    This is a general overview of the steps needed to upgrade. Detailed steps can be found at:
    WCS to NCS Upgrade Procedure
    1. WCS pre upgrade checklist
    1. Make sure all controllers’ configurations are "Identical" between WCS and the WLC's. This can be done via the Audit drop down on the Configure>Controller page.
    2. Also make sure the WCS is at least version
    2. To export the licenses from WCS to NCS do the following:
    1. In WCS go to Administration>License Center
    2. On the left hand side select Files, then WCS Files
    3. Select All files then Export. This will create an XML file that you will need later.
    3. To export the data from WCS do the following:
    1. RDP to WCS OS.
    2. Stop WCS services
    3. Via command line navigate to WCS program bin files folder, should look something like: cd c:\Program Files\WCS7.0.230.0\bin
    4. From there run the following command: export.bat all c:/
    5. The command prompt will let you know if it's successful or not. Mine failed the first time. I just re-ran it a second time and it was successful.
    6. Move the zip file to the FTP folder on the WCS. Usually c:\FTP or something similar.
    4. Go to to register the Migration PAK as well as convert the XML file you obtained earlier into a valid NCS license.
    1. Make sure you are using the Product ID and serial number to register and NOT the VUID!!!!!!
    2. Any issues email They will need the following:
    1. PAK
    2. WCS hostname
    3. NCS Product ID
    4. NCS Serial Number
    5. Import data from WCS to NCS
    1. SSH to NCS server. Username should be admin and not root.
    2. Use the following commands to import the WCS zip file
    1. ncs-appliance/admin#ncs stop
    2. ncs-appliance/admin#configure
    3. ncs-appliance/admin(config)#repository wcs-ftp-repo
    4. ncs-appliance/admin(config-Repository)#url ftp://x.x.x.x//
    5. ncs-appliance/admin(config-Repository)#user ftp-user password plain ftp-password
    1. If you are using the WCS FTP server, the username is ftp-user and the password should be the same as the root password you use to log in.
    6. Verify that NCS can see the zip file
    1. ncs-appliance/admin# show repository wcs-ftp-repo
    2. It should list:
    7. ncs-appliance/admin# ncs migrate wcs-data repository wcs-ftp-repo
    1. This step may take 25 minutes to an hour to complete
    2. After its finish start the NCS server up with the next command
    8. ncs-appliance/admin#ncs start
    6. After the NCS server started, I did another audit on the WLC's to make sure that SNMP between the new server and the controllers was working.
    Additional Notes:

    The following guide notes: "NCS supports data migration from WCS releases and If you do not have this release of WCS, you must upgrade to either WCS7.0.164.3 or first and then follow the migration steps."

    I performed the upgrade from WCS to NCS with no issues.

  6. Jeremy - Thanks for making the upgrade steps so dead simple to follow! This is great information.

  7. I have done this a couple of times. In both cases the web page where you paste the XML output from WCS doesn´t work and created a .lic file for me.

    I first migrated WCS 7 to NCS 1.0 that worked smoothly with the migration option using the .zip file that is backed up from the WCS server.

    The second time I was with a customer who already upgraded to clean 1.2 Prime NCS and the migration commands aren´t there so it doesn´t seem to be supported. Has any one had this issue ?