If you are a Cisco DNA Center user looking to get your devices added to the system, you might be familiar with the Plug and Play functionality of the platform. If not, you can read up more on that here: https://blogs.cisco.com/developer/dna-center-pnp-day-0
Once your new device is booted up and talking to DNA Center, you will have some options on how to proceed including software version as well as configuration templates. There are two types of DNA Center templates you can use: Onboarding and Day-N templates. The two of these options are very different though and have very specific use cases.
DNA Center Onboarding Templates
Onboarding templates can include as much or as little as you want. People have different theories and preferences on how to use them and I’m sure you will too. Some people use them to deploy an entire device config while others deploy just the basics, such as a management IP, management credentials, and enough to start a new SSH management session. Regardless there is one thing to remember about basic onboarding templates: they are meant to only be ran once on a device.
DNA Center Day-N Templates
Whether you are making a basic Day-N template or a composite template, which I will discuss the differences between the two in a following post, you will be able to make changes to a Day-N template and re-deploy to a device later on as well should you need to make updates.
Here’s a good example of how this could be used. Let’s say I made a composite Day-N template including multiple pieces of configuration including TACACS, logging, SNMP, and QoS settings. Suddenly my company changes our system that we use to hold and archive syslog messages. I can make a single change to my Day-N template, re-deploy to applicable devices, and the change in the template can be pushed out to each device in a rapid manner. Sure beats logging into each device and manually making the change right? The key though and the main difference between onboarding and Day-N templates is this functionality and purpose of being a template that can be updated and re-deployed at a later time.
Be sure to keep both of these options for DNA Center templates in mind and how they should be used. Regardless of which you use, they will surely help save time with device deployment and configuration.