Don’t Hate Meraki For Making Cisco Cool…

May 17th, 2016

Chris Minnis
Enterprise Architect

Not just any kind of cool, relevant cool! Only the geekiest of us get excited by networking products, right? OK, but Meraki isn’t the normal networking product. Sure, Meraki makes familiar devices like wireless access points, Ethernet switches, and security appliances.  However, Meraki boasts “cloud-managed networking infrastructure” for those products… but what does that even mean?

Well, it means deployment is fast and easy. Think of cloud-management as allowing your Meraki devices to continually subscribe to updates. Or, perhaps you’re familiar with “call-home” as a support feature, and this is similar. Your devices remain part of the Meraki community, in the same way Apple has you share analytics on your personal devices. This allows for faster reaction to problems in your network, as well as the customer community benefitting from the community’s experiences.

The way Meraki security devices deliver group and individual management is the best I’ve seen so far, and the Mobility Management is also top notch. Normally, a best of breed approach calls for multiple vendors. With Meraki and Cisco united, a strong argument can be made for best of breed and a single vendor.

All Meraki network endpoints are securely connected to the cloud, as well as a centralized, hosted management platform that can be accessed by whomever a customer defines, be it company administrators to vendors to partners. This not only makes administration and support easier, but it also delivers enhancements:

  • Reliability
    • Highly available Cisco/Meraki cloud with multiple datacenters
    • Network functions even if connection to cloud is interrupted
  • Scalability
    • Linear scale
      • Unlimited throughput
      • no bottlenecks
    • Add devices or sites in minutes
      • Killer for ROBO and potentially “Work from Home”
    • Security
      • No user traffic passes through the cloud
      • Fully HIPAA / PCI compliant (level 1 certified meeting DSS v3.1)
      • 3rd party security audits, daily penetration testing
        • Reliability and security information is available at cisco.com/trust
      • Community
        • Automatic firmware and security updates (customer-scheduled)
        • New features are pushed through firmware updates
          • This is guided by customer community feedback

This all adds up to a suite of products that are easy to deploy and manage. With Cisco’s purchase of Meraki in 2012, enough time has passed to evaluate the transition, and… SO FAR, SO GOOD. Meraki’s sense of community, along with its customers and products, is maintained as Cisco grows the size of that community.

Cool usually isn’t the best adjective for technology products when it comes to business IT. However, cool is right for Meraki. In this case, cool is surprising and innovative. If I were starting a business today, Meraki is easily the choice I’d make. Cisco made a great purchase, and hopefully the coolness will be contagious.

If Meraki and Cisco have piqued your interest, we at Mainline are poised to assist. If you’d like to discuss products further, with one of our Enterprise Architects, or to see a demo, give us a shout at your earliest convenience. We’re here to help.

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