Meraki Visit

Cisco Meraki

Always great to drop in on the Meraki offices in Sydney. I was in Sydney recently and went on a little bit of a tour – the offices are pretty modern and with a definite Californian twist – lots of funky furniture and bright colours.

Meraki offers a pretty full feature set of products these days, so you’ve got the option of having a complete end-end management system in the cloud.

Meraki Access Points

Meraki is of course well known for its access point offerings.

In some ways there’s an overlap with the main Cisco product lines in the wireless space – the Meraki cloud-based APs are not too dissimilar in some ways to the Cisco Mobility Express (where an access point is the controller) and the newer Cisco 9800 series cloud controllers (which are a direct head on competitor to the Meraki product line).

How do you select the one which is right for you?

One angle is to determine the longer-term strategy for your organisation. Cisco DNA Center is a full featured management solution, ultimately designed to be able to control the network – and its going to do that best with Cisco equipment – 9200, 9300 and 9500 switches and the brand new 9800 series controllers.

Meraki though fits for customers who want a simple and (albeit less feature rich) easy to manage platform that integrates all the components in one place. The Meraki TAC is excellent from experience and for some customers ease of TAC access (and ease of TAC accessing the cloud controllers) is a real boon.

For customers who want access to the CLI for deep dive debugging or want access to all the bells and whistles (I’m thinking large hospitals here with requirements for patient monitoring, voice, location tracking and so on), the Cisco equipment is more likely the right choice.

Switches and Firewalls

Meraki also make switches and firewalls too – and they’re equally easy to configure. You can pre-configure the equipment in the cloud and direct ship the equipment to site. Once it arrives, plug it in and once it connects to the cloud, it can download its configuration.

Configuration like point-point VPNs can be complex to set up (although the ASA does have a wizard to help guide the process), but Meraki makes this very simple. Both ends are talking to the cloud, so can be managed and configured easily.

Cameras

And of course.. Meraki make a pretty good camera. The cameras are also cloud based and so once deployed can all be accessed easily remotely – they’ve got some pretty good features too, such as the ability to send auto alerts based on movement in a defined area and heatmaps to show you which areas have the most movement.

In Summary

The Meraki product set is evolving quickly – with the cloud management, there’s no need for an on-premise management system and the cost of ownership looks good when you consider that code upgrades are rolled out centrally by Meraki, which removes a considerable overhead. The integrated nature of all the Meraki product set into a single cloud based front end is definitely a major selling feature.

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