Meraki – How networking should be done

Well – I had my first proper introduction to Meraki last month by doing their 1-day CMNA course and I have to say, I was very impressed.

Here’s a company that have taken edge networking (wireless and access switching) and security networking and made it easy.  Taken the complexity of the CLI out, made the UI intuitive enough and made the whole “crap, how do I do this” experience a thing of the past.  Sure, the kit and dashboard doesn’t have the bells, knobs and whistles as Cisco gear but sometimes there’s just no need for that.

Being able to attached a bit of the kit to the network and have it almost self-configure and become instantly visible in the dashboard is a far cry from having to find a console cable and manually configure management not only on the switch itself – IP address, syslog server, SNMP server/strings, local credentials, RADIUS or TACACS – but also on each of those monitoring systems as well.  Think of the time saved here when it’s all done, automatically, as if by magic..

Now, don’t let me deceive you here, there are actually some pretty neat and fairly complex things you can do around MDM profiles, client-specific profiles (with client-specific firewall and QoS) and site-to-site or client-based VPNs, but they are all made much easier.  Not to mention that EVERY device in the Meraki offering has Layer 7 capabilities (which is totally crazy!!) and makes good use of it.

Anyway – don’t take my word for it – try it out for yourself.

Oh, and before anyone asks just how expensive it is.. don’t forget, the license includes all the support you’ll need, hardware replacement, and you don’t have to license any additional or third party monitoring tools, so go factor that into your TCO before you dismiss it.