A Quick Introduction to the Cisco Meraki World

The Cisco Meraki range of products are really quite cool and changes the way you, as a sysadmin, think about network connectivity, management, troubleshooting and configuration in your organisation.

Meraki products are managed (almost) completely via Meraki’s Cloud Controller platform via the web. What this means is that 99% of the management can be done where-ever you have access to the internet; including the mobile app which in its current state, allows you to perform basic troubleshooting steps and analytics of the network.

That means you can be sitting at home whilst configuring your office network’s closet switches.

Any configuration changes made in the Meraki Cloud Controller (MCC) are immediately pushed down to the device via SSL as soon as the device has network connectivity. This means that you could even start configuring the devices as soon as you have ordered them, plug them in when they arrive and they will immediately fetch the config – in fact this is how I configured the access points I deployed at my organisation.

Also, an important note to make here – the Meraki range of products will continue to run on it’s existing config even if the product loses internet connectivity or is otherwise unable to contact the MCC.

The MCC interface is the heart of all config management, troubleshooting and network analytics. You can do a lot from this interface – from looking at Layer 7 application analytics per user to packet capture exports to scheduling over the air firmware updates. I definitely recommend looking at the training material as a lot of what I have said above is demonstrated graphically via webinars at the following URL:

https://meraki.cisco.com/webinars
In summary, I believe sysadmins need to watch this area for rapid development as I believe this type of management and deployment of network connectivity is only just the beginning of something very interesting.