Meraki and Cisco: Better Together

For a while now Cisco has had both the Meraki and Cisco product sets. While these both have a part to play in the market and in meeting customer requirements, the strategy from Cisco is really to combine these two technologies.

In this blog, we’ll take a look at how Cisco is combing the best from their Meraki and Cisco product sets.

Cisco Meraki Access Points

Meraki is no longer a separate product set, but the convergence allows customers an easy choice when entering the networking space.


The Cisco and Meraki Cloud Strategy

The strategy for Cisco is across the three distinct areas:

  • Security:
    • You have to trust the platform on which you operate, so Meraki has security built in.
    • The ease of cloud management though is also a great factor in deploying Meraki MX security appliances – they’re cloud managed an easy to manage.
    • Meraki MX appliances are more than a just a firewall though – they also support SD-WAN
  • Cloud:
    • Everyone uses the cloud and cloud-based applications are key to many businesses
  • Observability:
    • Observability is like a lasagne! There are many layers to observability, and these are natively supported on the MX appliance SD-WAN


How Does Meraki Configure Itself?

Meraki Manage Service Meraki equipment needs to configure itself.

Once you’ve configured the equipment in the cloud, how does the config actually get onto the device itself?

Once you plug your Meraki equipment into your network and it can get an IP address and connect to the internet, it sets up a secure telemetry tunnel – over this tunnel, the device configuration is sent to the device and it is now configured.



Cisco to Meraki Crossover

D3 Meraki Access The Cisco 9300 can now be configured via the Meraki cloud.

This crossover ability is a really interesting first step in bringing the Meraki and Cisco portfolios together.

The ordering is slightly different – you’ll be ordering a 9300M (the M designation indicates when you switch this 9300 on, it will connect directly to the Meraki dashboard).

The choice is yours then – if you want to use the standard 9300 and connect to DNAC for the management or the 9300M and connect to the Meraki dashboard for your management, this will be your choice.

The crossover extends to wireless too.

The designation of the “CW” AP in the Cisco product set is the “Converged Wireless”. As with the switching these come in two flavours – the Cisco and Meraki options of course. If you decide to switch, after you have bought – you can move between Cisco and Meraki for the management.


Meraki and Cisco: Better Together: Summary

Cisco Meraki VPNIn this blog, we’ve explored how Cisco are looking to build the Meraki and Cisco eco-systems closer together.

The integration of the three core pillars of Security, Cloud and Observability surrounds the wider strategy of bringing the two brands closer.

The real headline from this blog is that the Meraki and Cisco hardware lines are merging – the Catalyst 9300 and the new access points share the same hardware – only the management of the hardware is separated – this means that you can continue to manage your network in your preferred way – and take advantage of the new hardware across both the Meraki and Cisco management platforms.

Cisco are clearly able to blend the best of both worlds from Cisco and Meraki – so it's got to be a good thing for end customers using the equipment.


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