Cisco has owned Meraki for a few years now. At first it seemed like this would not be a good fit for Cisco and many worried that Cisco would lose the simplicity of the product. I recently completed the Cisco Meraki CMNA training and was really impressed, not only with the class, but also with the simplicity of the Meraki product. While it is true Cisco hasn’t been known for its simplicity, with this product they have hit one out of the park.
The training session was hands down one of the best training sessions I have ever attended. Unlike the traditional tech class where the labs are step-by-step guides that really require little thought to finish, the labs here were very open and gave general directions about what you were to achieve, then let you go at it. There were brief PowerPoint overviews that introduced the information and provided some direction about where you were going to go in the lab, but they were very short and left the learning to you in the lab. Each task built on previous concepts, and didn’t rehash stuff you had already covered. This was a great way to test your knowledge as you went, forcing you to either remember or go look it up on the kb.meraki.com site, which in fact one of the labs required you to do.
One of the benefits of the class was we were all given a set of appliances that were licensed and ready for use. It took a few weeks to receive them following the class, but it was a good test of my ability to remember what I learned. Invited my brother over for a couple hours of tech fun and we geeked out setting up my new home network before even plugging a device in.
We were both impressed with how well Cisco delivered on the ability to preconfigure these devices from the cloud and have an entire network ready for devices to just be plugged in. Great way to handle remote offices, or other scenarios where technical resources are limited or non-existent. You can predefine an entire network, security and all, without ever having to touch the device.
The product is simplicity defined. Yes, you can get into the weeds and tweak settings until your heart is content, but you don’t have to to get a good working environment. To me, an all around great product for user networks. Plenty of flexibility to handle QoS, security, routing, and speed. Don’t think they would fit well in the enterprise datacenter, but that is not the target market either. I can see these as great devices for retail locations, guest wifi services, enterprise wifi, campus networking, etc. Impressive product and one to definitely check out if you haven’t had the chance.