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Meraki Alternatives for the midsize enterprise

Apologies for sounding like an idiot, im a sysadmin not a networking guy so please be kind.

Im looking for some alternatives to Meraki for midsize enterprise, we are looking at replacing all of our switching, firewalls, and access points and ideally want a cloud based SD solution. After reading several lengthy posts the general consensus seems to be that Meraki is great for the SMB market but doesnt scale. Does anyone know of anything that fits the bill for midsize enterprise? We looked at Riverbed but i cant say im that taken with it.

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great for the SMB market but doesnt scale

What do you mean by scale? You need to define your needs before you can begin looking at your solution.
Scale = 100 users? 1000 users? 50.000 users? Applications? Servers? Storage? Bandwidth? Encryption? Number of sites? etc,etc,etc...

OP, I have definitely read accounts from executives of ginormous enterprises that used Meraki to push through new projects in record time and score big political points/bonuses. And I read those right here on reddit when renewal time came up and they were upset at how their Meraki rep was handling things poorly.

The solution scales out, for sure. There are still some limitations (e.g. when I administered a network a couple of years ago, I could only configure ~4000 ports at a time via the Dashboard), but it's not like this is some homebrew solution.

Can you cite examples of how it doesn't scale? Because that's been almost the opposite of my experience and is one of Meraki's truly great strengths. Your claim is, frankly, boggling.

I work at a place with ~400 employees. I've worked at places with nearly 30K users. We didn't deploy Meraki there, but we could have, and it would have simplified our lives quite a bit.

My coworkers weren't fans. They didn't "trust" Cisco and Meraki. Of course, we also had spanning tree loops about twice a year, so...

we also had spanning tree loops about twice a year, so...

Ahhhh! That sounds like my nonprofit days, sad times.

Yeah. A lot of it was self caused. Not using spanning tree on a lot of vlans and intermixing all kinds of juniper/cisco stuff in the back bone, along with not having any kind of bpdu guard on.

Good god. We just had a bunch of unmanaged switches and a CIO who couldn't understand why problems were so hard to isolate, you couldn't make it up.

How hard can it be right? ;) I have a branch that has tried to installed some unmanaged switches in, and balked at the price of a 2960 series Cisco switch. I explained to the dude that's "in charge" of the IT stuff that we don't charge back for my work on their systems, that they ride on our backbone/firewall and they are getting quite a bit of a value not having to pay someone 200 dollars an hour to do all the crap I do.

They have 2 networks that are parallel even.. one for us/data, and one for VOIP, because they leased the voip system from a local company and dind't want to deal with us. This was before I came along. When I found that one out I almost lost my mind.

I often wonder how these places survive.

I've been here a year and a half and am finally getting on top of the mess. I created a vlan in my first month via vtp. Completely routine. Had a bunch of switches stop passing traffic in other vlans. Uptime on the switches was 5 years... So I rebooted em after an hour of troubleshooting. Also, these were mission critical.

I'm back in a Cisco shop and it's wonderful.

Your claim is, frankly, boggling.

That's because people think the click and play nature of Cisco Meraki will put them out of a job.

Not so. I worked for an ISP in Canada that sold Cisco Meraki services to businesses. The product worked great, but there was always issues when you converged the network and tried to integrate the Meraki service with the customer's existing infrastructure.

The problems we dealt with weren't easy. That said, the Cisco Meraki platform is rock solid.

I think it comes down to use case as well. 1000 sites with an MX84 and 2 MS320s(maybe 350s? been a while) with 5-6 MR42 APs is perfectly fine with Meraki. I am not a fan of them in large campus environments. I think the high end switching hardware is absolute shit and their support sucks even more.

I worked at a campus with 1000 users that went full Meraki and I spent more time dealing with bad/broken GUI issues or resetting devices to hope they magically started working than it would have taken to actually run the place with traditional gear.

When it works it works fine but the support side is simply not good enough IMO for a large campus. Nevermind the fact that you still need something else entirely inside your DC so you still need someone who knows what they are doing.

resetting devices to hope they magically started working

I'm in a meraki environment and this was the hardest thing to get used to. Making changes to devices too quickly seems to just lock them up and you have to factory reset it so it'll re-download it's config from Meraki.

I have to disagree with the support. I've had people from Meraki do everything and anything related to Meraki and take as much time as needed.

The Meraki solution to scaling/capacity is to throw more APs at the wall with no consideration to airtime pollution.

That's fair, though I don't know that I would describe that as a scaling problem; it's more a density issue specific to the AP line. And, to some degree, it can be worked around by manually cranking down the power.

it can be worked around by manually cranking down the power.

Micromanagement of a networking problem is not a scalable solution in a huge wireless deployment.

Original Poster1 point · 6 months ago

Ill try and fill in the blanks.

Users - 1000-1250

Data Center - 2 x All sites connect back to these. HA requirement. Central VMWare cluster. Windows Server environment. iSCSI Storage. 4 x 1Gb Connections.

Primary Sites: 10 x Sites requiring HA, small VMWare cluster in each. Windows Servers. Up to 250 users per site. Majority of services are 'cloud' based, ERP etc. 1 x 100Mb (Primary) 1 x EFM 12Mb (Fail over) connection per site.

Secondary Sites: 15 x No HA Requirement. No local Servers (up to 10 staff, 20 devices) VDSL (up to 80Mb) & EFM up to 12Mb

Minor Sites: 85 x No HA Requirement. No local Servers (up to 5 staff, 15 devices) VDSL (up to 80Mb) & EFM up to 12Mb

Hope that helps.

This is important to figure out to recommend anything because I feel "enterprise" is ambiguous.

I've seen multiple school districts that use Meraki. What kind of scale do you think Meraki can't handle? K-12 is punishing in some ways.

I've seen large districts with it - I'd guess maybe 8 buildings of 200-750 devices and meraki APs. Seems to work pretty decent for them

I worked for a large district. 55 buildings. 30,000 clients. AP in every classroom. I think we had close to 3000 APs? Hard to recall. But yes they worked very well.

With 55 sites I can definitely see meraki being a success as you don't need people who are good with technology at each location

When I was in oil and gas we implemented Meraki on our supercenter bases and satellite sites where there is no physical IT presence. Used Stackable MS350s switches, MR32 for offices and MR72 for shops and warehouses for wireless Access Points. We did some traditional Cisco and Meraki hybrid is some sites as well. Now working for school district with all Meraki FW, SW and WAP where we have very small IT team.

-18 points · 6 months ago(11 children)
Certificate revoker
8 points · 6 months ago

Care to point out what's so bad about this completely valid solution?

Yeah, they share CDP information and stuff. Stuff works together way better than Juniper/Meraki.

Certificate revoker
2 points · 6 months ago

they share CDP information

Was floored when I stumbled on that during some troubleshooting.

Yeah.. I'm dipping my toe in Meraki right now. Stuff has been pretty good. I'm a cisco guy but I'm the only network admin. I have international sites that don't have IT people on site so having them literally just plug these things in is great.

Certificate revoker
3 points · 6 months ago

I'm a systems guy but was lucky to work hand in hand with the network admin previously, but my recent company change has me dealing primarily with systems.

I've got some Aruba, Extreme, and the requisite Meraki free trio at home that I've gotten to play with.

That's awesome. I'm trying to get other peoples hands on the keyboards for a lot of our network stuff. It seems like a lot of network guys are real gatekeepers and don't want to share info. I'm way too busy with firewall/core/routing/sdwan/everything else to worry about people being able to copy and paste some lines into a switch config.

Certificate revoker
1 point · 6 months ago

Yeah, that's what I miss most about my last org - they really empowered the staff to cross train and work outside their function.

I've seen systems and network people do the staunch gatekeeping as well. There's a time and a place for that but it's hard to argue for it 100% of the time if the person wants to learn!

I worked with a dude that spent half his day manually copying entries in a dhcp.conf file to 2 other servers multiple times a day. Probably more like 2 hours a day total time, but wow, what a stupid process. Another coworker went around him and scripted it, and the dude got mad. He was like, "now what am I going to do?" Uh... your job?

I have seen the dudes that always progress have nothing to gatekeep because they are either highly skilled or just keep up with learning new things. The other guys that slack off seem to just hide behind the curtain.

Yes, was in same situation with our Latin American sites, so we implemented Meraki there as they had no Network admins only service desk team. It helped with visibility and manageability. We could run packet captures to troubleshoot some issues and etc...

Switchstack bug attracter
0 points · 6 months ago · edited 6 months ago

Mission critical infrastructure especially business infrastructure shouldn't be cloud connected at all. Air gapping is the only sound way to keep things rolling. But then again my area of design is military not civilian, soooo...yeah. I get the central and accessible IT options I've played with their AP and getting going is nice for sure, but licensing schedules for purchased hardware? Gtfoh

Certificate revoker
1 point · 6 months ago

I can see what your saying. And I agree, in certain applications and industries/businesses/fields/goals, your standpoint is the only way to go, no if's and's or but's about it.

With that said, that's not the case for every business. Budgets, goals, and use cases vary widely across orgs. There's no one size fits all solution. I'm of the opinion that in this case of remote branches, no on-site IT (sounds like manufacturing so I'm making an assumption that there's no overly strict regulations), cloud based provides more benefits to the business than a hardened and air-gapped solution.

I could go on about how cloud, IAAS, SAAS, PAAS, AnythingAAS is "THE WAY OF THE FUTURE" but I don't think that's true in every case (and marketing already does a great job at shoving that down everyone's throats anyway).

Cisco Armed Deputy
5 points · 6 months ago

What do you mean by scale? There are Meraki deployments that cover thousands of locations. I'm currently deploying Meraki MX devices to about 100 of our branch offices.

With all of that said you need to state your use case. Get some demo gear from your Meraki account team and build exactly what you want. Meraki solves a very defined use case very well. Straying to far from their use case will make things difficult.

Just be aware the are some caveats to look out for when using templates. I was able to build exactly what I needed from scratch, but templatizing that config was a no go.

CCNP, CCDP, CCNP Wireless
6 points · 6 months ago

IHG, the hotel group is ALL meraki. Anyone who says that Meraki can't scale doesnt know what they are talking about. They may have a feature missing that you need, but scalability is not the issue.

Meraki is great if you have no physical presence in a company. I used to run a global mid size enterprise of 600 employees with just my 2 person IT team. Most everything was cloud based, so once computer imaging was set up, everything pretty much flowed nicely. Meraki made it easy to just drop one in a branch office, with a few AP's and as soon as they are connected to any form of internet, which was usually included as an LTE usb dongle for failover, we could configure and tell someone on the other side, OK plug this into port 1, plug this into port 2, etc. They aren't overly powerful for the price you pay, but the cloud control features are second to none.

I asked this not too long ago, and the answers were fairly similar. There's just no real true competitors to Meraki in the 'simple cloud managed space', from a certain perspective.

It comes down to your definition of 'enterprise' and your requirements. I think Meraki can scale 'up' reasonably well (adding more units), but they don't really scale out much from a feature-set standpoint. If Meraki doesn't support X or Y feature, that's pretty much it. You either fit into their feature set or not, period.

There's still lots of firewalls out there with reasonably simple interfaces and central-ish management though (Palo Alto, Sophos, Fortinet). Also depends if you're wanting SD-wan type stuff.

Switching -- lots of decent options, depending on how complicated your L2 is.

Wireless - lots of options. This is actually where I like ubiquiti. Good solid central management/controller, and will generally work great if you don't have fringe wireless features.

Aruba, Extreme, Aerohive, Ruckus (Arris) all have cloud managed products including switching, some light routing, and AP's.

We have just gone through a LAN replacement, inc firewalls, switches and WAPs. After a long consultation process (we are a public funded body) We opted for HP comware switching, Aruba WAP's and Watchguard firewall. HP Comware switching has many technical advantages (IRF) but the big reason is that you get all features with the purchase price, no added licenses (as per cisco) and lifetime limited warranty on the hardware. Aruba WAPs have both controller and cloud solutions dependent on circumstance and numbers deployed. They are now owned by HP and have been integrated into their platform. Watchguard because our management liked all the fancy reports

Price was very competitive. We are a 80 site, 7500 user organisation.

Wait, did you purchase the comware (3Com) line of switches? Or the provision line of switches that aruba took over? Big difference. I believe it is only the later with the lifetime warranty, and integration with aruba wifi. I'm happy to be wrong though.

I have been running HP/Aruba provision switch gear and fortigates for years, and love the combo.

5 points · 6 months ago

HP Procurve was the original name of the stuff that's now Aruba badged from HP. Good stuff, have used them in several of my recent jobs. I'd buy them over Cisco, and have. Cheaper and nicer to work with both.

How’s the support? That’s the one thing that always impresses me with Cisco. Sometimes you get a dud but often it’s really nice and great to work with.

I've had to deal with HP support a couple of times now, most of the times they are pretty knowledgeable and can help you with your issues.

I've been really researching these HP/Aruba switches as of late. I have a bunch of Dell switches that need replacing.

Are you using the management server with the WatchGuards? Is that still a thing? That info would benefit OP. There's a lot of hate on this sub for WatchGuard but I found them pretty good back in the day.

CCNA
3 points · 6 months ago

Like everyone already said. Meraki scales all the way up.

[deleted]
6 points · 6 months ago

If by scale you mean your needs are complex, then a cloud based solution will probably not work. That being said, Aerohive makes great cloud-controlled AP's. I think Aruba has a cloud-based wireless system now as well.

For firewalls/switching you may run into more trouble. I honestly recommend non-cloud enabled systems for security/routing/switching. They cannot do a lot of stuff, and they are pricey.

Both are great and have a similar feature set. I went with Aruba since they got their AC standard WiFi out first. And I desperately needed it for the job

Got rid of expensive Meraki AP and moved to cheap Unifi for 5 clients-companies and continuing. Different offices from 20 to 200 users (from 2 to 20 APs), model AP PRO. The controller is a free Ubuntu VM. Highly recommended.

Check out Aerohive and their NG product. It’s an AP cloud based solution. We use them in K-12 district wide. We have about 300 AP 250s. Easy to manage and setup. Depending on your needs you can go with AP 230’s. If you attend one of their product trainings you get an AP to keep.

We are Meraki for AP's, Brocade/Ruckus for switching, and Fortinet for firewalls, a bit of a mix i know, but it has worked well for us. We have 120+ sites that we support centrally but run a pretty lean networking staff, and the meraki dashboard is really hard to beat for ease of use and support. Our helpdesk staff loves in when troubleshooting issues.

When pushed a bit, meraki can get very competitive, at least on the access points.

When we looked at pricing and options on switching and firewalling they were not as good as a fit, so we went in a different direction.

As far as meraki scaling, we have over 4000 access points with them and things work well, so at least on that front scaling is no issue.

esteemed fruit-loop
2 points · 6 months ago

Look at all these questions with no really important information...

What are you trying to accomplish?

Aruba's Instant architecture can work in the SMB market.

https://community.arubanetworks.com/t5/Technology-Blog/Boost-SMB-Productivity-with-Office-365-and-Aruba-Instant/ba-p/267041 http://www.arubanetworks.com/solutions/smb/

Access Points: Instant APs is the type of AP that I would recommend you look into. These APs do not require a controller and the only licensing that will be needed is the subscription to the Aruba Central (cloud management). These APs will create a small cluster at your branch locations with an elected master. If that master were to go down, then another AP would take its place. That cluster would then connect back up to Aruba Central for Cloud Configuration, Monitoring & Reporting, and a couple of other features. http://community.arubanetworks.com/t5/Controller-less-WLANs/How-to-understand-the-Aruba-Instant-Architecture/ta-p/182882

Switches: It all depends on what you want out of these switches. If you are looking for basic layer2 with a gig connection. Then I would recommend going with the 2530. They are fairly inexpensive switches that can provide 10/100/1000 & PoE+ ports. This switches can then connect back up to Aruba Central where they can be configured and managed like the instant APs. http://www.arubanetworks.com/assets/ds/DS_2530SwitchSeries.pdf

If you need a few static routes with some layer3 capabilities, then I would recommend going to look at the 2930F. This switches will allow for a 10Gb uplink and a few layer3 capabilities. This switches can then connect back up to Aruba Central where they can be configured and managed like the instant APs. http://www.arubanetworks.com/assets/ds/DS_2930FSwitchSeries.pdf

Aruba Central will be your cloud management that will allow you to combine multiple remote locations. http://www.arubanetworks.com/products/networking/management/central/

I do like both traditional Cisco CLI and Meraki GUI cloud. Cisco traditional is going more towards DataCenters with the Nexus switches. Meraki more toward campus and Buildings with less IT support.

2 points · 6 months ago · edited 6 months ago

Who will be managing the network(s)? When you say that you are looking for a cloud based solution, are you only referring to companies like Meraki that do all the cloud work....you basically just sign in? Or do you mean cloud in terms of you don't want it physically located in your building/one of your buildings, meaning, you'd have no problem building and managing your own VM, for example, AWS, google compute, digital ocean, etc...?

Unifi, which has already been mentioned, is a good option. Ubiquiti/ubnt has also released UNMS, which I personally like better than unifi because it gives me two options for configuring my equipment, I can work in the GUI of UNMS or I can continue to use SSH and get into the switch and configure via the CLI.

UNMS is still fresh/new and it doesn't have all the features (with the switches/firmware that I've tested). I still prefer the CLI and that's where I mainly make changes, but I can also see where the GUI would be nice, even if I'm only going there for information.

Meraki isn't bad, but it also isn't cheap. Of course that entirely depends on the business and business needs. We have deployed Meraki at a few sites and for our needs, we haven't seen any benefit to using Meraki over a unifi switch or ubiquiti edgemax switch.

There are pros/cons to all solutions. One thing that I do like about Meraki is that if you configure the device to a point where it is no longer internet connected, it reverts back to a working configuration. To my knowledge, unifi doesn't do this. With the edgemax line, you could do the 'reload' trick via CLI, but that may not help if you plan on sticking to the GUI for configuration.

Aruba!

Ubiquiti UNiFi with the CloudKey might be a good alternative. They have firewalls switches and access points. No licensing, low price, and good performance and stability. The CloudKey provides a cloud-like setup on premise.

Not even in the same league, he's gonna need support. I wanted to do a city wide rollout and give them a brand boost with a public release and they couldn't take the time of day to get on the phone.

Ubiquiti Unifi, particularly Cloudkey is not the answer for Enterprise.

My gut says that i agree with you but i cannot really say why... Could you?

Support, support, support.

CCNA
2 points · 6 months ago

Support as the other user mentioned, but also performance. Work with Unifi for any length of time and you find that their rated specs are extremely optimistic, and they tend to have a lot of issues once you subject them to high loads in terms of traffic and clients.

-4 points · 6 months ago · edited 6 months ago

+1 for Ubiquiti

I don't really think anyone considers UBNT enterprise grade at this point, especially for routing and switching. Good for maybe really small enterprise / SMB, but not quite enterprise grade yet.

Agree. I'm struggling with four sites 300 users on Ubiquiti.

Not because I'm trying to argue, but what counts as "Enterprise" and what requirements must a product line meet to be "Enterprise" qualifying?

5 points · 6 months ago · edited 6 months ago

A couple things IMO:

  1. Support / support options. UBNT is generally a forum/community based support, and it's near impossible to get a good Tier II or III engineer on the phone (at all, let alone in an emergency). They have this Unifi Pro model coming out now, so that has potential. One of the many reasons we choose the devices we do (not just networking) is strong support.

  2. Enterprise features - UBNT is generally more at the SMB level for route/switch features. Granted, even some enterprises have pretty basic technical requirements sometimes, but I don't tend to look at a product line like the USG or EdgeRouter and think it's a large company/business class product from a feature standpoint. They're growing and kinda getting there, slowly.

  3. Stable Releases / Firmware / Dev Cycle with LTS branches - UBNT has improved here a lot over the past year or so, but they've had a shaky past here. There was a few years where their releases were basically a crap shoot and you had to do your homework and choose your upgrade/release very, very carefully. They also had a history of announcing features for new versions of stuff that were nowhere near production ready (basically pre-Alpha). Or they would advertise a feature that wasn't actually released for like another 8 months. This is one thing for prosumers and SMBs, but enterprises with large installs can't run like that.

  4. Vision / Future - They definitely put a lot of effort into the WISP and WiFi markets, but route/switch definitely seems lower on the totem pole. They just don't 'seem' to be going after anything other than prosumer and SMB with their route/switch line.

The other thing is just overall history and company identity. UBNT is a good strong growing company, but haven't quite established themselves (for all of the reasons above) as an enterprise networking player. They're sorta there on the WiFi end, but not Route/Switch.

A certain feature set comparable to competing vendors, to start with. Ubiquiti's product line is constantly filling in the gaps, but is by no means complete. Example: UBNT added 802.1x support to their switches a couple of years ago, but has only recently gotten around to adding change of authorization (CoA) to its beta firmwares. CoA was finalized as a standard around 2002.

Next up, testing. I've seen more than a few bugs slip through the cracks, and there's little evidence that they have a proper testing department; it seems more like they're "devops" types, which is odd since they're not a cloud service. I honestly think they're skimping on this part, which is fair in that it's expensive, but not at all fair in that it's not enterprise to skimp on testing.

Support would be another major pillar. There's no phone support right now, and that's a problem. I suspect this will get fixed in the future as it can be funded with subscriptions, and we're already seeing steps in that direction, but as of now, Ubiquiti most definitely does NOT qualify.

Does that clear things up a bit?

I understand the points you have laid out. I would argue, I have worked for a very large cisco house, and there are many bugs and issues that "slip through the cracks" for them as well.

In the enviroment I work for now (although I recognize it is smaller) has had very few issues (only 1 relating to SIP UDP packets) on our UBNT gear.

I suppose it really comes down to your needs and demands of your organization really. A giant feature list is great unless you aren't using a large chunk of it*

Their support has come a long way now with the subscription and replacement turnarounds etc. I agree we will likely see them continue to head in this direction.

LOLOLOLOL

Oh man, I hate Cisco. They develop and push new features, which is good, but good god, it's sooooo buggy, it's like they don't have QA. So far, HP has been my favorite vendor to avoid such bugs, but I have been bitten by things in the past with them as well, and the release notes always make clear that they have bugs, I'm just not the one encountering them.

Which brings us to the fact that I always encourage being as vanilla as possible in networking, so you don't hit that "unexpected" combination of code that's now being tested on your network. Meraki isn't great in this regard as I've hit bugs in every one of their products that I've used, but I also know to call and have names that I trust on the support desk who'll help me in a pinch. That, and I now very strictly use them in a vanilla configuration. MX firewall? Don't use it internally (East-West), for SDWAN, as a VPN concentrator, for IDS/IPS, for content filtering... just use it as a stateful firewall with AutoVPN.

Absolutely. And UBNT fills that checkbox for us. We have at most 20 users at a location. (50 locations ish total).

So their unifi product line meets all our speed, stability, and feature requirements for our use. Have yet to have one crash or go down unexpectedly which is nice.

Like I said it all depends kind of what your organizations needs are and making sure you have something that scalable and manageable, without complicating the network and causing unknowns to bring you down like you explained.

There's really no reason to go with a single vendor for everything, in my opinion.

The sweet spot for the separate categories tend to be different companies. For me, HP for switches, rock solid stuff, well priced, a joy to work with. AP's, Ruckus - they now have a virtual Zonedirector that lets you have multiple zones and manage them from one place, and the AP's are no longer dependent on the ZD being live to work. So you can set up one zone in another city and manage it like it was local, or just have separate zones in the building if you for some reason want to segregate. Their Beamflex solution is legitimately unique and patented - multiple antennas that shape the RF field to maximize both range and throughput, and it genuinely works. You can get away with fewer AP's, and have solid service. As for the cloud firewall stuff, not really my thing, but I'm aging... I prefer to keep the firewall in-house.

HP's no longer what they used to be for switches imho, multiple different OSes in the mix with the Aruba acquisition, and weird lineups of devices. ProCurves were my go-to for years, but no longer.

Can you please define what you mean by “midsize enterprise”?

Also, what are you trying to do with scalability? In the standard meaning of scaling when it comes with networking and infrastructure, Meraki scales great.

There are a lot of gaps in information to really give you a recommendation.

Very large retail enterprises use Meraki.

Why would you use something that requires annual license fees? Waste of money

Try 1Wirefiber.com if you are looking for an SD WAN provider. I believe they can provide scale able solutions nation wide.

Agree with other posters about defining what you mean by scale, but equally my advice would be define what your buisness priorities are. Do you what to increase bandwidth by load sharing? Will you use MPLS? What are your QoS requirements? What applications are in use? What other tech and vendors do you need integration with? If you want some other vendors to compare consider Talari Networks and Velocloud. Maybe Viptela

Ruckus. APs + Switch + Controller/Cloud.

Aruba, instant for small places..

Bottom line is.

You wanna play......you gotta pay.

Hopefully enterprises start to learn this concept in 2018. IT is no longer the Windows 2000 CD that uncle joe gave you with the cd key on the front. IT costs real money in the modern era, and if you want your business to depend on it, you better spend like it.

I've seen plenty of large school districts get by on Meraki just fine. But you don't really mention how many endpoints or switches you are dealing with so it is a tough discussion. Most peoples gripes about Meraki not scaling typically is a result of the clients budget not scaling with the solution.

Original Poster1 point · 6 months ago

Money isnt an issue here, im looking at a high level for those providers that can offer cloud management based networking solutions which we can then evaluate. Its possible that we pick and choose pieces for each. ie Meraki for small branch locations then provider X for the rest.

Well just for reference, most of the school district I speak of are probably in the range of 180-300 devices. Almost all that I speak to love it. The typical demographic for those who love it I find are the semi experienced engineers who wear a lot of hats.

Original Poster1 point · 6 months ago

Ive heard that it works well in environments of that size, we are running around 1200 users so just need to consider what other options there are.

I might get nailed here, but here it goes. I like Cisco Meraki equipment. Once you get things set up, you can make changes very quickly, the network is easy to troubleshoot, and it's very easy to build on. Sure there's a cost involved, but people buy Cisco for a reason. Plus the support is great.

I'd consider ubiquiti for APs. I run aerohive and am happy.

I don't know about cloud managed switches though; that sounds dicey

Ubiquiti is not an enterprise product, they aren’t even close to competing in the same market as Meraki, Aruba, or Xirrus (Riverbed).

0 points · 6 months ago

Silver Peak + ZScaler will fix all your problems.

Before MS bought them, Skype was entirely on Meraki gear....

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