Automating Cisco Meraki

Automating Cisco Meraki through API to Simplify Operational Tasks

Introduction to Cisco Meraki 

Cisco acquired Meraki in 2012, expanding its wireless LAN (WLAN) product portfolio. Cisco Meraki™ offers a cloud-based network management solution to manage enterprise network equipment that has expanded from Wi-Fi access points, to switching, routing, firewall, security cameras, phones, SD-WAN appliances, and more. Although enterprise IT was hesitant to use cloud-based network management, the simplification and feature set it offers ultimately won, and Cisco now has a significant install base from small and medium enterprises up to the Fortune 500 that leverage the solution.

The Cisco Meraki solution is described as a Software-Defined Networking (SDN) solution since it provides software control of the underlying network through the Meraki Cloud Portal (a cloud hosted controller). It removes the ability to configure the underlying devices through their command line interface (CLI) like traditional networking devices. The Meraki Dashboard is accessed through the public internet. The network device WAN ports must be connected to the internet, and essentially are plug-and-play to connect, be configured and managed.

Automating Cisco Meraki - Meraki 1

Automating Cisco Meraki with Gluware

While the Meraki solution has become feature-rich, the steps to configure and manage have become more complicated, often requiring many clicks to navigate into network settings and device settings. As enterprises scale to hundreds or thousands of devices, the Meraki Cloud will need to be automated. Meraki does offer a rich Dashboard API, which can be leveraged to enable 3rd party automation through Gluware.

Gluware has first focused on enterprise network automation use-cases requiring automation of network devices, primarily access points, appliances and switches. Through integration with the Meraki REST API, and secure API keys, Gluware is able to read in all the configuration parameters available through the Meraki Dashboard. Meraki provides over 300 API calls Gluware can leverage to provide automation and simplify operational tasks as enterprise users scale-out deployments.

Gluware provides automation through the Meraki Dashboard API of:

  • Devices
  • Networks
  • Organizations

Gluware provides simplicity and scale to automate adding new organizations, networks, devices, VLANs, and more. Configure thousands of network devices in minutes.

Use-Cases for Gluware Meraki Automation

Automating Device Settings  

While the Meraki Dashboard is easy to navigate and provides intuitive form-fill configuration pages, the difficulty comes when you need to make changes across hundreds or thousands of devices. A change like adding or modifying a configuration parameter on a VLAN requires navigating through the Organization, the Network, the Device and then the VLAN to get to the parameter – per device, per VLAN. So, instead of performing this repetitive task, Gluware is able to read in the existing Devices via API and provide the ability to perform a change across all the selected devices, be it dozens or thousands.

Automating Network-Wide Settings

Similar to the device settings use-case, changing network settings requires navigating into each organization, then into each network. Gluware customer examples have hundreds of networks in their Meraki deployments. Changing network settings, like adding or changing protocol settings like SNMP, syslog, NetFlow, or a SSID can be dozens of clicks – per network. Gluware is able to read in the existing Networks via API and provide the ability to perform a change across all the selected networks.

Automating Organization-Wide Settings

In the third category of use-cases, organization settings are not quite as bad, since enterprises are not likely to have hundreds of them. However, leveraging the power of Gluware to read in the Organization via API and be able to perform changes across multiple settings across all organizations is a tremendous time-saver and benefit.

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