Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Monday, June 24, 2024

Cisco Extends Meraki Cloud to Communications 

Cisco Systems moved to scale its enterprise-networking strategy into a subscription model this week via its Meraki cloud-managed communications platform.

Along with its entry into the voice communications market, the networking giant (NASDAQ: CSCO) unveiled an expanded cloud portfolio along with Ethernet and fiber switches as it seeks to help enterprise customers manage devices, switching and, now, communications, via a single platform. "This completes our transition from cloud-managed wireless through cloud-managed networking to cloud-managed IT," Todd Nightingale, a Cisco Meraki software engineer, noted in a blog post.

The Meraki cloud management platform comes in the form of its MC74 phone with a touchscreen display representing a "single pane of glass" for managing networking infrastructure. The Meraki phone serves as a dashboard to manage switching, security, wireless and mobile devices. Cisco said platform is based on a Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) architecture that includes a cloud license, an endpoint and a SIP-based service available through several providers.

The cloud-managed communications service is available immediately in the U.S. and will be rolled out in other countries "over time," the company said Tuesday (May 24).

Cisco touts the phone release as "expanding the stack" as Meraki attempts to converge networking, security and cloud-based enterprise mobility management into a single IT platform. "Managing more with fewer systems will free IT groups to focus on what really matters to them instead of another cumbersome management platform," Nightingale asserted.

Further down the stack from the platform used for managing communications, networking and security, Cisco also this week released a new multi-gigabit switch and a pair of 10-gigabit per second fiber switches. Boosting its wireless portfolio, it also unveiled two new indoor access points.

The Cisco Meraki switches serve as a network backbone by functioning as access and aggregation layer switches. The cloud-managed switches are designed to speed network provisioning while the multi-gigabit Ethernet switch squeezes more speed out of existing networks.

Cisco acquired Meraki in 2012. The cloud unit's customer base is growing with an annual run rate of $1 billion, Cisco said. After taking the reins at Cisco last year, CEO Chuck Robbins has sought to flesh out its cloud strategy that focuses on running the Meraki Cloud through its Intercloud initiative designed to manage enterprise-level cloud IT services.

The global network of clouds Cisco and its partners are is building includes a growing list of independents software vendors developing Intercloud applications and cloud services intended for a future Internet of Everything.


About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).