Archive for May, 2012

Virtual Stacking — the missing link in enterprise switch management

When we launched the world’s first cloud managed switches in January 2012, we wanted to go beyond all the great features you’ve come to expect in a Meraki product. If you look at the enterprise switch market, other than basic improvements in speeds and feeds, there has been surprisingly little innovation, especially in managing large, distributed networks. Meraki developed Virtual Stacking to help address such challenges.

What is Virtual Stacking?

Virtual Stacking is an industry-first technology that provides centralized management for up to 10,000 switch ports. Unlike traditional stacking, virtually stacked switches do not require a physical connection, can be in different physical locations, and can be of different switch models, thereby simplifying large scale, distributed deployments.

 

Figure 1: Editing switch ports via Virtual Stacking

What does this mean for you? If you have ever tried stacking traditional switches, you know about the expensive stacking modules, special cables, and the limit of the number of switches that you can manage through a single logical interface. This limitation makes managing large, distributed networks unnecessarily complex and expensive, with on-going OpEx needed to maintain all the network devices. With Meraki’s Virtual Stacking technology, managing large, distributed networks is as simple as managing an intuitive single pane-of-glass interface — the Meraki dashboard.

Single Pane-of-Glass Management

The Meraki dashboard gives you a holistic view of all the ports in your network. It doesn’t matter if the switches are located right next to each other or on different continents. Virtual Stacking give you unprecedented visibility and you can manage up to 10,000 switch ports as though the switches were physically stacked in the same room. For example, you can find all the ports across the network that are in VLAN 30, and then edit the entire group. Alternatively, you can enable/disable ports, turn PoE* on/off, define if ports are access/trunk ports, and assign VLANs.

The power and ease of managing individual ports or a group of ports is critical for scalable deployments, but Meraki’s dashboard takes it a step further and enables you to manage network-wide settings, such as defining QoS, spanning tree, and your management VLAN from the same single pane of glass.

Figure 2: Spanning tree, QoS, and port mirroring configuration

 

If you do not see these features on your dashboard, you may require a firmware upgrade. Please contact [email protected] to schedule the upgrade.

Don’t forget to check out our new features under the Help > New features page regularly. We are constantly adding more exciting features and we’re expanding and improving existing features!

Finally, if you’re interested in seeing the MS Switch Dashboard, watch the demo at http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=KViCLMKXpkA

*PoE available on the MS22P and MS42P.

Virtual Stacking — the missing link in enterprise switch management

When we launched the world’s first cloud managed switches in January 2012, we wanted to go beyond all the great features you’ve come to expect in a Meraki product. If you look at the enterprise switch market, other than basic improvements in speeds and feeds, there has been surprisingly little innovation, especially in managing large, distributed networks. Meraki developed Virtual Stacking to help address such challenges.

What is Virtual Stacking?

Virtual Stacking is an industry-first technology that provides centralized management for up to 10,000 switch ports. Unlike traditional stacking, virtually stacked switches do not require a physical connection, can be in different physical locations, and can be of different switch models, thereby simplifying large scale, distributed deployments.

 

Figure 1: Editing switch ports via Virtual Stacking

What does this mean for you? If you have ever tried stacking traditional switches, you know about the expensive stacking modules, special cables, and the limit of the number of switches that you can manage through a single logical interface. This limitation makes managing large, distributed networks unnecessarily complex and expensive, with on-going OpEx needed to maintain all the network devices. With Meraki’s Virtual Stacking technology, managing large, distributed networks is as simple as managing an intuitive single pane-of-glass interface — the Meraki dashboard.

Single Pane-of-Glass Management

The Meraki dashboard gives you a holistic view of all the ports in your network. It doesn’t matter if the switches are located right next to each other or on different continents. Virtual Stacking give you unprecedented visibility and you can manage up to 10,000 switch ports as though the switches were physically stacked in the same room. For example, you can find all the ports across the network that are in VLAN 30, and then edit the entire group. Alternatively, you can enable/disable ports, turn PoE* on/off, define if ports are access/trunk ports, and assign VLANs.

The power and ease of managing individual ports or a group of ports is critical for scalable deployments, but Meraki’s dashboard takes it a step further and enables you to manage network-wide settings, such as defining QoS, spanning tree, and your management VLAN from the same single pane of glass.

Figure 2: Spanning tree, QoS, and port mirroring configuration

 

If you do not see these features on your dashboard, you may require a firmware upgrade. Please contact [email protected] to schedule the upgrade.

Don’t forget to check out our new features under the Help > New features page regularly. We are constantly adding more exciting features and we’re expanding and improving existing features!

Finally, if you’re interested in seeing the MS Switch Dashboard, watch the demo at http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=KViCLMKXpkA

*PoE available on the MS22P and MS42P.

Powerful troubleshooting at your fingertips

In our last post, we talked about how easy it is to optimize VoIP with 3 easy clicks on Meraki’s MS Cloud Managed Switches. While we make configuration a breeze, sometimes as a network administrator, you want to really dive into the details to figure out what’s happening on your network. With the Meraki MS Cloud Managed Switches, we make troubleshooting a snap.

Event Logs

If you ever wanted to know all the changes that have happened on your switch network, our event log lets you view all the changes in your virtual stack to see events such as STP enabled/disabled, ports enabled/disabled, Live Tools tests that were run such as cable tests, and more. This gives you a historical view that’s useful if you want to correlate an event such as a network outage with configuration changes on your switches. You can find Event Log under Monitor>Event Log.

Figure 1: Searchable event log

 

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the concept of the virtual stack, this is an industry-first technology that provides centralized management of up to 10,000 switch ports. Unlike traditional stacking, virtually stacked switches can be in different physical locations, simplifying large scale and distributed deployments.

While our event log provides an easy way to see historical information, sometimes you need to do some live troubleshooting, and this is where the power of our Live Tools comes in.

Live Tools – Cable Test and Packet Capture

When it’s time for a network refresh, oftentimes you leave the existing wiring infrastructure in place and just replace your switches. This means that the quality of an Ethernet cable is unknown, and this could lead to hours of frustration when a user complains that their connection is down. You could spend hours debugging a healthy switch when the problem is simply a cabling issue. With our integrated cable test, you can quickly and easily see if the cabling is an issue or if it’s something more serious. You don’t need to be on site to run this test, and the end client doesn’t even need to be plugged in for it to work! You can find this useful tool in the Meraki dashboard under Monitor > Switches.

Figure 2: Built-in cable testing

 

Event logs and cable tests are great for troubleshooting common networking issues, but what if you need to really dive into the bits and bytes of a packet? The MS Switches now have a powerful packet capture tool which lets you quickly and easily capture packets on one port or multiple ports for further analysis. You can even download the output as a PCAP file for analysis using Wireshark, a popular free network protocol analyzer. If you’ve ever tried capturing packets before, you know what a pain it is: you have to set up port mirroring, assign a new VLAN, and load specialized software on your laptop. With our packet capture tool, we make it one step and you can do it remotely from the comfort of your office or home! You can find the tool under Monitor > Packet capture.

Figure 3: Integrated packet capture

If you do not see these features on your dashboard, you may require a firmware upgrade. Please contact [email protected] to schedule the upgrade.

Don’t forget to check out our new features under the Help > New features page regularly. We are constantly adding more exciting features and we’re expanding and improving existing features!

Finally, if you’re interested in seeing switches in the Meraki dashboard, watch the demo at http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=KViCLMKXpkA

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