Cisco Channels Meraki

Cisco and Meraki unveil new dashboard for Cloud Managed Services; Cisco Catalyst 2960-X series switches debut.

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted Jun 4, 2013
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Cisco acquired Meraki for $1.2 billion last November with plans to expand Cisco's presence in the networking midmarket.

Cisco now aims to deliver on that promise with a new Cisco Meraki Managed Services Dashboard. Meraki's portfolio includes routers, switches, and access points that are are all manageable from a browser-based interface.

"The Meraki claim to fame is integrated cloud-managed solutions," Inbar Lasser-Raab, senior director of marketing for enterprise networking at Cisco, told Enterprise Networking Planet.

The new Managed Services Dashboard enables Cisco's partners and system integrators to offer managed services for the Meraki portfolio. The dashboard will allow partners to manage devices remotely, collect statistics, and scale a managed solution.

Lasser-Raab noted that the Managed Services Dashboard hacatalyst 2960d been on the Meraki roadmap prior to the Cisco acquisition. She hinted that Cisco is looking at some potentially creative and innovative products to emerge in the future as a result of the integration.

The managed dashboard currently only manages Meraki devices.

Catalyst 2960-X

Cisco is also expanding its switching portfolio this week with the new Catalyst 2960-X series. Over the years, the vendor has shipped over 14 million Catalyst 2960 series switches, encompassing over 420 million ports.

"The 2960 is very targeted at the midmarket," Lasser-Raab said. "The beauty of the new 2960-X is the doubling of everything we had before."

The 2960-X has double the stacking capabilities of the last-generation 2960 switch, with up to 8 stacking switches. The 2960-X comes in both 24 and 48x 10/100/1000 port configurations, with up to 2x SFP+ uplinks per switch.

Cisco has also improved the power consumption on the 2960-X series, claiming up to 80 percent power savings. Part of that savings comes from a new hibernation mode that can be set to conserve energy. The switch also supports Cisco's EnergyWise technology, which can be used to control energy usage on connected devices.

OpenFlow

The new Catalyst 2960-X was engineered to support the open-source OpenFlow SDN protocol. Lasser-Rabb noted that OpenFlow support will not be initially available when the switch ships this month, but will come with a software update in the near future.

In recent months, the move toward SDN has raised concerns that switches are becoming more commoditized. It's a claim that Cisco aims to further refute with the 2960-X.

"Just from the power saving alone, you can end up with enough savings to pay for this switch," Lasser-Raab said. "This switch has the higher-end capabilities like programability and all the Quality of Service capabilities, so it's definitely not a commoditized switch."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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