Cisco Prime Review

Enables oversight so we can tweak and tune in order to successfully manage the company

What is our primary use case?

We use Cisco Prime to manage all of the wireless infrastructure in our stores and campus distribution centers. In our distribution centers we also monitor switches so we can do rogue AP detection. I'm the IT wireless manager and we are customers of Cisco Prime. 

What is most valuable?

I'm required to produce a rogue report once a quarter and also to provide a summary. The map overview of our campus environment shows the distribution of RF frequency channels and the distribution of a client. It provides us with a great idea of where the busier areas are within our environment to allow us to tweak and tune. The reporting is also a great feature because everyone sees which APs and which clients are the busiest, as well as the busiest applications. This solution enables us to do that.

What needs improvement?

Cisco is currently moving to DNA Center which has a lot of extra features we're looking forward to using. I think many of the gaps currently in Cisco Prime will be implemented in DNA Center. For now, because there are more and more devices in enterprise organizations that are wireless, it's the platform that's depended on. Cisco Prime is slow at times, we often have to restart the database to run reports or to gain access. We have it deployed on a VM, and that was a mistake, because when you put it on VM, the resources and management don't function well. The good still outweighs the bad, but when we have these ongoing problems, performance is not ideal. 

For additional features, I'd like to see support for Ekahau Site Survey maps. Some competing companies allow you to import that together with its AP attributes, so you can perform your predictive, or post site surveys and incorporate them into their management system. It ensures you don't have to start from scratch and then import a new map and new APs with all of the attributes. Having some level of ability to work with either AirMagnet or Ekahau, the two top wireless analysis tools on the market, is where you can gain great benefit for supporting large deployments.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using this solution for 12 years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

If you're using a VM, stability is iffy, probably around 80% stable. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We currently have 10 Prime servers and when I compare it to the competition, it can handle more devices than competing companies. From a scalability standpoint, it seems to be able to support more devices. We have our operations department which troubleshoots on a daily basis. Our wireless engineering team set up new facilities, put in new maps and AP placements. There are two groups - operations and engineering. We have a few people involved in that area. 

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is very helpful and very knowledgeable.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Working for a larger company, we were using Wavelink to manage our first and second generation access points. Wavelink is a vendor-agnostic management tool to manage APs. When you choose a more sophisticated solution, such as Cisco, as our vendor for deploying nationwide, it made sense to select a management tool that's going to allow us to manage, deploy, report, and provide PCI requirements. Those are the main reasons we switched. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

We're not like a normal company, we get steep discounts from Cisco, although they do compete well on a pricing level with other similar solutions. 

What other advice do I have?

Anyone wanting to implement this now should deploy DNA Center and I would recommend against using VMs if possible.

I would rate this solution an eight out of 10. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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