Meraki SD-WAN Review

Enables us to get valuable information from the system without having to go into every single device

What is our primary use case?

I'm using Cisco Meraki, both for the firewall and software-defined network.  

For the time being, we are sort of picking out the best way to use it in terms of the number of licenses and what we actually need to be able to oversee and have control over — what we really need to do. We are still looking at what are the most essential parts and whether we should increase the number of licenses or just to keep what we already have at the moment. We are taking it step-by-step for now.  

What is most valuable?

In terms of the firewall, actually what I found most interesting was that the amount of information you can get from overseeing the system from a centralized place. For example, we know the way people logged in, when they logged out, and how they access work that is on individual computers. It provides a lot of information.  

So, basically the most valuable feature so far is just the information we can actually get from the system without actually having to go into every single device. You can just get it all from one point, gather all the information that would usually take you about up to 10 minutes per computer and get it almost instantly.  

In terms of Software Defined Networking, when our older firewall was used in the setup, it was a very different configuration of various computers. What we actually thought we had was sometimes outdated and possibly not being used at all in one or two cases. Using this product was a chance to find out where actually there are vulnerabilities in our system and which places need to be updated that had not been properly updated because they sort of fell between the cracks.  

What needs improvement?

Because I have not been using the product for very long, I'm really just learning it and being overwhelmed by the amount of information that I can actually get from the system. There is really nothing that I can think of at the moment that needs to be improved. I'm just really happy about basically everything. It might happen that something will become important sometime as we get more used to the product and we are able to look into it better. But for the moment it seems to cover everything we need.  

Possibly there may be more options for integration between computers, projectors, television — sort of being able to more easily make everything included in one solution. It would be even more useful.  

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using the product for more than two months.  

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Our impressions of the stability of SD-WAN is good at this point. We have had no issues that I know of up until this moment.  Whether we will later on remains uncertain. For now  everything is stable and working well.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability of the solution does not seem like it will be a problem.  

How are customer service and technical support?

We have not had help directly from Cisco's technical support. We did have help once indirectly through another company that we used to help us to sort out our old system. That was two years ago and I was not personally involved.  

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

Actually, I'm only now comparing how this system works to our experience with the old system we used. That is not something I can do instantly. But the reason we chose this solution was to consolidate and make use of improved features.  

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup for the product was straightforward and we had no issues. Our deployment took approximately only about two hours.  

What about the implementation team?

We did use the help of a consultant who knew more about the implementation of the product, but in the end, it really was just writing down which plug went from where to where. That was sort of our biggest issue.  

We were satisfied working with the consultant as they did help the process. In the end, we were sure it was set up correctly.  

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We went to a conference two years ago to start researching another solution like Fortinet  FortiGate. Meraki was the one that seemed to stand out more to me.  

What other advice do I have?

My advice to other people considering this as a solution is that I would probably just recommend them the same server and set up that we have. It sort of depends on what the person or the business needs. There are questions about how much control over it that you want to have, how much you really need to be able to oversee everything, et cetera. In terms of security issues, I think it is wonderful to be able to actually see where the pitfalls of our infrastructure are and stuff like that. But my gut feeling is I think I would probably just recommend the same system as we have.  

But the problem with that is I also don't know how Fortinet works because I haven't tested and implemented it myself. It looked promising when we researched it two years ago. I don't know, maybe it is just as good as Meraki. From what I've seen from comparisons between the two, they seem to be similar in terms of usability and price. I could be mistaken about some of that. But I'm happy with what we have, so I can recommend our system as something that is working for us.  

On a scale from one to ten where one is the worst and ten is the best, I would rate Meraki SD-WAN, Software Defined Networking as an eight given the fact that I've only been working on it this short of time.  

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

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