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Cisco Streamlines Hybrid IT with New Cloud Management Options

Hybrid IT, with a mixture of on-premises, public cloud and private cloud infrastructure, is now the computing model of choice for most midsize and large organizations. The approach allows organizations to gain the flexibility and scalability of the cloud while maintaining in-house IT systems necessary to support mission-critical legacy applications. However, a hybrid infrastructure also creates some unique management challenges.

With data, applications and operating systems scattered across an assortment of cloud instances, physical servers and virtual servers, it can be difficult to ensure consistent policies and performance for all platforms and users. Connecting on-premises applications with multiple cloud resources is particularly challenging due to the different standards and configurations of various providers.

The lack of common management tools is particularly troublesome. Very often, IT teams must navigate among multiple management consoles for various cloud services and in-house infrastructure. Nearly half of IT professionals in a recent SolarWinds study say such fragmentation reduces their visibility into the majority of their organization’s apps and infrastructure. Reduced visibility makes it difficult to ensure the availability, performance and security of business-critical applications.

Single Source

Cisco is addressing management complexity with a groundbreaking update to its Meraki cloud-based network management platform. With the change, customers can now manage cloud assets and Cisco Catalyst on-premises hardware through the Meraki dashboard.

Previously, customers using Catalyst switches had to manage them through one of two premises-based options — the command-line interface (CLI) or the Cisco DNA Center, both of which are deployed on-premises. Customers can continue to use those methods for managing in-house Catalyst hardware, but the option to use Meraki’s cloud-based platform offers important benefits.

Monitoring the Catalyst portfolio of campus switches, wireless controllers and access points through the Meraki dashboard brings increased visibility into the hybrid IT environment. Cloud-based monitoring allows administrators to view cloud and in-house resources from anywhere, see the flow of traffic and quickly diagnose potential problems. Catalyst customers who have a Cisco DNA Center license can get the Meraki cloud-management service for free.

Meraki’s rich, web-based dashboard provides visibility and control of up to tens of thousands of devices. It enables administrators to easily make policy changes and firmware updates or deploy new branches from anywhere in the world. Live tools integrated into the dashboard deliver instant analysis of performance, connectivity and other network characteristics. This visibility into devices, users and applications gives administrators the insight necessary to ensure reliable network performance.

Offering Options

Cisco expects it will be a multi-year journey to bring the entire Catalyst portfolio into the Meraki cloud. For now, the Catalyst 9200, 9300 and 9500 switching platforms and the new Catalyst 916x Series Wi-Fi 6E access points will be supported in the Meraki dashboard.

Cisco emphasizes that the move does not mean it is abandoning DNA Center. In fact, the Meraki platform redesign is built on common hardware to ensure that customers can choose whether the traditional Catalyst management platform or the Meraki dashboard best suits their needs.

Gartner analysts estimate that 75 percent of midsize and large organizations have adopted a hybrid IT strategy, but the lack of unified monitoring across in-house and cloud assets creates significant management challenges. With its Meraki update, Cisco is addressing that challenge and enabling organizations to manage cloud and on-premises infrastructure from a single dashboard.


Contact the networking professionals at Cerium to learn more about addressing hybrid IT management challenges with the Cisco solution.

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