Evangelizing Cloud Management

April 17, 2017 Enterprise Networking, Trends

“Technology can connect us, empower us, and drive us.  At Meraki we believe by simplifying powerful technology we can free passionate people to focus on their mission and reach groups previously left in the darkness.”  This is the mission statement at Meraki, otherwise known as the Cloud Networking Group at Cisco.  It’s a powerful statement, and one that rings true to their actions, as they continue to roll out products that simplify the IT industry, while at the same time, adding manageability and visibility through features previously reserved for more expensive, multilayered solutions.  It simply works right out of the box.  That has been my experience over the past 5 years or so, and judging from the greater than 1,000% growth they’ve experienced during that period, I’m guessing the experience of many others.  Fun fact: In 2012 Meraki had a $100M run rate.  It was $1B in 2016 and they now have over 150,000 customers world-wide.

With this as the backdrop, imagine my excitement when invited to attend the Meraki Masters Training in San Francisco.  Engineers love getting the opportunity to deep dive into products.  Especially products they are already excited about, like Meraki.  My company, ABS Technology, was a Meraki partner prior to the Cisco acquisition in 2012, mainly because we recognized it as the best of breed with regards to cloud-based wireless infrastructure.  Since then, Meraki has added a full line of MX Security Appliances, MS layer 2 and layer 3 Switching, MC Phone Systems, MV IP Security Cameras, and even SM Mobile Device Management, all while continuing to lead the industry in cloud-managed wireless innovations with the MR line of Access Points.

Now that I’ve shared with you a bit of background on Meraki let me tell you why the Masters course was so enjoyable for me.  The stated intent of this training was to make us “Meraki Evangelists”.  The select group invited to attend, only 160 over the 3-year program, came from top strategic Meraki managed partners all over the US.  Our objectives were to gain in-depth technical exposure to the Meraki full stack directly from the technical experts and product leads, and then perfect our demo skills using that knowledge and the Meraki Dashboard.  The last day of training involved us performing the Dashboard product demos to the instructors, using use-case scenarios they provided the day before.

During the training, it was obvious that the culture and environment at the Meraki HQ was driven by people that were energized and focused.  I left the training feeling energized and focused, and ready to utilize the benefits provided by the training.  Exclusive webinar updates and trainings, early beta programs, and direct access to Meraki technical resources are among those benefits.  In addition to earning the Certified Meraki Network Professional certification, I also left the training feeling a sense of responsibility to be the “go-to Meraki expert” within ABS Technology and to help train others to spread that knowledge.

Prior to coming to ABS Technology in 2006, I was responsible for building and maintaining a network in the K12 space.  School systems, and many other customers in all verticals, are increasingly asked to do more with less.  Meraki is tailor-made for that scenario.  I can only imagine how much simpler my life would have been if the Meraki Full Stack had been around back then.  Now, I just want make sure others know the benefits and can take advantage of simple, powerful technology.

Read more here about the benefits of achieving Meraki Masters Status.

bill-waldron-1In addition to being ABS’ resident Meraki Evangelist, Bill Waldron is a Senior Solutions Architect at ABS where he focuses his efforts on designing enterprise networking solutions to solve business challenges for clients.