At Cisco Live 2022 this week, Cisco annouced that Catalyst is coming to the Meraki cloud which put simply means that organisations will now be able to manage their Catalyst switches and access points using the Cisco Meraki cloud dashboard, providing a centralised view of the network with real-time switch status and health.
At time of launch, the Catalyst 9200, 9300 and 9500 switching platforms will be supported in the Meraki dashboard with two different options:
- Cloud Monitoring (monitoring only)
- Cloud Management (monitoring and config management)
- Monitored Catalyst switches needs only a Meraki license.
- Fully managed Catalyst switches requires DNA Advantage (DNA-A) or DNA Essentials (DNA-E) licensing.
The main difference between the two switching licenses is that DNA-E will not include application visibility or client usage data.
Is this the end to DNA Center?
Put simply, No. What Cisco is doing is providing more flexibility and options to their customers. It will mean, however that organisations will need to make a choice as to where that want to manage their Cisco Catalyst infrastructure. In Meraki, in DNA Center, or standalone.
Once a Catalyst switch is fully managed by Meraki it will no longer be an IOS device and will instead run Cisco Meraki software. If the Catalyst switch is a monitored only switch though, it will still be accessible and manageable via the CLI.
New Catalyst Wireless Switches
Cisco also annouced that they are introducing three new Catalyst wireless access points that can be managed by their Meraki dashboard or a C9800 controller.
- Catalyst CW9166
- Catalyst CW9164
- Catalyst CW9162
Feature Partity with DNA Center?
No.. Well not initially anyway.
Since this is the first iteration of Catalyst management within the Meraki Cloud dashboard, there will not be feature parity with what is possible with the CLI or DNA Center. Initially all the core basic basic monitoring and configuration will be available and Cisco have a said a feature list and roadmap will be published soon.
Why are Cisco taking this approach?
Cisco have traditionally been continuing to build on-premises software solutions, such as DNA Center, but with their increased focus of software subscriptions and cloud this is a logical move and something their competition have been doing for a while.
Since the aquisition of Meraki back in 2013, Cisco have continued to try to provided multiple options for their customers and this appears to eb a great move into that hybrid space, providing and option for scenarios where DNA Center maybe too much or complex, but a more simplistic cloud managed approach with a Meraki may well fit organisations who want cloud management with Meraki while still having the feature-rich capabilities of the Catalyst product set.
Cisco advise their customers to speak to their account manager, work with their trusted a isco partner and / or to check out their get started guide. There’s no need to go full in and organisations can start their move cloud management for Catalyst at their own pace.
Read the full detail from Cisco