Meraki Slims Down Cloud Routers

Cloud-managed routing vendor drops a key product in favor of redesigned version that can sit on a desktop.

When it comes to managing on-site networking gear, you don't necessarily need have on-site networking expertise.

Networking vendor Meraki has been pushing its cloud managed networking routers as a solution since the beginning of 2011. One of the first solutions that Meraki announced was the MX50 router, which is now being replaced after being in market for only 7 months.

In its place Meraki is announcing the new MX60 cloud managed router which provides additional features and a new form factor.

"The MX50 we introduced earlier this year but we haven't redesigned the MX50 into the MX60, entirely," Pablo Estrada, solution architect at Meraki told InternetNews.com. "Definitely the form factor is different."

Estrada noted that the features in the MX50 were well suited for a small branch office, but people didn't have a network closet where they could place a router into a rack.

"The MX60 is more of a desktop device, so the form factor is the main difference, there is no difference in ports or throughput," Estrada said.

Both the MX50 and the MX60 are four port Gigabit Ethernet devices that are managed via the Meraki cloud service. The other thing that has changed is some of the underlying software that Meraki is now updating across its product lineup. The underlying operating system in the MX50, MX60 and MX70 router is a customized Linux base that Meraki has enhanced.

From a security perspective, Meraki has added two-factor authentication that is delivered via SMS. Estrada explained that delivering the tokens via SMS reduces cost and management time. He added that the network administrator inputs their cell phone number as part of the management configuration and is then provided with the token over SMS.

Additionally, Meraki is adding enhanced role-based administration and the capability to keep track of network configuration changes. The system also enables administrators to compare old configuration values against the news ones to help remediate any issues.

As a cloud service, Meraki is also improving its own security by partnering with Intel's McAfee security division. Meraki's data center infrastructure is now being audited and regularly scanned by McAfee to ensure security.

In a related effort, Meraki is trying to reinforce to customers that its management in the cloud offering is trustworthy with a new website content at meraki.com/trust.

"In the spirit of transparency and openness about architecture and security, customers can learn aobut what happens in our data centers and what happens with user data," Estrada " They can also learn about how to configure a network for optimal security."

Meraki is also now spelling out their service level agreement and how much monetary compensation a customer is entitled too if Meraki doesn't live up to their uptime promise.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.




Tags: cloud computing, networking, routers, Meraki


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