Yesterday there was a flurry of activity on Twitter when Tom Hollingsworth ([@networkingnerd](http://twitter.com/networkingnerd)) broke the news that Cisco was announcing its intent to acquire San Francisco based Meraki. His article is over at [http://networkingnerd.net](http://networkingnerd.net/2012/11/18/cisco-to-buy-meraki/). Now I have to throw in my 2 cents.
The deal is being met with mixed feelings all over the place. Engineers from other vendors are calling out all kinds of claims about the who, what, and why. Josh O’Brien (@joshobrien77) made it clear that he’s not happy about this on his site. He raises some valid concerns about a young, agile, start-up type company being folded into a mega-corp like Cisco. I tend to agree with Josh on most everything, but this time I have to respectfully disagree. I am a huge fan of Meraki (proof here) and also a big fan of Cisco (proof in the fact that my newly acquired wireless network is all Cisco). Maybe I’m a hopeless optimist, but I think this could be really good for everyone of the customers from both sides.
How ever you feel about it, it’s pretty clear that Cisco was not interested in Meraki’s hardware. Their cloud management platform is top notch. Systems Manager delivers MDM easily to a broad range of platforms and operates completely agnostic of the networks your devices run on. Cisco has some nice management systems but at times they feel a bit heavy; and none of them are in the cloud. If the teams are able to coalesce their products into a unified system it could be amazing. Systems Manager could bring MDM to ISE and allow integrated deployments without the need for third party hooks, cloud controllers for small offices or highly distributed deployments could lock in larger companies like chain restaurants and retail outlets, there are a ton of possibilities.
I truly think that Meraki’s software can add a lot to the Cisco SMB/SME portfolio, possibly even integrate with the onePK to deliver SDN out of the box. However, in order for them to pull this off I think Cisco is going to have to take a new approach. Do not assimilate the staff and company as a whole, let Meraki do what they do best. And let them keep their kegs.
Update: A brief tweet got me a little riled up last night about the Meraki customers who went with them to simply get away from Cisco… I’ll write about that in more detail later. My initial response was basically that that’s asinine. Buy product for the tech, not the name. If someone bought Meraki simply because it wasn’t Cisco and now they’re going to dump it because it’s Cisco, they don’t deserve to be engineering. At all.