Sunday, November 18, 2012

Cisco to Acquire Meraki for Cloud-managed Wi-Fi

Cisco agreed to acquire Meraki, a rival supplier of campus Wi-Fi solutions, for approximately $1.2 billion in cash and retention-based incentives. Meraki supplies a line of high capacity on-site WLAN hardware that is centrally managed from its cloud.

Compared to other WLAN solutions including Cisco's own campus Wi-Fi, Meraki has said its key advantages are quick turn-up and no training or dedicated staff needed to maintain the network, thus reducing the total cost of ownership.  Because it leverages cloud-based management, the feature set is constantly updated and secured.  There is no centralized controller.  User traffic does not pass through the cloud.  The network continues to function even if the connection to the cloud is broken, however Meraki hosts its management platform in multiple data centers across the country and provides a 99.99% uptime SLA.

One customer example is Accor North America, which is using Meraki to managed Wi-Fi service to 70,000 hotel rooms in 620 properties across the U.S.  The network is managed no dedicated staff from Accor.

Meraki's product suite includes a line of indoor/outdoor 802.11n access points with 802.3af Power over Ethernet and mesh capabilities, a line of cloud-managed security appliances scaling from small company versions to large campus models, and four cloud managed Ethernet access switches featuring built-in monitoring and Gigabit of 10G uplinks.

Earlier this year, Meraki introduced Layer 7 application visibility controls into its Wi-Fi switches.  This provides insight into how much traffic is due to YouTube, Netflix, Vimeo, etc.  

Meraki was founded in 2006 and is based in San Francisco.

Cisco said that acquisition of Meraki's cloud networking solutions will expand its own portfolio by providing scalable solutions for midmarket businesses.

"The acquisition of Meraki enables Cisco to make simple, secure, cloud managed networks available to our global customer base of mid-sized businesses and enterprises. These companies have the same IT needs as larger organizations, but without the resources to integrate complex IT solutions," said Rob Soderbery, senior vice president, Cisco Enterprise Networking Group. "Meraki's solution was built from the ground up optimized for cloud, with tremendous scale, and is already in use by thousands of customers to manage hundreds of thousands of devices."

Cisco’s Recent Acquisitions

*Cloupia is a start-up focused on Cloud Automation and Management Software, for approximately $125 million in cash and retention-based incentives. Cloupia, which is based in Santa Clara, California, provides tools to automate converged data center infrastructure.15-Nov-2012
*ThinkSmart Technologies was a software developer specializing in location data analysis using Wi-Fi.  Financial terms were not disclosed. ThinkSmart’s location analytics collects information on movement within a venue including time of day, traffic patterns and dwell times. The company, which is based in Cork, Ireland, was formed at the Incubation Centre of University College Cork.
*ClearAccess was a privately-held company that provides TR-069-based software to service providers for the provisioning and management of residential and mobile devices. Financial terms were not disclosed.The acquisition includes ClearAccess' software business and talent. The hardware portion of ClearAccess' business, Smart RG Gateways, will continue forward as a separate company called SmartRG.27-Mar-2012
*Cisco acquired NDS Group in a deal valued at approximately $5 billion.NDS, which is owned by News Corp.(49%) and Permira private equity (51%), provides video software and content security for media companies, cable & satellite TV operators and IPTV service providers. Key products include its MediaHighway Set-top Box middleware software and its "XTV" Digital Video Recorder software.14-Mar-2012
* Lightwire was a developer of optical interconnect technology, for $271 million in cash and incentives.Lightwire, a start-up based in Allentown, Penn., specializes in CMOS photonics. Its optical interconnects promise to integrate multiple high speed active and passive optical functions onto a small silicon chip. 23-Feb-2012