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Cloud Businesses Networking

Cisco To Buy Meraki For $1.2 Billion 59

Posted by samzenpus
from the circle-of-business dept.
UnanimousCoward writes "Several outlets are reporting Cisco's intent to acquire Meraki for $1.2 billion. From the article: 'Cisco Systems of San Jose, California, says it is buying Meraki Networks of San Francisco for around $1.2 billion in cash. The news of the deal leaked on Twitter, when Cisco accidentally posted the news on its blog and swiftly removed it, but it was too late. Cisco is hoping to focus on smaller and medium-sized campuses with Meraki and its products.'"
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Cisco To Buy Meraki For $1.2 Billion

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  • Bad summary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nimey (114278) on Monday November 19, 2012 @01:31PM (#42028729) Homepage Journal

    What the hell does Meraki do? You can safely assume we've heard of Cisco, but not Meraki.

    • by clm1970 (1728766)
      Their marketing byline lists them as: "....the leader in cloud controlled WiFi, routing, and security"
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        They are a better Aruba Networks.

        Now, just another car hitched-up to the Cisco fail-train. The LAST thing Cisco needs to do? Acquire more hardware.

        Software-defined networking is where Cisco will be commoditized into irrelevance. Sticking a management interface and IPAM "in the cloud" is not SDN.

        But Cisco cannot realize revenue, in the way they have scaled their operations, on software. They cannot transform their business, and they will slowly die.

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday November 19, 2012 @01:38PM (#42028839) Journal

      If you've ever decided "Hey, I should manage the infrastructure that lets me access 'the cloud' with 'the cloud', because nothing could possibly go wrong!" then you might have gone shopping with Meraki...

    • they are a crappy Internet proxy service for "open wifi" where none of your traffic is encrypted but still requires a user-name and password. my college uses them all it seems able to do is block legitimate services that require Internet access, log you out periodically and not let log back in, and slowly throttle your connections bandwidth down to nothing, while not stopping or slowing down torrents which is one of the reasons they started using it. oh and it has stupid site balcklists (well that might be

      • Re:Bad summary (Score:5, Informative)

        by Ultra64 (318705) on Monday November 19, 2012 @01:56PM (#42029095)

        "they are a crappy Internet proxy service for "open wifi" where none of your traffic is encrypted but still requires a user-name and password."

        This is inaccurate. It all depends on how you configure your network. You can have encryption, RADIUS authentication, MAC whitelist/blacklist whatever.

        " oh and it has stupid site balcklists (well that might be the local admin) "

        No "might be" about it. Nothing is blocked by default.

        "while not stopping or slowing down torrents which is one of the reasons they started using it"

        Then they have a configuration problem. We have no problem doing this for one of our networks.

        They *are* crappy, but only because their hardware is absurdly expensive for the speeds it provides. Ubiquiti's Unifi is much better performance/price. Their controller software isn't as advanced though.

    • What the hell does Meraki do? You can safely assume we've heard of Cisco, but not Meraki.

      No, but we can safely assume you have heard of Google. Or that you know how to click on links in the summery...

      OK, perhaps that last bit was too much...

      • Re:Bad summary (Score:4, Insightful)

        by ThatsMyNick (2004126) on Monday November 19, 2012 @02:35PM (#42029625)

        I have heard of Google. Is Meraki a Google subsidiary? Shouldnt the summary include this information.

        Seriously, the summary is supposed to summarize the story. Give you a gist of what is happening. What Meraki does is important part of it. Expecting people to Google every word in the summary or to RTFA, is unreasonable.

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        Or that you know how to click on links in the summery...

        You can only do that in New Zealand or Australia, here up north it's getting pretty wintery.

      • by chrismcb (983081)

        Or that you know how to click on links in the summery...

        In the summaries defense, the article didn't really do a much better job of explaining who Meraki is.
        As for google... sure I can do the job of the reporter, but that isn't what I am paying him for.

    • by jd2112 (1535857)
      Not surprising. A $1.2B acquisition for Cisco could be paid for out of petty cash.
    • Meraki will form Cisco’s new Cloud Networking group, led by Meraki CEO Sanjit Biswas. This purchases comes right on the heels of the $125 million purchase last week of Cloupia, which develops software that helps data center operators manage their resources. Meraki today supports 20,000 customers and hundreds of thousands of network devices on its platform. From the way things look Cisco is beefing up there cloud division with great software and great knowable staff as they compete with companies like
    • Re:Bad summary (Score:4, Informative)

      by mellon (7048) on Monday November 19, 2012 @02:54PM (#42029875) Homepage

      They do mesh networking, and remote management. So you buy a bunch of their boxes, hang them all over the place, hardwire them to your network where you can, rely on the mesh where you can't hardwire them. They form a mesh, which you manage from a web site Meraki runs. It's not a bad system for running a wifi infrastructure, if you don't mind the monthly fees and the somewhat underpowered routers.

      • by Xacid (560407)

        They make some really neat stuff - which is why it bums me out they're going to be under Cisco now.

      • by witherstaff (713820) on Monday November 19, 2012 @09:01PM (#42034595) Homepage

        Back when Meraki came out they were a great product. Cheap products that did mesh that just worked. I used them for years giving free wifi to a small area that transferred over 1TB to thousands of clients. Then Google bought them - or invested into them, not sure the exacts - and I didn't notice much of a difference at first. I wanted to expand my area and found the cheap products were end of lifed and no more. They had more expensive multiband gear and then enterprise. I could upgrade but it wasn't worth the expense to add two units when I could redo my whole area by going with openmesh. I've been happy with openmesh, another simple mesh wifi that just works. In fact I'm using it right now, my house is 2 hops from the commercial connection at the office, about 1km away.

        I never used the enterprise level gear. If it was as easy to use as the cheap gear I can see why it'd have value. I am surprised that it's a billion dollar value. I wonder how much profit Google made through this?

    • Re:Bad summary (Score:4, Informative)

      by Bryansix (761547) on Monday November 19, 2012 @04:25PM (#42031007) Homepage
      Let me reply since I actually support a Meraki network. The client already has it before we took them over. So basically on the service its just another networking gear vendor. However when you get into actually supporting it, its pretty nice. Instead of needing access to the internal network to manage things, we login to a central dashboard which is hosted by Meraki themselves. Because the device configuration is replicated on their servers then the support experience is different and improved because by simply knowing your account and the proper authorization, they can see your entire configuration. Furthermore the devices all talk to each other and of course to the dashboard. Now Cisco has this with its wireless controller hardware but its nowhere as easy to manage. Meraki has downsides too. One feature is an agent which tracks all the network devices both on and off the network. The agents exist for Windows, Mac IOS and Android. While the feature is cool, its now adding another thing which needs to be managed. They've had bugs too which were not very friendly to figure out like one that just randomly rebooted the firewall every so often. Overall though the experience has been good. If Cisco can integrate the best features of Meraki into its products then maybe the barrier to managing Cisco devices will finally go away.
      • by cusco (717999)
        More likely you'll see your nice Meraki management interface congeal into a useless lump of Cisco-ness. Made the mistake of "upgrading" the firmware on a Linksys business-class Layer 3 switch a couple of years after Cisco bought them. Lost several features, including the ability to manage VLANs through the web interface, PPTP connections went from 3 concurrent sessions to 1, port forwarding became almost impossible to find, and the local help file was deleted in favor of a link back to the mother ship (wh
  • by Kaenneth (82978)

    Just had a thought, what if one on the major tech companies (Google, Apple, MS...) bought Hostess?

  • This is the 5th or 6th story over the last week that I had already read about in the WSJ. Some of them were stories reported the day after they were in the WSJ.

    I'm not sure these stories are what I read /. for.

    • So, they shouldn't report on tech news just because it's reported somewhere else? I'm sure I'm not the only person here who doesn't read WSJ, and this very much does apply to what I do in tech.
  • Accidental Post? (Score:3, Informative)

    by clm1970 (1728766) on Monday November 19, 2012 @01:38PM (#42028855)
    Then I guess Meraki "accidentally" put out a FAQ on the acquisition too. http://www.meraki.com/company/cisco-acquisition-faq [meraki.com]
  • by hughbar (579555) on Monday November 19, 2012 @01:44PM (#42028949) Homepage
    Meraki is mesh wifi that grew out of Roofnet: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roofnet [wikipedia.org]. They sold 'open source' oriented mesh hardware for a while and then closed the infrastructure and raised prices. Declaration of interest, I got caught and remain mad with them, they're a good example of [what I call] 'open season', jackals who scavange on open-source. Here's some of the detail: http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/Meraki-Annoys-Partners-Customers-88249 [dslreports.com]

    Since there's been news of predatory and exaggerated pricing by Cisco recently: http://slashdot.org/index2.pl?fhfilter=cisco+pricing [slashdot.org] they'll make great partners. I'm not taking anything at all from either of them.
  • ... in Bitcoins.

  • The /. posting notes that Cisco was quick to remove the announcement however Meraki has yet to react. The post is in their "About Us" section, http://www.meraki.com/company/about

    "Cisco to acquire Meraki
    In November 2012, Cisco announced its intent to acquire Meraki for $1.2 billion in cash. When the acquisition completes, Meraki will form Cisco’s new Cloud Networking group, led by Meraki CEO Sanjit Biswas. Cisco and Meraki are committed to supporting Meraki’s customers and partners, and to contin

  • Could someone from the FCC please step in and stop Cisco's networking monopoly? Networking should be a commodity market but every time a networking vendor gets any traction in the market, Cisco snatches them up, marks up their product, and generally ensures that there is no legitimate competition.

    • Cisco is large, but hardly a monopoly or market leader anymore. HP, Shoretel, Mitel, Juniper, Dell, Palo Alto, Aruba, they're all here to eat Cisco's lunch one way or another. There's also Huawei and Alcatel-Lucent on the service-provider and mobility side of things. Cisco's major advantage comes from their roots in education; their certification exams are still the foundation of any networking career, and no other vendor has near as much reach today.
      • by Dishevel (1105119)

        People just love to scream "Monopoly".

      • Cisco may be overpriced by a good bit in a lot of areas, but they also have a lot of competition that is the equivalent to a Resident Evil zombie as far as intelligence goes.

        Example: Have you ever used dell switches? Go ahead, ask them the buffer sizes for the ports and or the backplane connection / ASIC mappings, good luck even *finding* someone who can tell you, because they sure aren't documented anywhere accessible.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Open-mesh.com [open-mesh.com] provides a similar capability with remote web management for much lower cost.

    If you need to do any wireless backhauls you can use Ubiquiti NanoBridges to create linked pockets of mesh routers.

    Meraki needed a "liquidity event," Cisco may regret this purchase.

  • Meraki is all about what I expected Networking to be in the future. Now Cisco buys it.

    I fear Cisco saw the increasing amount of customers asking why they don't do like Meraki. Hell, their battle cards even did not list anything negative about Meraki except that Meraki only had about one hundre employees.

    Well, now Cisco will probably freeze the features and start moving in their own technology as new features, where you have to buy large complex and expensive licenses for getting it all.

    Meraki was really st

    • by Dishevel (1105119)

      Their licensing prices were a bit high. The hardware a bit weak.
      I considered using them and even had a unit for about a month for evaluation.
      In the end I decided that though it was ok that for the company I work for I could not justify the cost increase for the feature set.

      • by bledri (1283728)

        Their licensing prices were a bit high. The hardware a bit weak.

        Well here's my prediction. The licensing fees are going to get much higher. The hardware will stagnate as Cisco spends time "Ciscoizing" it and then milking it for every last cent. One other thin, Meraki's engineers are about to get a taste of what happens when a company run by engineers (as Cisco once was) turns into a company run by MBAs (as Cisco is).

  • Cisco is know to buy companies that do things better than them. They have no R&D, but buy new technology instead. This was thought to me in university.

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