This the first of a series of posts containing my thoughts and reviews of the vendors and products present at #WFD2.
One of the interesting products or features that Meraki demonstrated at Wireless Field Day 2 was Systems Manager. Basically, Systems Manager is an MDM solution which is baked into the Meraki Cloud Controller. Here is a 5 minute video demonstration I've created showing some of the features:
I think the ability to do MDM and application management directly from your WLAN administration console is pretty slick. Meraki has built an impressively simple tool which is easy to use, and has a moderate set of features. The tool, which is included with the enterprise subscription, requires no additional licenses or upgrades.
Right now, in the words of Sam Clements, Meraki has done 20% of the work to get 80% of the benefits with Systems Manager. That is to say, it definitely covers the basics of MDM but there are certainly some additions required to get the last 20% of effectiveness as a solution.
Some features I would like to see are:
- Ability to block or remove installed applications. [Update: This feature actually is currently available. Please see the comment by Pablo for details.]
- Android support.
- Ability to provision WLAN settings.
- More options for email alerts.
- More message logging functionality. (This is interesting from a privacy standpoint since it would be logging to the 3rd party cloud vendor.)
Issues and Limitations during testing:
- Remote desktop didn't work everytime. Sometimes it just died on me.
- My iMac reported no applications installed. This might just be because Systems Manager only queries apps on iOS devices though. [Update: Turns out my Mac should be reporting the apps but isn't for some reason. More investigation on my part required.]
- I didn't test a Windows machine.
- While I tested the remote lock function (it took about 20 seconds), I did not test the remote wipe functionality.
Meraki's Systems Manager is impressive in it's simplicity. It's a great solution for anyone who is currently running a Meraki network and is looking for a straight-forward, and basic MDM solution for Windows, Mac OS X, and iOS devices. However, the lack of message/image logging, data encryption controls, and other advanced MDM features certainly limit the applicable scope of the solution; for now anyway. Meraki tends to roll out innovations fairly quickly so it'll be interesting to watch this product evolve in 2012.
Disclosure: As a delegate of Wireless Field Day 2, I attended a presentation at Meraki HQ where I received an evaluation access point and cloud controller licensing. I am also currently employed by a Meraki partner VAR.