Cisco Meraki Cloud Networking
The Cisco Meraki datacenter architecture, the result of over six years of continued research and development, enables rich features at scale and provides high availability and security for networks of any size.
Massively scalable distributed architecture
Unlike monolithic systems which present single points of failure and performance chokepoints, Cisco Meraki's back-end design spreads computation and storage across independent server clusters. These clusters are provisioned in a manner that provides virtually infinite scaling of back-end resources as customer demand increases. Any server or server cluster can fail without affecting customers or the rest of the system. Cisco Meraki's distributed architecture is field-proven in networks serving hundreds of thousands of clients.
Real-time geographic redundancy
The Cisco Meraki cloud infrastructure is distributed across multiple datacenters around the world. Each customer's data, including network configuration and historical statistics, is replicated across at least three independent datacenters. Customer data is replicated between datacenters in near real time. If an entire datacenter was to be rendered unavailable due to a natural disaster or other major disruption, customers' networks would simply migrate to another datacenter, with all user data available and up to date. This redundancy and failover is entirely transparent to the network administrator, and all networks, big and small, achieve ultra-high levels of reliability out of the box.
Proprietary high-capacity cloud database
In order to store rich, fine-grained metrics for millions of client devices, Cisco Meraki developed a proprietary database optimized for speed, scalability, and reliability. Like ultra-large scale Internet services including Google and Facebook, Cisco Meraki's database workload exceeds the limits of traditional, off-the-shelf data storage solutions. Cisco Meraki's datastore exceeds 10 billion rows — including fine grained usage metrics for the millions of end-users who have connected to Cisco Meraki networks. Cisco Meraki's database technology, purpose-built for large scale cloud managed networks, provides real-time search and reporting for networks of any size.
Distributed Packet Processing:
Cisco Meraki executes packet processing at the edge. Each wireless access point features a high performance CPU that enforces layer 3-7 firewall policies, application QoS, network access control (NAC), and more. Cisco Meraki networks scale seamlessly: add capacity by simply deploying more APs, without concern for controller bottlenecks or choke points.
Security and QoS enforced at the access point
Every Cisco Meraki wireless access point is built with the packet processing resources to secure and control its client traffic, without need for a wireless LAN controller. Cisco Meraki APs are built with a high performance CPU, hardware-accelerated encryption, and extended memory resources to implement stateful firewall policies, voice and video optimization, and even layer 7 traffic classification and QoS.
Decentralized processing scales without bottlenecks
Since each AP can independently enforce policies for the clients it serves, adding capacity to the network is as simple as plugging in more APs. These APs can extend coverage to new areas, add capacity to dense environments like auditoriums, or even light up new branches. While traditional WiFi controllers require forklift upgrades, Cisco Meraki is proven to scale seamlessly from a small branch with just once access point, to a large network with over 10,000 APs.
Resilient architecture with no single point of failure
By eliminating WiFi controllers, Cisco Meraki's decentralized architecture also eliminates the single point of failure inherent in traditional wireless LANs. Power outages, disrupted network connectivity, or hardware failures in one segment of the network have no effect on the wireless LAN as a whole. Cisco Meraki devices are designed to operate even when disconnected from the Cisco Meraki cloud, providing continued end-user LAN connectivity and security in the event of a WAN failure.
Real-Time Cloud Management:
Cisco Meraki's patented real time communication protocols enable administrators to manage networks from the cloud, without sacrificing control and responsiveness. Cisco Meraki developed a purpose-built protocol that delivers rich bidirectional information securely, with minimal bandwidth overhead.
Custom-designed real time tunnel
Cisco Meraki devices — wireless APs, switches, and security appliances — provide a rich stream of real time information to the Cisco Meraki cloud. This communication is key to the extensive visibility and control afforded by the Cisco Meraki platform. Instead of burdening the network with high overhead, poor responsiveness, and complex configuration, Cisco Meraki engineers developed and patented a lightweight, secure, zero-configuration control tunnel that provides rich real time data without compromising efficiency.
Ultra-efficient compression protocols
Each Cisco Meraki device streams rich monitoring and usage metrics to the cloud, providing administrators with real time "remote hands" tools, detailed event logs, searchable databases, and rich reports on application, device, and client usage. Custom designed communications protocols deliver this extensive information without introducing network overhead. In fact, each Cisco Meraki device typically utilizes 1 kb/s or less. Advanced compression algorithms minimize overhead without introducing latency or performance burdens.
Seamless high availability
Cisco Meraki's control tunnel supports seamless high availability. Every Cisco Meraki network is backed by at least three independent datacenters, and the management tunnel between Cisco Meraki devices and the cloud automatically connects to the right datacenters, handling failover seamlessly.