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Simplified User Experience and How SD-WAN is Disrupting the IT Industry

For a long time, when it came to IT, sleek design and user-friendly interfaces were secondary to functionality. However, that mentality has shifted to the point where now, design and user experience are just as important as ground level functionality. Today we discuss this shift with Daghan Altas, Director of Product and SD-WAN Strategy Lead at Meraki. With in depth experience and plenty of examples, the conversation sheds some light on the world of cloud-managed IT that simply works.

Back in 1984, a technology company popped up that used a shortened version of San Francisco as their name and an abstract take on the Golden Gate Bridge for their logo. That company, Cisco Systems, went on to become the largest networking company in the world. In 2012, Cisco acquired  Meraki, a cloud managed IT company that serves as the perfect example of an organization prioritizing design and UX. In Daghan’s words, “the world yearns for simplicity.” With their SD-WAN technology, they’ve been able to enrich network functions, disrupting the IT game as we know it, and helping customers cut costs while enhancing quality of service.

 

References and Resources

Cisco Meraki Solutions from Frontier Business

Frontier Business

Meraki SD-WAN

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Connect with Daghan on LinkedIn

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Host Skip Lineberg

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Send your feedback, comments and questions to BusinessEdge@Frontier.com

 

Podcast Transcription

Recording: Welcome to “Gain Your Edge,” the podcast created for IT professionals, business owners, and leaders, looking to sharpen their edge over the competition. Our ever perceptive host, Skip Lineberg, introduces you to industry thought leaders. Listen and learn from their insights as Skip gets inside the minds of our guest gurus, revealing new ideas, opportunities, and insightful updates for you. It’s all sponsored by Frontier, your edge in success.

Now, here is our host, Skip Lineberg.

Skip: Welcome to another exciting episode of “Gain Your Edge,” your twice a month podcast on all things IT. This is episode 42, and I’m your host, Skip Lineberg, Senior Marketing Manager with Frontier Communications. As always, we’re here to help you gain a competitive edge for your business.

It’s tough to tell when this shift happened, but somewhere in the IT timeline, sleek design and user-friendly interfaces became as important as ground level functionality for corporations, businesses, and enterprises of all sizes. That newfound sense of priority affects everything from fonts on IT companies’ websites to the nuts and bolts of their solutions, like their communications architecture.

One of the best examples of this shift is Meraki, a Cisco company with the stated purpose of providing 100% cloud-managed IT that simply works, and works simply. Joining us today from San Franscisco, California, is Daghan Altas, Meraki’s Director of Product Management at Cisco Meraki and leader of SD-WAN strategy for the Meraki team.

Good morning, Daghan. Thank you so much for joining us on the show today.

Daghan: Good morning, Skip.

Skip: Hey, we like to start every episode out with a little starter question, just to, sort of, warm the microphones, Daghan, if that’s okay with you.

Daghan: Go for it.

Skip: From the time you get up in the morning and to clicking off your light, and turning off your smartphone at the end of the day, what’s your favorite example of great design that you interact with, be it a product, graphic design, web design? Whatever it is, what would that be in your world?

Daghan: Do you mean to say that you turn off your smartphone when you go to bed?

Skip: Scratch that part of the question.

Daghan: To me, it’d be, without hesitation, Alexa from Amazon. And, I think, the litmus test for Alexa is that I have a daughter, she’s three years old, Matilda. And Matilda can listen to her favorite songs by talking to Alexa. So, that’s fascinating to me that, you know, the whole man-machine interaction is reduced to such a natural flow that a three year old can essentially connect to Spotify through Alexa and essentially listen to her favorite songs from “Moana,” the cartoon. So, I’m just blown away by the ability for that to why it’s gonna work so well.

Skip: I love that example. Daghan, we’re gonna get into the product details and nuances throughout the show, but to start out, can you tell our listeners a bit about Meraki, top level, high level, what the company is, who it’s for?. And would you also touch upon the relationship between Meraki and Cisco please?

Daghan: So, Meraki was an MIT project. I think it was founded around 2001 or 2002 by one of the legendary MIT professors called Robert Morris. And Robert Morris, for those of you who wanna follow the history of computer science, is the guy who invented the worm, the internet worm. So, he is the first person to have written a worm that actually took internet down, and got him into trouble a little bit. But, anyway, he’s a brilliant guy, and he has a lab in MIT, I think, in the CSAI, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence, area. And what they wanted to do was to really change the world. That’s obviously what these big schools want to do.

And they worked on a project called RoofNet. The idea was a incredibly simple, mesh wireless infrastructure that people can essentially kinda deploy in rural areas and, you know, I would say shanty towns in Brazil, or favelas, you know…I’m from Turkey, so that kind of, you know, rural refugee camps, in places where it’s typically hard to have an infrastructure. And the way the system was designed to work is that, so long as a few access points can have access to internet, the other access point can mesh around those “gateways” and provide a great service.

So, as a part of that project, the MIT people, they realized that not the users will have any IT knowledge. In fact, some of them will not even be well-versed in any education beyond the first level education. So, they wanted to do something as simple as possible, as simple as a toaster, where you just plug it online and it just works. So, that actually caught Google’s attention, and Google provided, sort of, the seed funding for Meraki to become a company. And Sikoya[SP] then realized, “Wait a minute, there’s these, you know, three brilliant guys from MIT, they wanna change the world.”

And Google got in on the action, and Meraki became a company, and over time, that idea of this super simple wireless turned into… And by the way, they invented the cloud management as a part of that because they realized they didn’t do cloud for cloud’s sake or because it was cool or is fashion, because, you know, there’s necessity, because there was no way they could tell people, “Well, here’s some wireless access points, but you gonna have to get these three controllers, get some firmware. We’re gonna have to teach you command line.”

So, from the day one, the DNA of Meraki was based around how can we radically simplify these concepts so people can just use it, and don’t have to spend, you know, months and, you know, millions of dollars in just building an infrastructure? And that’s the beginning of the Meraki. And [inaudible 00:05:54] into an enterprise product line, and I joined in 2010, and I basically was the first product manager to take Meraki from a two-play wireless into what we are, a full stack network vendor including security firewalls, routing, switching, cameras, phones, and [inaudible 00:06:14] mobile device management. So all that big, big, sort of, like, expansion to networking space.

And as we did that, we always stay true to our core belief that the world yearns for simplicity. Not simple, but simplicity. There’s a big a distinction. We’re not trying to essentially take away people’s ability to control or fine-tune their network, or do their job, we just wanna simplify the way they do that. And Cisco noticed that. Cisco noticed that in 2012, or, you know, according to the rumors I heard from the founders, a little earlier than that actually.

And eventually, in 2012, what the founders realized is that, for Meraki to reach its full potential and, you know, to really have a global access and then make an impact on people’s lives, and not just in big corporations in the United States, but in Sub-Saharan Africa, or in refugee camps in Greece, or, you know, after hurricane events in places like Puerto Rico. For Meraki to have an impact in those environments, Meraki has to be a part of a much, much bigger, a global organization. So…

Skip: Certainly.

Daghan: …they decided to essentially merge Meraki into Cisco. So, we got acquired by Cisco in December 2012. And we are now a business unit inside Cisco. We are called CNG, Cloud Networking Group. And we’ve been operating under the Cisco umbrella since the year 2012.

Skip: Perfect. What a great story. Very interesting. Thank you for sharing me history and background, and, sort of, the essence of Meraki because I think it’s very important as our listeners will learn as we talk through this, that the company’s approach to design is just essential to the products and the service, and, really, the whole culture of the company, isn’t it?

Daghan: Absolutely.

Skip: Well, for a lot of people, Daghan, whether they’re in the technology industry or not, IT and telecommunications world seems cluttered with jargon and buzzwords. In stark contrast to that, Meraki’s website and product offering stand apart as particularly approachable. Is that on purpose, and why is that important?

Daghan: Actually, it’s a very good question. And prior to joining Meraki…so I just don’t wanna to disclose my full bio here, but people can go find me on LinkedIn and you’ll see where I worked. We always had this tradition of really kinda jamming down people’s throat all these acronyms, the industry lingo. And Meraki took a different path because it was really about reaching the, I would say, disenfranchised people who are really, sort of, intimidated by the complexity of technology.

And basically, our approach was that people wanna be spoken to in plain English. And they wanna understand concepts in the language they understand. And I really credit the founders of Meraki, and also one of the VP of Product Marketing that was here during my time who since then left, Kiren Sekar, who worked very hard on making sure that all of us, sort of, like, lost that old habit of, you know, talking industry lingo, and tried extra hard to essentially kinda remain in the conversational English language, and it’s not easy. We struggled a lot. And even to this day…like, for example, one of the topics that is on the agenda today is SD-WAN, and is a clearly industry lingo.

So, you know, I’m not sure that we always succeed, but as much as possible, we try to, you know, stick to the neutral, plain English language.

Skip: Well, and it’s a breath of fresh air, I can tell you and I thank you for that approach that your company takes. It is completely and wholly aligned with the premise of our show, which is to take the jargon and the buzzwords out of technology, make it easy to understand, and communicate in a plain spoken way.

Daghan: Great to hear that. We’re gonna have a great conversation.

Skip: We are indeed. Could you please give our listeners an overview of SD-WAN, the architecture, the solution, the application, and what the benefits would be for those out in our audience, who might have a use for such a solution?

Daghan: Right. I think the SD portion of SD-WAN is also worth expanding, it stands for software-defined. And, you know, this is a wave of innovations or disruption in the networking space that started, I would say, probably five to six years ago. There was an acquisition from VMware called…I think, it’s a company called Nicira. So, they made SDN, software-defined networking. And then after that, came SD-WAN, which is Software-Defined Wide Area Networking. And now people are talking about a new concept called SDA, which is Software-Defined Access, which is what Cisco calls intent-based networking.

I guess what I’m trying to tell you is that this way of automating the network function is a big disruption, and it’s actually going to take us probably the next 5 to 10 years to essentially sort through because there’s a lot of things that will be redone, and there’s gonna be a lot of crazy and exciting innovations. So, it’s a wonderful time to be a customer. It’s also a wonderful time to be in this market. But let’s focus on the SD-WAN piece a little bit. I think, the best way I can explain that to you is that it’s actually maybe a little bit of Plato-esque, you know, question-answer dialogue, Skip. So, why don’t we start with that?

Let me return the question to you with this following questions. Do you drive long distance for any holiday, say, Thanksgiving or Labor Day, etc.?

Skip: Absolutely.

Daghan: Do you ever leave the house without Google Maps?

Skip: No. Never.

Daghan: Never, right? And if you think about it, you use Google Maps for two reasons, first, you wanna, you know, essentially find your destination, right, and then nobody uses these paper maps anymore. But you also wanna find alternative routes, because you know that over these long weekends, depending on the traffic, and the congestions, you know, you could spend hours, you know, stuck on the freeway, and then, yes, the map can sometimes offer you alternatives, say, “Hey, if you took this other path, you’re gonna get there 30 minutes faster.”

Skip: Yes, the map is more valuable when it shows the alternate routes and the impact of those alternate routes. Absolutely.

Daghan: So the networking people noticed that and they ask themselves, “Hey, why could we not do that?” That’s really SD-WAN. If you understand that Google Map example, I think, you understood the entirety of SD-WAN. Now, obviously, there’s a little bit more complexity to it, but this is the spirit of SD-WAN. Essentially, a smart network device should be able to look at the way you’re gonna take traffic, and that traffic can be your email traffic, credit card traffic, voice traffic. It could be documents, SDP, software updates, you name it. Whatever it is that you are doing on your network.

Skip: Maybe even video? Like, video conference, data from one location to another?

Daghan: Absolutely. And a network can say, “Okay, I need to take that traffic from San Francisco, where I’m at, to Skip in Charleston in West Virginia.” And the question is, what’s the best way to get there? And so, the network can be smart about that and say, “Okay, I see two paths, and one of them is, you know, half a second faster. I like that. Let’s do it.” So, that’s the, kind of, the essence of SD-WAN in terms of really understanding the network performance and making decisions so that your…we call them applications in networking lingo, but essentially, whatever traffic you’re trying to carry from point A to point B, based on the applications you have, choosing the best path.

And note that best path is not always the fast path, right? I mean, think about that, if you need to send me a packet today, depending on the urgency, you could overnight it, or you can send it over, you know, basically, kind of, you know, regular mail that may get here in seven days. But that’s okay because you save money. So, you wanted to, in the SD-WAN, the vendors, including Cisco, wanted to offer a way for customers to make that trade-off, so that for mission-critical traffic, and that is a traffic that is very sensitive to delay…and so what are those? Like, it could be video, it could be voice, it could be a credit card transactions again. Those are the type of traffic that are very, very unforgiving to delay.

And so for those traffic, you know, offer up a very, very fast and resilient, sort of, a traffic option, or, like, a, you know, routing option. And for everything else, offer something that is high in bandwidth. Not all, it can be a little slower. So, you know, it really allows you to essentially choose the best path or the application. And the big deal here is that…the “So what?” of this is that you tend to save a lot of money.

Skip: I get it. That’s a great illustration. Thank you for explaining it that way, Daghan. That is perfect. I get it. I get the concept, and it makes sense to me. So, Daghan, if you would, now I’m gonna ask you to contrast that with the old way in the traditional wide area network prior to the SD-WAN, how would we do that? Would it be a fixed path, there’s only way to get there? Or, what would the difference be with the old way prior to SD-WAN emerging?

Daghan: So, first of all, the old way had some advantages. Yeah, you know, basically, I just wanna make sure that people understand how the world is changing. The old way, or your traditional networking, is based on a networking, sort of, a, I would say an engineering concept called RC. And RC stands for Request for a Comment. And essentially, when people talk about things like routing protocol and things like that, these are established technologies that are supported by all kinds of vendors. You know, you can buy it from Cisco, you can buy it from competitors. They interoperate with each other, i.e., they follow a standard.

And, you know, the old way was a very standard way of doing things, and essentially you could mix and match all kinds of gear from all kinds of vendors, and things would work well, and because they all adhere to the same standards. It’s like akin to say that your TV can be from Samsung and your, you know…you can have an Apple TV player that is, you know, as long as they both have an HDMI interface, things are gonna work. So, that was the old way. And so, it gave you the interoperability.

In the SD-WAN, one thing we lost is interoperability. Perhaps, one day we will have that. But assuming that that’s something that you can essentially let go, the benefits of that is that now you can have a, sort of, a system end to end from, like, basically branch A to branch B, or, from your data center to your other locations. And essentially, you are now application aware. That is a big deal. The old way did not know anything about your applications. So, you couldn’t tell the old system, “Hey, this stuff is urgent. Deal with it differently.”

And since you couldn’t do that, you either had to send everything very fast and urgently, therefore, spending a lot of money.

Skip: FedEx everything from me to you, right?

Daghan: Yeah. You are overnighting everything. Imagine that you have an Amazon account, like, you know, we talked about Alexa and your shopping? Imagine that every time you put a, I don’t know, a book there for Christmas, it overnights your house for $5, right? So, that would not be workable. Or, imagine the other solution, where you need something super fast because tomorrow is your, you know, wedding anniversary and the gift is gonna arrive in seven days. That’s not gonna work either, so you need that flexibility based on the package you’re delivering. You want it to be super fast and really expensive, or perhaps a little slower but actually cost-effective. And the old way did not have that distinction. It was always the same way. So, you either had to spend too much money or you were too slow.

So, SD-WAN solves that problem. With SD-WAN, you can essentially say, “Look, I’m gonna have two circuits, one will be fast, one will be high bandwidth.” So, I’ll be able to choose, pick and choose what goes where, and I will be application aware. So, I will be able to tell my users, “Look, when you make a phone call, it’s gonna go super fast. When you check your email, it may take a second, but boy, you’ll be able to see all the videos you want because we have all the bandwidth you need.” So, this really gives that flexibility of having the bandwidth and having the fast speed side by side, and having a system that can actually be smart about what applications according to the system.

Skip: Daghan, I’m learning a lot. We’re gonna pause right here for just a short break as we hear from our show’s sponsor, Frontier Business. Don’t go anywhere. You won’t wanna miss a single minute of this fascinating conversation.

Recording: The best edge in business is inspiration. If you are inspired by this podcast and today’s topic, Frontier is ready to help you to put that inspiration into action. For a free consultation and to learn more about communication solutions that give your business an edge over the competition, call us at 888-200-0603. That’s 888-200-0603. Or, send an email to businessedge@frontier.com. Frontier, the edge you need to succeed.

Now, back to the podcast.

Skip: Welcome back to “Gain Your Edge.” Today, we’re talking about networking and SD-WAN with Daghan Altas from Meraki. Daghan, we just had a great discussion about SD-WAN. You’ve educated us as to what that solution is, how it’s different, some applications and uses for it. Let me ask you now to talk about the Meraki approach to SD-WAN. SD-WAN, of course, just to reiterate or recap, Software-Define Wide Area Network. How is the Meraki approach to that different or better?

Daghan: I think that better is a subjective term. So, I’m going to, sort of, steer clear of that. But I do believe whole-heartedly that our approach is different. And it really goes back to the very first question that you and I talked about, the simplicity of the product so that my daughter, my three-year-old daughter, could use it. So, it is our DNA, the Meraki DNA is based on…and, in fact, our mission statement is based on simplicity so that we can empower people to do what they are attempting to do, and not essentially get side-tracked by, you know, a science project that is supposed to be just a simple network roll-out.

So, we worked tirelessly just to essentially simplify seemingly complex network functions into a bunch of “features.” And when we look at the SD-WAN, it was abundantly obvious to us that it was a transformational technology, but it is also baseline technology. What I mean by that is that it wasn’t this [inaudible 00:20:23] case, you know, feature that, you know, maybe out of 100 customers, we have only 2 or 3 would like. No. We felt like this is exactly like Google Maps. Every single smartphone user has Google Maps. Every single Meraki network user will wanna have SD-WAN.

And so, what we did is that we essentially said, “What about having an SD-WAN product?” And that is, I think, the typical strategy today. When you look at the market, what you’ll see is a lot of SD-WAN products. We felt, like, the end game in the industry was going to look like an SD-WAN feature in existing products, you know, because I do not believe that any router, any modern router, or any modern branch firewall cannot survive in the next five years without having SD-WAN capabilities built into them.

So, that was our big bet. We said, “The world does not need another SD-WAN product. The world needs a simple product that includes SD-WAN capability in it.” So, that’s been our approach, to essentially simplify and bring the SD-WAN capability to our existing security appliances. So, net result is that when you have a Meraki branch or Meraki office or a headquarter, and you have the Meraki, what we call the full stack, it comes with the built-in SD-WAN. And it’s just a matter of turning it on.

Skip: I see. Okay. Well, that’s cool. That sounds like a great approach to the design and a great approach to evolving the product.

Daghan: That’s right. If you look at it, right? I mean, you buy an iPhone, it comes with Google Map application. Now, you may not like it, you may go elsewhere to buy another map application, but by default the phone says, “Hi, I know pretty much that without a map, I’m not a very powerful product. So, we’re gonna give you that option.” So, similarly, at Meraki, we felt like we had to have this based into our base fundamental technology so that every existing and new Meraki customer can have access to it.

Skip: Sure. Smart approach. Hey, Daghan, it seems like in a lot of ways, Meraki is really taking a step forward on simplifying solutions. You’ve talked about that. I think at this stage in our discussion, as we start to see your approach to designing products and solutions, that it would be helpful to frame up, sort of, a case study example for our audience to talk about, you know, communicating between facilities across great distances, and moving those packets or applications as we talked about earlier. And if you would contrast the Meraki SD-WAN solution and architecture to the way something would have been handled with traditional architecture, and in moving information and data, and voice and video signals across the wide area network just a few years ago. Could you make that contrast for us in the case of a real world example?

Daghan: Absolutely. So, I wanna talk about a very large rental car company, and if you think about how they did things in the past, you could have a, sort of, a… And by the way, so this is an interesting point is that if you wanna have a bigger impact about how to, you know, simplify your operations and, you know, really, you know, increase the productivity or your employees and reduce downtime or IT-related issues, you also have to think a little bit more holistically, meaning that, you know, your impact or your change will be really proportional to the amount of scope you have.

So, for instance, if you change one access point, it would just improve the wireless in one area of your network. If you look and change the entire network, and, you know, certainly, you have a much bigger impact of the quality of the network, but you also can look even beyond that. And a good example is that every single customer who comes to Meraki is really looking for a fundamental migration to the cloud. We’ve seen this a lot with, for example, Office365, I don’t wanna share anecdotal information we get from Microsoft, but we do now know that Office365 revenue and growth is a huge, substantial part of their business. So, a lot of their customers are moving to the cloud.

So, when you look at a company that says, “Okay. If I’m gonna move to the cloud, how can I shift some weight? How can I simplify and streamline my operations? So, you know, do I need a whole bunch of security appliances, routers, and, you know, like, switches from different vendors, access points from different vendors in my, you know, branch networks? You know, higher hours’ worth of consulting services to set simple things like routing or VPN establishment so my two locations can help each other? How do I deal with my guest wireless, my guest users? Do I need to generate passwords every day?”

So, you look at all these complexities, and that’s the thing that Meraki automates and simplifies. You know, we have customers that can roll up to 11,000 locations in less than 4 months because we can create that simplicity automation in cloud, sort of, like, orchestrated network generation. Hopefully that makes sense. I used some lingo words there, but the idea is that when you can have this level of automation and innovation between devices, it becomes far easier to deploy these things.

And the net result is that you have a, you know, rental car company that went from a in-house application that they do all of that rental on those, you know, like, black and green terminals into Chrome desktops, a net-based reservation app, a seamless and lightweight VPN that allows them to connect back to their mothership and essentially, I would say, like millions and millions of dollars of savings.

And in fact, the same as they did, by essentially, sort of, like, rightsizing their network circuit, allowed them to fund this project within…essentially, pay back the project in six months.

Skip: Wow. I get from that, too, from the characterization that you provided that the Meraki SD-WAN solution sheds weight for companies. They are less sluggish and they become more nimble, more free to operate and reconfigure their business in a very quick and easy manner. Is that a good assessment of the spirit of it?

Daghan: Yeah. I mean, the old circuits, the old way of…you know, old network designs are not designed for bandwidth-hungry cloud world. Think about it. You wanna have a cloud-based storage like Box or Dropbox? You know, if you have a relatively old network, it’s going to completely drain your network. Or, we had one retailer who said, “Well, I have [inaudible 00:26:41] with Meraki and wireless, let’s just turn it on to a guest wireless.” And they brought the entire network down. Why? Because essentially, their links are saturated with people trying to watch YouTube videos. So, you cannot just loop things in a just very narrow perspective. You have to say, “Okay, well, I have a full network, and what will happen if I have thousands of people as guests every day?”

And so, SD-WAN gives you that flexibility to that you can adopt the cloud, you can adopt IoT devices, and you can essentially embrace your customers.

Skip: Perfect. Daghan, for larger businesses with still a wide geographic footprint, why is, perhaps, SD-WAN a powerful opportunity and how should they approach it?

Daghan: So, I will claim that if I’m a large business, there’s probably an ongoing, very active conversation in my IT team about SD-WAN because this cat is out of the bag. And if you’re one of those rare customers who haven’t had the chance to look into it, I would say that, if you look at your IT budget, and you look at what would it take for you to run an exceptionally high quality network experience for generation X…because your employees now are basically expecting at least as good of a network experience as they…at home, and everybody [inaudible 00:27:49], from my personal experience, the day I drop below 100 megabits per second in my home network is the day I go, “Huh, what’s going on today?”

So, I’m used to that unfettered, gushing throughput network access, and everybody else is so in their home networks. So, you don’t want your employees to come from that home experience to the office and feel like they’re in an AOL Online 56 kilobits per second, you know, dial up, you know, feeling. They wanna make sure that they can use their applications, you know, collaborate with their colleagues. And a lot of the applications they use are cloud-based.

So, how do you balance that insatiable appetite for bandwidth with your ability to deliver critical applications and your SLA? Well, SD-WAN gives you all that. And if you’re already doing that without SD-WAN, chances are you’re spending an extraordinary amount of money. So, you basically…the offer or the invitation is the following: you either can have a cloud-ready network and essentially, you know, like, do that in a very fiscally prudent manner, or, if you already went down to a cloud-ready network with all the bandwidth you need, but you actually, you know, like, sort of, optimize your system for the worst-case scenario, which means that you over-provision your bandwidth and your SLAs, SD-WAN can help you, sort of, fine-tune that and still maintain the same SLA and risk profile but save a lot of money.

Skip: That sounds really good. Daghan, as we’re coming down the home stretch here with our show today, I wanted to ask you to talk a little bit about the relationship between our two companies, Frontier is a proud partner with Meraki, a relationship that has melded two strong companies with granular customer focus mentalities. Can you talk a bit about what that partnership has brought out, Daghan, and what products and solutions are available through this Frontier-Meraki partnership?

Daghan: So, I think, one of the things I wanna credit Frontier as being an early adopter of our full stack strategy, meaning that you and the organization have seen the value and the benefits of not just offering point products to customers that actually solve important, but relatively, I would say, unlimited problems. Rather than doing that, you’ve essentially taken the approach of, “Look, we can transform this network. Yeah, we can improve your wireless, but we can also transform this entire network so that you have the best visual network ready for the cloud era.”

And to us, the translation of that into nuts and bolts is the Meraki full stack, that automation, that, sort of, like, a modern network design. And Frontier has been one of our, sort of, our early partners in adapting that and has a very, very strong practice in both the K-12 market, and the commercial market. So, it’s kinda nice to see that it kinda spreads into both markets.

And also, it’s not just about selling the gear and moving on, I do know that Frontier has a managed service offer with Meraki, which is wonderful. I love that offer, which basically gives the customer an incredibly easy, predictable way to consumer our services. You know, you essentially, engage in a managed service level, and essentially, kind of, like, outsource some of these…like, even though Meraki is simplified, it’s still a network management. So, you know, somebody has to run that network. And if I’m a small business, perhaps I don’t have anybody, I don’t wanna put anybody on my payroll, what a wonderful way to consume the entire networking stack with the help of Frontier, using this Frontier MSP offer.

Skip: Yes, Daghan, it’s a strong partnership indeed. I wanna ask you this question before I let you go, with thanks, of course. But when it’s time to disconnect from technology, Daghan, when you are ready to relax and unwind, what’s your favorite way to spend a relaxing Saturday afternoon in Northern California?

Daghan: Sailing in the bay. Nothing beats sailing in the San Francisco Bay.

Skip: Yes, yes. Have you done it recently?

Daghan: I did. Not as frequently as I want, but, you know, every now and then when I can, I do.

Skip: Sailing on the bay. It sounds wonderful. Daghan, thank you so much for taking time to talk to us today. Meraki is a really exciting addition to the IT universe, and it’s been a privilege to chat with you about where business technology is headed.

Daghan: My pleasure. Thank you, Skip.

Skip: For more information about what Frontier and Meraki can do for you, visit business.frontier.com/cisco. That brings us to the bottom of episode 42. Sure have enjoyed it today. I hope you have, too. That’s all the time we have for this show. If you found this information today useful, share the link where you’re listening to this show, frontier.com/gainyouredge.

Please join me, Skip Lineberg, next time on “Gain Your Edge.” Until then, have a great week.

Frontier Business

Frontier Communications offers voice, broadband, satellite video, wireless Internet data access, data security solutions, bundled offerings, specialized bundles for small businesses and home offices, and advanced business communications for medium and large businesses in 28 states and with approximately 18,600 employees based entirely in the United States.