Networking - Jan 21, 2021

Making Meraki licensing simple...

by Niamh Burgess-Smith

Meraki has one of the most powerful, scalable and easy-to-use networking systems in the market. Its cloud-based system allows for single-pane-of-glass access to a network of thousands of devices, regardless of geographic location. These simple plug-and-play features are all enabled by the Meraki licenses, meaning without the relevant licensing all the amazing features, which makes Meraki such an easy product to use, are no longer available. Important then that we understand licensing, so that we are making the best use of it for our estate

Meraki currently offers two types of licensing models: a new, per-device licensing (PDL) model and a co-termination licensing model (co-term). One of the most frequently asked questions regarding Meraki licensing is, what is the best model? There are a few important differences between the two models to consider when deciding which model is best for you.


Meraki Co-Term Licensing

Co-term is the model all licenses will automatically start on and, as the name states, this model will co-term all your license end dates to a singular date, no matter when the devices were purchased.

Co-term licensing is applied on an organisation-wide basis. Meraki will calculate the date dynamically and automatically, so you don’t have to worry about the intricacies. The calculations are based on a weighted average of all the licenses associated with your organisation. This takes into account the duration of the new licenses, license type and quantity, to create a daily dollar rate per device. This will look different for each business depending on what devices you have. This, in general, means that you can continue to extend the renewal date by purchasing new devices with licenses. This also works the other way round, so if you retire items you no longer need and detach the licence the value of support is returned to the pool to top up all of your other devices still in service.


Meraki Per Device Licensing (PDL)

PDL requires moving away from Co-term in the licensing dashboard, and once the change has been made to the per device model, there is no option to go back.
PDL is done individually, this means that the license expiration is for the exact duration of the licenses purchased. Therefore, allowing you to assign a license to a specific device and maintain separate expiration dates across devices, networks or organisations.


So what model is better?

Although licensing your devices is mandatory, there is no right or wrong model. Both models provide the same features, costs the same overall and will need renewing one way or another. But the decision sits more with what suits your license management style and requirements.
Are your hands on and like a little flexibility? If yes, then PDL could be for you. PDL ensures that every device has active licenses, and you renew each individually. Licenses on a PDL model won’t activate until associated to a device or 90 days after purchase, which provides some extra flexibility in contrast to co-term which will activate as soon as they have been purchased. As PDL associate’s licenses to individual devices, if a license expires, only the device the license is associated to will be deactivated. For small implementations or for that granular level of control, PDL will suit your rollout and spreads your payments.

Are your hands-off with predictable license growth? If yes, then Co-Term could be for you. Organisations with a large Meraki estate, renewing individual devices isn’t feasible and increases risk of renewals being missed and devices becoming inactive. But, the model does consolidate your expiry to one date, the more you add the further forward this date goes. Unlike PDL, your management of licensing sits at a general level, knowing you have one bulk payment to take care of.

We hope this has helped you understand Meraki licensing and given you the information required to make the best decision for your own organisation. Bechtle are here to support and advise on all of your requirements end to end with Meraki demos, set-up, on-going management all the way through to end user training. With deep experience bringing Meraki solutions to organisations and awarded Cisco’s Enterprise Partner of the Year 2020, Bechtle are here to help.

Written by

Niamh Burgess-Smith
Business Solutions


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This post was published on Jan 21, 2021 and updated on Jan 21, 2021.