I have been a Systems Manager user for several years and wondered what this will mean to our organization and I. Although Meraki has offered a pay (Enterprise) version for awhile, they have always had the free version, which is what we use for iOS management. Last week, I was able to speak with Saralyn Koenig who is an MDM specialist with Cisco Meraki. She answered my questions about the consolidation and some new features coming with the Enterprise version.
Q - We currently have around 600 iPads in our free Systems Manager dashboard. What are our options?
A - You could stay with the free version. As legacy customers, you are able to do that. If you are new to Systems Manager, you will only be able to use the free version if you have a client count under 100 devices. You could also upgrade to the Enterprise version and pay for each client.
Q - If we can stay on the free version, why would we want to upgrade?
A - With the Enterprise version you get support. You will also be provided with update features.
Q - Will the free version not get updates?
A - The free version will not receive all the updates and feature releases that the Enterprise version will. It is possible that some updates, for example, updates associated with iOS updates may be included in both products but there are no guarantees.
Q - What types of features will I receive in the Enterprise version that I do not currently have?
A - Specifically with the MDM portion of the Systems Manager Enterprise, you will find several useful features. One feature is the ability to whitelist and blacklist apps. While you cannot prevent installing blacklisted apps, you can set a policy to notify an administrator or even block the device from the internet. Another feature will assist with managing shared iOS devices. Users will be able to authenticate on the device and then have a specific set of apps and settings deployed. Lastly, Meraki is planning on releasing a teacher management app. Some features will include the ability for teachers to unlock devices and to lock devices into a single app.
Q - How will the pricing model work?
A - The pricing will be based on device count. Like all Meraki products, you will be able to purchase one, three and five year licenses.
Q - If I need to add devices to my dashboard will I have to purchase the licenses first or will there be a grace period?
A - You can enroll the devices and then make sure you purchase the licenses to cover them within 30 days.
Q - If I have under 100 devices and I want access to the Enterprise features what should I do?
A - You should upgrade to Enterprise, but you have under 100 devices so you will not be billed. Once you add the 101st device, you will be bill for all devices. Also, if you are a new client you can enroll in Enterprise and pay nothing as long as you are under 100 devices. It is important to note that users in this scenario (no pay) will not have access to support.
Q - What does the pricing look like?
A - You will need to contact a Meraki reseller for pricing, but it will be very competitive with current pay for products available.
Q - Anything else we should know?
A - We are currently in a window where we are offering steep discounts for educational institutions to convert to Enterprise. That window will likely close on June 1, 2015. Also, if you want to see what features you will get in Enterprise, you can demo it for a few weeks.
I want to thank Saralyn for taking the time to answer these questions for me. I plan on demoing the Enterprise version and will put out a post on how that goes.
Jason Marshall - Technology Consultant