D&H Distributing Now Offering Cisco's Meraki Cloud-Managed Wi-Fi

D&H Distributing has added Cisco's Meraki wireless access points to its portfolio in a move the distributor says will open up new recurring revenue streams for solution providers and nudge them closer to the cloud services model.

"This is definitely a good stepping stone for some of our smaller partners, who are looking at cloud solutions and looking at cloud services and want to make a foray in that direction," said Nick Courtney, executive director of Cisco sales at D&H.

Meraki is positioned by Cisco as a cloud-managed wireless infrastructure, meaning the Meraki access points can be deployed, configured and managed entirely through the cloud. Cisco acquired Meraki in 2012 for $1.2 billion.

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The Meraki portfolio has been a hit with Cisco partners, allowing them to wrap a managed services opportunity around each sale of a Meraki wireless access point. Last year, Cisco rolled out the Meraki Managed Services Dashboard, a software portal where partners can go to monitor and manage multiple end-users' wireless infrastructures from a single pane of glass.

Courtney said adding Meraki to D&H's Cisco lineup will help Cisco partners -- especially those focused on the SMB market -- build out or broaden their cloud services practice. He said D&H has compiled a dedicated team of Meraki specialists to serve as a resource to those Cisco SMB partners looking to tap into the services opportunities that come with selling the solution.

"We are there to augment Meraki's value-add, not just in terms of the technology itself, but how [solution providers] route to market," Courtney said. "As they go up that learning curve, we have our technologists already Cisco-Meraki-certified to make sure the existing Cisco-certified channel can be brought up to speed quickly on this product line."

D&H will be holding a number of training webinars over the coming months, Courtney said, for solution providers interested in selling Meraki. The first in the series will kick off on Tuesday, June 24.

In addition, D&H is offering a dedicated Partner Services template, a tool solution providers can use to market the Meraki solution to end customers. Courtney said the template, available next month, is completely customizable, allowing solution providers to embed their own logos.

"We will provide those kinds of tools free of charge," Courtney said.

Kenny Keller, IT manager at EMSCO Solutions, an Oklahoma City-based Cisco partner, said he had been asking D&H to start offering Meraki since it was acquired by Cisco in 2012. He said EMSCO, which was a Meraki partner even before the Cisco buy, continues to see strong growth with the product.

"The way it runs and the way you can manage it -- there isn’t anything else like it," Keller said. "With everything they have built into it, I don't think anyone else can catch up anytime soon."

Keller said the Meraki Managed Services Dashboard has especially been a game-changer, allowing EMSCO support staff to monitor and troubleshoot customers' wireless infrastructures directly from their tablets or smartphones.

"On the management side, it just makes it 100 times easier," Keller said.

EMSCO last year did about $10,000 a month in Meraki sales, Keller said, and is on track to do between $15,000 and $20,000 a month in 2014.

Meraki also has been one of Cisco's hottest-selling products since the acquisition. In its third-quarter earnings results, announced last month, Cisco said wireless sales were up 3 percent year-over-year, thanks largely to ongoing traction with Meraki.