Meru Networks Launches SDN App Store, Management Platform

Wireless infrastructure vendor Meru Networks this week rolled out Meru Center, a new software platform that offers users a central point of management for Meru wireless access points and applications.

The platform, slated for availability in the fourth quarter, also includes the new Meru App Store, an online storefront for Meru applications, including those specifically targeted at software-defined networking.

"Today, those that are going out and purchasing our software services, they are being purchased in silos," said Dennis Huang, director of product marketing at Meru, Sunnyvale, Calif. "With this, Meru Center, it brings all these applications into one house, one platform."

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To that end, Meru Center serves as a one-stop shop for accessing four of Meru's main software offerings: Meru Network Manager for managing, configuring and monitoring a Meru wireless LAN; Meru Connect for managing mobile device on-boarding and guest access; Meru Spectrum Manager for identifying sources of wireless interference; and Meru Services Assurance Manager for performing what Meru calls predictive "health checks" on network applications.

Meru Center also includes a real-time dashboard that collects and displays all the metrics from these four applications.

In addition, the platform acts as a single location for administrators to allocate storage and memory and manage single-sign-on and backup for these Meru applications.

"It greatly streamlines the process of installing these network applications," Huang said.

Kevin Leibl, president of Advanced Network Systems, a Charlottesville, Va.-based Meru partner, agreed that Meru Center will greatly simplify the deployment of new Meru applications both for end customers and for partners.

"Having a single interface where all the applications are running and a single pane of glass where we can go and look at everything -- it streamlines the whole process," Leibl said.

Leibl added that the 60-day free trial program Meru is offering for Meru Center is also a win for partners.

"The [Meru] applications are so powerful, but a lot of times it's hard to get a customer to bite when you got through a long, drawn-out demo process," Leibl said. "Now, I can plug it, turn it on, give them a month's worth of data and say, 'This is why you need this.' "

The Meru App Store, meanwhile, will host a number of applications -- developed either by Meru or partners -- that are designed specifically for SDN environments.

Out of the gate, Meru is offering two SDN applications: Meru Collaborator for Microsoft Lync, which prioritizes the Lync applications running on either Meru or non-Meru networks; and Personal Bonjour, which locates Apple's Bonjour services on a network and advertises those services to mobile users based on existing network policies.

Huang said the Meru Center platform itself is available at no charge either through a Meru hardware appliance or via download on Meru's support website. Users do pay, however, to access and use the applications inside the platform.