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MSP and ownership of hardware

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MSP and ownership of hardware

I am wanting to use Meraki equipment in my Security as a Service packages for my customers where I will maintain ownership of the hardware and licensing.  I ran into a brick wall today with ordering equipment where I was told I had to provide end user info for the customer.  Since I am the owner of the equipment I put my company in as the customer.  I was then told that was not acceptable and I needed to provide the actual customer info.  I then supplied the customer information but used my managed services email address and was then told that was not acceptable and needed to provide the end user email address.  I am having trouble with this since the equipment could be moved to a different customer. In this scenario I do not want to the customer to have access to the system and do not want to tie the license to the customers email address.  Also, I was told that we cannot stock equipment since every piece of equipment has to be tied to a customer.  I do not want to get into a situation where a customer calls into Meraki for support or get into an ownership issue.  If the license is in the customers name how can I show that I am the owner and not the customer? There are many scenario's such as having to terminate service for non-payment or maybe the customer decides to purrchase equipment and then uses the license, that we paid for, in the new equipment.

 

Does Meraki not have a model for MSP's where we can own the equipment without having to provide customer information?  I do not want any emails going to the customer that would allow them access to the dashboard information since they may later say they are the owner. 

 

I really like the product but it seems that there really isnt any options.  I was hoping someone here could help me wrap my head around this.  Maybe this is not the right solution and I need to look at another product?

 

Thanks for any thoughts or input.

12 REPLIES
Head in the Cloud

Re: MSP and ownership of hardware

I really don't understand why having you as end customer is not acceptable. I suggest to ask Meraki why exactly this isn't possible. Like you said, by all means these stay in your ownership.

 

It might have to do with the hierarchy of how the dashboard works. In your case you could have one organization and a network per customer. That means site to site vpn might get confusing because you would be interconnecting clients. Templates would also be shared for all customers then. Having multiple organisations with you as admin is technically possible. All organisations you're admin of would appear in your so called MSP dashboard. But I guess it's what Meraki is opposing to.

 

Also having hardware on stock should be no problem. But having licenses on stock is because their time start running upon delivery, not when you add them to the dashboard.

Getting noticed

Re: MSP and ownership of hardware

Hello

 

Where are you based geographically?

 

Based on my findings this is related to Meraki/Cisco compensation and Meraki licensing co-termination model as both are designed per end customer not per MSP. I´m eagerly anticipating MSP model for EMEA because I´ve understood that for US Meraki is currently offering a suitable model for MSPs where purchasing and device changes between different Meraki orgs/networks are doable. There also seems to be an Enterprise agreement for US end customers but this is a bit off topic.

 

What you can do however is that you can buy additional HW without a license and stock it. This said it would still require end customer details to be processed but anyway this works. Example scenarios which I´ve found pretty common: production for customer running on MX HA config (2 devices, one license) one or more devices are bought by MSP as an additional spare unit(s) without a license so that MSP can meet the SLA agreed by them and their customers.

Here to help

Re: MSP and ownership of hardware

Thank you for your thoughts BrendtSchamp,

The model I wanted to use was to purchase the hardware and software under my name but register the licenses to a separate email address that we create under our domain.  For example, Customer1@xyz.com, customer2@xyz.com...  This would allow us to manage the licenses separately from each other.  This would allow me to purchase 1, 3 or 5 year licenses based on the contract the customer signed.  In addition, this would prevent me needing to have all the licenses be coterminous across all the customers. If a customer decided not to renew at the end of the contract or wanted to upgrade to higher end equipment it makes managing the licenses much easier.

 

This would also give me a separate dashboard to manage each customer and also offer them a restricted log in to view things if they wanted to.  Lastly, we would bring each "site" under the MSP portal to manage vs logging in to each one separately and also give me the ability to assign specific techs to specific sites.

 

I spoke with one of my distributors who thought this is the perfect way to do this. This keeps everything separate and very easy to manage. 

 

I do not understand what the issues is with Meraki and ownership of the hardware and license.  The get the same amount of money either way.  By having the customer name on the hardware and licenses makes things complicated and sticky from a legal standpoint.  I guess they expect you to cover this in your contract.

 

As for stocking hardware without a license I was told this is not allowed either.  If I want to purchase hardware to stock then I have to provide end user information, which is something I cannot provide since this is a stock item which we do not have customer info yet.  I could stock some other brand and install it temporarily and then come back out to put in the Meraki equipment after it has come in.  But that requires two site visits and two down times for the customer. All inconveniences because of Meraki's requirements.

 

I am not sure that Meraki is going to allow me to have a model as I described above so I was hoping the forum might offer some hope before i abandon this and move on to another product.

 

Thanks again for your thoughts.

Here to help

Re: MSP and ownership of hardware

Oskar,

I am in the southeast US.  You may be correct but here is another tidbit. When I try to purchase equipment or licensing I have never been rejected based on me putting my company name on the order.  They always kick it back referencing the email address. They say that if I want to purchase hardware under my name it MUST (no exceptions) be tied to an NFR deal.  I do not need or want it to be under an NFR.  If it is tied to an NFR then I do not think I can use it in my MSP model.  I think the reason Meraki is doing this is to control the customer information.  Someone suggested to just do the NFR and place it on the customer site and be done with it.  I do not want to get caught up in that mess with them coming back later and pulling me as a reseller or something else.  I do not think their requirement to do this under an NFR is an accident but by design.  There has to be an easier solution.

Getting noticed

Re: MSP and ownership of hardware

No solution but just want to follow this thread as I too am looking at this option for my MSP. Also southeast US but I'll try to stay out of OP's market Smiley Wink
Getting noticed

Re: MSP and ownership of hardware

Yes, I assume you´re right. I´m based in EMEA and work for channel and I do not have access detailed MSP model offering information so I´m keen here to see if Meraki reps on SP side will drop an answer for you and all others waiting for it.

 

As far as I can see it its basicly commercial issue together with licensing and Meraki EULA. As @BrechtSchamp pointed out this might also be related to technical aspects in security and sd-wan side.

 

Looking forward for Meraki to simplify this as there is a demand for this in my market as apparently in yours too.

Here to help

Re: MSP and ownership of hardware

Here is a quick update.  Spent another day fighting the battle and did not make any progress.  I did get a response from a Cisco manager at one of the distributors today which I guess sums it up pretty well.  It is a no go.  Here is the response I received:

 

Jamey,

I apologize but there is no circumstance under which Meraki will allow us to place an order where the reseller shares a domain with the EU.  Furthermore, there are zero resellers that I am aware of that stock Meraki on their own shelves. 

 

If you wish to purchase a Meraki unit as a client demo, you are absolutely welcome to create an NFR deal in CCW and process this as such.  However, as the name implies, you won’t be permitted resell it.  Similarly, purchasing a unit for one EU and then installing it elsewhere is not supported by Meraki and, can void the warranty and cause issues for the EU should they have problems. 

 

Alternately, there is the Meraki Try and Buy program.  In general, this is where you work directly with a Meraki Rep, they get you a unit to try it out at an EU and, if they like it, they keep it and, if they don’t, then you can return it and no invoice will be generated.  There are some time limitations on this transaction (30 days I think) and, there will still be a CCW deal required to process the order (and a specified EU). 

 

With all of that having been said, your choices are:

  • Purchase the unit with an EU specified (with a legitimate EU Domain)
  • Purchase the unit as an NFR (with an NFR Deal in place)
  • Purchase the unit as a Try and Buy (work with Meraki AM to coordinate)

 

As I mentioned earlier, I think Cisco spent a good bit of time working through this to ensure they maintain control of the end user regardless of who owns the equipment.  So, I guess I submit my customer information or find another solution.  This doesn't seem very partner friendly but it is what it is. 

 

 

Getting noticed

Re: MSP and ownership of hardware

Interesting, thanks for sharing. Even more keen to see an official response from Meraki. This is an issue that clearly needs to be resolved.

Highlighted
Here to help

Re: MSP and ownership of hardware

I started evaluating other vendors for a solution that could work in a more friendly MSP model. I was doing a demo with a product and was told they have an executive that just came on board that worked at Meraki.  I am supposed to get a call from him next week about their product and MSP offerings (including the ability to white label Smiley Happy ) and plan to pick his brain on the reasoning Meraki is being so difficult to deal with. I am hoping he might open up with suggestions that I am not being told about.  I need to get a solution or work around soon so I will report back what he says and if he has any ideas on how to deal with this.  He may just say that it is the way it is and there are not going to be any work around.  I was hoping someone from Meraki might chime in on this post but unfortunately not.

 

Here to help

Re: MSP and ownership of hardware

I have exhausted all efforts in working with Meraki.  Their model is just not geared towards a true MSP solution.  They will not allow me to register any equipment in my name even though I own it unless I do it as an NFR deal in which can only be used in a customer environment.  It is clear they do not want the reseller/MSP to be mix.  I cannot even get a reason from them other than this is just the way it is which is even more frustrating.  At this point I will just abandon using Meraki in our MSP solution.  I have been evaluating some other products and though I have not found a solution that covers all the major components, firewall, switch and access point, I have found a couple of other products that are very channel/MSP friendly.  Unfortunately I will not have a single pane of glass to manage these other products I have sound some great alternate solutions. 

Getting noticed

Re: MSP and ownership of hardware

Waiting for news and feedback from Meraki sales kick off held last week.

Here to help

Re: MSP and ownership of hardware

Oskar,

Do you think there may be a change in this policy?  We are about to do a large purchase of a different product so maybe I will hold off through the week.  If you hear something please report back.

 

Jamey