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Network Design questions


Network Design questions

Moving our entire Network to Meraki components brings up a couple questions I would love to have other opinions.

At the Moment we have regular L3 Switches in a VMware infrastructure. Regular WiFi accesspoints, nothing Special. Domaincontroller VM is DHCP and DNS Server, every Piece of hardware has a manually defined IP address. Clients get their IP from the DHCP server, well as soon as the VM is up and running ...


As we switch everything to Meraki, I thought about using the DHCP server options Meraki has.

We have 2 MX100, MS250 Switches, couple accesspoints ... the VMware Server is the only Thing we move to the new infrastructure.

So I thought about setting up the DHCP server at the MS Switches and get rid of the the MS DHCP server. Also, as I use the MS250s for Routing between the Networks I thought about setting up the DHCP servers at the MX100 to assign IPs to the hardware stuff (Switches, Accesspoint ...);


Any suggestions ? Best practice ?



Kind of a big deal

Re: Network Design questions

I'm of the mindset that a Microsoft DHCP server is the way to go. You can use the DHCP services on the MX or MS for certain, but if you have a Microsoft server I would imagine that would be the ideal solution.
Nolan Herring |
Kind of a big deal

Re: Network Design questions

I agree with @NolanHerring, if you already have the Windows DHCP then make life easier on your self and just keep it. I don't see any real benefit by taking the time to migrate over simply for the sake of migrating. 


I suppose that if you have a physical DHCP server then moving to Meraki gives you an advantage of having your DHCP "back up" in the cloud in the event of a catastrophic failure... But that can also be managed with server backups. 


If you have a reason to migrate, then I would stick to keeping DHCP in one place instead of scattering it across multiple devices. That's just harder to manage. 


Re: Network Design questions

I mean, at the Moment the DHCP server is a Microsoft DHCP server, part of a 2012 server virtual machine.

Rebooting this machine / Rebooting the VMware Host leads to the Point that nobody is able to access anything. So I thought it makes sense to move the DHCP server to the Switches, because you usually don´t have to reboot them and in case of a hardware problem we have a spare one that kicks in.

Of Course, the core-switches Can be the only DHCP servers in the Network, so it is basically just 1 DHCP Server, a switch stack that is linked up to every other switch we have.



Kind of a big deal

Re: Network Design questions

@TomTravolta how many clients are on your network and are you doing anything fancy with DHCP? 

Meraki CMNO, Ruckus WISE, Sonicwall CSSA, Allied Telesis CASE & CAI
Building a reputation

Re: Network Design questions

I haven't used Meraki for DHCP in an enterprise network yet but i'm wondering how well the DNS would work compared to Microsoft. My hunch would be that it wouldn't be as good though.


To get around your issue of no DHCP if the VM host is down, why not have a physical DC as well, you could have DHCP failover to it if the VM is down.


Re: Network Design questions

120 - 130 clients, we have a 425 switch stack. I thought the 425 should be the DHCP server

Getting noticed

Re: Network Design questions

General rule with AD running, always use Microsoft DHCP, as scope allocation and service rules will give you greater control than that of a Meraki device. For a small branch (eg home office) Z1 would do a good job at local DHCP.



Re: Network Design questions

Sorry for getting back to you guys that late, I had to think about everything a Little bit.

I have a couple more questions


If I use fixed IPs for my Meraki stuff, what happens if the switch breaks down and has to be replaced ? So I have to setup the new switch manually before replacing or Can I Connect the new switch with DHCP and the Dashboard will automatically download the config WITH the fixed IP ?


Also regarding DNS:

What DNS server should I put for the devices ? My Microsoft DNS as Primary and lets say Google as secondary ? So if my internal DNS is down, the Meraki devices Can still communicate with the Dashboard.


Is there a best practice ?!


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