Documentation

Cisco Meraki Guide

What is Cisco Meraki?

Cisco Meraki is an easy-to-use, cloud-based, network infrastructure platform for enterprise environments. While most network hardware uses command-line interfaces (CLIs) for configuration, Meraki uses an easy-to-use Dashboard hosted in the Meraki cloud. No on-premises management hardware or software is required - only the network infrastructure to run your business.

MS Switches

Meraki MS switches come in multiple flavors and form factors. Meraki switches support 10/100/1000/10000 ports, as well as Cisco’s mGig technology for 2.5/5/10Gbps copper connectivity. 8, 24, and 48 port flavors are available with PoE (802.3af/802.3at/UPoE) available on many models.

MX Firewalls

Meraki’s MX firewalls support full layer 3-7 deep packet inspection. MX firewalls are compatible with a variety of VPN technologies including IPSec, SSL VPN, and Meraki’s easy-to-use AutoVPN.

MR Wireless Access Points

MR access points are enterprise class, high performance, access points for the enterprise. MR access points have MIMO technology and integrated beamforming built-in for high performance applications. BLE allows for advanced location applications to be developed with no on-premises analytics platforms.

Using the Meraki modules

Meraki modules provide a user-friendly interface to manage your Meraki environment using Ansible. For example, details about SNMP settings for a particular organization can be discovered using the module meraki_snmp <meraki_snmp_module>.

- name: Query SNMP settings
  meraki_snmp:
    api_key: abc123
    org_name: AcmeCorp
    state: query
  delegate_to: localhost

Information about a particular object can be queried. For example, the meraki_admin <meraki_admin_module> module supports

- name: Gather information about Jane Doe
  meraki_admin:
    api_key: abc123
    org_name: AcmeCorp
    state: query
    email: [email protected]
  delegate_to: localhost

Common Parameters

All Ansible Meraki modules support the following parameters which affect communication with the Meraki Dashboard API. Most of these should only be used by Meraki developers and not the general public.

host
Hostname or IP of Meraki Dashboard.
use_https
Specifies whether communication should be over HTTPS. (Defaults to yes)
use_proxy
Whether to use a proxy for any communication.
validate_certs
Determine whether certificates should be validated or trusted. (Defaults to yes)

These are the common parameters which are used for most every module.

org_name
Name of organization to perform actions in.
org_id
ID of organization to perform actions in.
net_name
Name of network to perform actions in.
net_id
ID of network to perform actions in.
state
General specification of what action to take. query does lookups. present creates or edits. absent deletes.

Hint

Use the org_id and net_id parameters when possible. org_name and net_name require additional behind-the-scenes API calls to learn the ID values. org_id and net_id will perform faster.

Meraki Authentication

All API access with the Meraki Dashboard requires an API key. An API key can be generated from the organization’s settings page. Each play in a playbook requires the api_key parameter to be specified.

The “Vault” feature of Ansible allows you to keep sensitive data such as passwords or keys in encrypted files, rather than as plain text in your playbooks or roles. These vault files can then be distributed or placed in source control. See Using Vault in playbooks for more information.

Meraki’s API returns a 404 error if the API key is not correct. It does not provide any specific error saying the key is incorrect. If you receive a 404 error, check the API key first.

Returned Data Structures

Meraki and its related Ansible modules return most information in the form of a list. For example, this is returned information by meraki_admin querying administrators. It returns a list even though there’s only one.

[
    {
        "orgAccess": "full",
        "name": "John Doe",
        "tags": [],
        "networks": [],
        "email": "[email protected]",
        "id": "12345677890"
    }
]

Handling Returned Data

Since Meraki’s response data uses lists instead of properly keyed dictionaries for responses, certain strategies should be used when querying data for particular information. For many situations, use the selectattr() Jinja2 function.

Error Handling

Ansible’s Meraki modules will often fail if improper or incompatible parameters are specified. However, there will likely be scenarios where the module accepts the information but the Meraki API rejects the data. If this happens, the error will be returned in the body field for HTTP status of 400 return code.

Meraki’s API returns a 404 error if the API key is not correct. It does not provide any specific error saying the key is incorrect. If you receive a 404 error, check the API key first. 404 errors can also occur if improper object IDs (ex. org_id) are specified.