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Switch Templates Deployment Guide (CVD)

Introduction

As a network deployment grows to span multiple sites, managing individual devices can become highly cumbersome and unnecessary. To help alleviate these operating costs, the Meraki MS switch offers the use of templates to quickly roll out new site deployments and make changes in bulk.

This guide will outline how to create and use MS switch templates in Dashboard.

Planning a Template Deployment

Before rolling out a template deployment (or enabling templates on a production network), it may be helpful to plan the "units" that make up your deployments. This involves asking questions such as:

  • What are my sites? (e.g. retail location, school, branch office, etc.)
  • How many switches are at each site?
  • Are multiple switches at the same site configured the same way? (e.g. access switches, classroom switches, etc.)

The answers to these questions should directly affect your template deployment, specifically your use of template networks and switch profiles:

Templates currently only works for Layer-2 Deployments

Template Networks

A "site" in network deployment terms is usually the same as a "network" in Dashboard terms; each site gets their own Dashboard network. As such, when planning multiple sites to be configured the same way, they will share a template network.

A template network is a network configuration that is shared by multiple sites/networks. Individual site networks can be bound to a template network, so changes to the template will trickle down to all bound sites. A new network can also be created based on a template, making it easy to spin up new sites of the same type.

When planning a template deployment, you should have one template network for each type of site.

Switch Profiles

If multiple switches on a site share the same port configuration, they can easily be deployed and updated using switch profiles. Within a template network, a switch profile defines the per-port configuration for a group of switches. For example, if all sites contain multiple MS220-24 switches that are all configured identically, an administrator can set up a switch profile for their MS220-24 switches. This way, whenever a new MS220-24 is installed at a site, it will automatically assume its switch profile and configure its ports accordingly.

When planning a template deployment, if multiple switches share the same configuration, consider using a switch profile for each type of switch.

Profiles can be overwritten by a local port configuration. If the port of a profile-bound switch is manually configured, that manual configuration will be "sticky" and remain on the switch, even if the profile is changed.

Different MS switch models cannot share the same profile.

 

The following diagram shows the relationship between network templates and switch profiles:

Configuration

The following sections walk through configuration and use of switch templates in Dashboard:

Creating a Template Network

As outlined above, a template network should be created for each type of site to be deployed.

To create a template network:

  1. In Dashboard, navigate to Organization > Monitor > Configuration templates.
  2. Click Create a new template.
  3. Select a descriptive name for your template. If this is a completely new template, select Create new and Switch template.
    • If this template should be based on an existing network, select Copy settings from and an existing switch network.
  4. Click Add:
  5. If you would like to bind existing networks to this new template, select those networks as Target networks and click Bind. Otherwise, click Close.

Multiple device types can be managed within a single template, acting as a combined network. For more information on managing non-switch devices in a template, refer to our documentation.

Once a network has been bound to this template, the template network should appear in the network drop-down:

Configuring a Template Network

Once a template has been created, it can be configured with some global switch settings. These settings will also apply to all networks bound to this template.

To configure a template network, select the template from the network drop-down and configure settings normally under the Switch > Configure menu options. This can include setting a global management VLAN, IPv4 ACLs, port schedules, etc. Switch profiles can also be configured here, as detailed below.

Please note that any configuration changes made here will apply to all bound networks.

Creating and Using Switch Profiles

Switch profiles can be used to bulk configure switches of the same model.

To create a switch profile:

  1. Select the appropriate network template from the network drop-down.
  2. Navigate to Switch > Configure > Profiles.
  3. If no profiles have been created, a Create Profile window will appear. Otherwise, click Create profile.
  4. Select a descriptive name and the switch model to be configured.
  5. Click Save:
  6. Click on the newly created profile.
  7. To configure the profile, select Configure ports on this profile.
  8. The following port configuration page can be used identically to the normal switch port configuration page:
  9. Navigate back to the switch profile under Switch > Configure > Profiles > Profile name.
  10. Click Bind switches.
  11. Select one or more switches, then click Bind to profile:

All bound switches will now use the port configuration set in the switch profile. Any changes made in the profile will now affect all bound switches.

Local Overrides

Once a switch has been bound to a profile, it can still be configured normally through Dashboard. Any port configuration changes made directly on the switch will override the profile configuration, and be reported as a local override.

In the example below, the bound switch was directly configured to have a custom VLAN set on port 3. In the template network, under Switch > Configure > Switch Profiles, this configuration change is shown under the Local overrides column:

Auto-Binding Switches

When a new network is bound to an existing template with at least one switch profile, the option is available to "auto-bind" switches to that template's profiles. This dramatically reduces the amount of work necessary to set up a new site; if profiles exist for every switch model to be deployed, the only necessary configuration is binding the network to the template.

To auto-bind switches in a new network:

  1. Create a new switch network.
  2. Add devices to the network as normal.
  3. Navigate to Organization > Configuration templates > Template name.
  4. Click Bind additional networks.
  5. Select the newly created network, and check Auto-bind target devices.
  6. Click Bind:

All switches in the new network will now automatically be bound to their appropriate profiles.

Auditing a Template Deployment

Though templates can be used to consolidate most switch configuration, there may be exceptions for individual ports or settings that necessitate local configuration changes on the switch. Since local configuration changes override template and profile configurations, it is important to keep track of any local configuration changes across the organization.

To view local configuration overrides of a template:

  1. Navigate to Organization > Configuration templates > Template name.
  2. The Local overrides column will show if any networks are overriding the template configuration:

To view local configuration overrides of a switch profile:

  1. Select the appropriate template from the network drop-down.
  2. Navigate to Switch > Configure > Profiles > Profile name.
  3. The Local overrides column will show if any switches are overriding the profile configuration:

Additional Notes and Resources

If many networks are being deployed at once, the bulk network creation tool can be used to bind templates and profiles in bulk.

Please reference our documentation for more information on Meraki configuration templates.

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Last modified
13:59, 13 Jul 2017

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ID: 4900

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