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vMX100 Setup Guide for Microsoft Azure


This document is a walkthrough for setting up a virtual MX (vMX) appliance in the Microsoft Azure Marketplace. After completing the steps outlined in this document, you will have a virtual MX appliance running in Azure that serves as an AutoVPN termination point for your physical MX devices.


Currently, the vMX on Azure supports a one-armed VPN concentrator configuration with split-tunnel VPN architecture. For more info on how to deploy a one-armed concentrator, please refer to this document.

Key Concepts

Before deploying a virtual MX, it is important to understand several key concepts:

Concentrator Mode 

All MXs can be configured in either NAT or VPN concentrator mode. There are important considerations for both modes. For more detailed information on concentrator modes, click here.

One-Armed Concentrator 

In this mode the MX is configured with a single Ethernet connection to the upstream network. All traffic will be sent and received on this interface. This is the only supported configuration for MX appliances serving as VPN termination points into Azure.

NAT Mode Concentrator 

In this mode the MX is configured with a single Ethernet connection to the upstream network and one Ethernet connection to the downstream network. VPN traffic is received and sent on the WAN interfaces connecting the MX to the upstream network and the decrypted, unencapsulated traffic is sent and received on the LAN interface that connects the MX to the downstream network. 

Note: This is not supported for virtual MX VPN concentrators operating within Azure.

VPN Topology

There are several options available for the structure of the VPN deployment.

Split Tunnel 

In this configuration, branches will only send traffic across the VPN if it is destined for a specific subnet that is being advertised by another MX in the same Dashboard organization. The remaining traffic will be checked against other available routes, such as static LAN routes and third-party VPN routes, and if not matched will be NATed and sent out the branch MX unencrypted.

Full Tunnel  

In full tunnel mode all traffic that the branch or remote office does not have another route to is sent to a VPN hub.

Note: This is not supported for virtual MX VPN concentrators operating within Azure.

Azure Terminology

This document will make reference to several key Azure-specific terms and concepts.

Azure Virtual Network

A virtual network is where a block of associated IP addresses, DNS settings, security policies and route tables can be configured and managed.

Azure Resource Manager (ARM) and Azure Classic

Azure has different types of virtual network environments, which represent two different methods of deploying and managing Azure virtual environments. The vMX uses 'managed applications', which is an MSFT platform, and is not compatible with Azure 'classic' deployments.

Resource group 

A resource group is a container within Microsoft Azure's infrastructure where resources, such as virtual machines are stored.

Azure Managed Applications

Managed Applications within Azure serve as the network used to manage and support the Cisco Meraki virtual MX.


Additional Information 

During the setup of your vMX instance, or over the course of working within Azure, you may encounter additional terminology which is not defined in this document. To find out more about these terms, and for additional details on the terms listed above, please see the Microsoft Azure glossary.

Meraki Dashboard Configuration 

Begin by creating a new Security Appliance network in your organization. This guide will walk you through creating a new network in the Meraki Dashboard.

The Meraki Dashboard will require a vMX license to be added before you are able to continue. If you do not have access to a vMX license, please reach out to your Meraki Reseller or Sales Rep.

Once you have created the network and added the appropriate license you will be able to deploy a new vMX to your network by clicking on 'Add vMX':



After you add the new vMX to your network, click on “Generate authentication token” to generate the token for Azure custom-data field.



Copy the newly generated token and save it for the next part in 'Azure Setup'. It will be used when creating a new resource group and will be added to the 'Meraki Authentication Token' field of the Azure template.

The authentication token must be entered into the Azure instance within 1 hour of generating it. If it has been more than 1 hour then a new token must be generated. 


Next, follow the steps outlined in this guide to configure the vMX as a one-armed concentrator.

On the Site-to-Site VPN page, add each subnet in your resource group that should be accessible to remote Auto VPN peers to the list of 'Local Network(s).' For more information on configuring Auto VPN, please refer to the Site to Site VPN settings documentation.


Configuring a static IP on a vMX in Microsoft Azure via Dashboard is currently not supported. Attempting to configure one will result in the node losing network connectivity and going offline.

Azure Setup 

Before You Begin

You must have the following before you begin:

  • An Azure virtual network and virtual subnet on a resource groups separate from the resource group you will be creating to host the vMX. To find more information about this, please click here.

Note: Your virtual network must be in a separate resource group from the one hosting your vMX. If you assign the vMX to a resource group that already contains a virtual network/virtual subnet, you will not be able to deploy the vMX.

This section walks you through configuring the necessary requirements within Microsoft Azure, and adding a vMX instance to your resource group. For more details on setting up a resource group and other components, please refer to Azure's Documentation here.

Accessing the Offer

To gain access to the VM Offer, please access this link. A screenshot of the Marketplace list of Cisco Meraki vMX in Azure is included below:




From the Marketplace listing, click on 'Create.'


After creating, you will be prompted to configure basic settings:




VM Name: Choose a name for your Cisco Meraki vMX VM, it can be any name.

Meraki Authentication Token: Paste the token previously generated on the Meraki dashboard.

Subscription: Choose the subscription that you want to be billed for from the drop-down menu.

Resource group: Create a new resource group with any name.

Location: Select the region where the vMX will be deployed in.


After completing all the basic settings configuration, hit 'OK.'

Choose an existing Virtual Network from the list:


Screen Shot 2017-11-15 at 10.11.34 AM.png


Then choose the subnet in which the vMX will be deployed. To find more information about subnets in Azure, click here.


Screen Shot 2017-11-15 at 10.12.19 AM.png


Choose the VM size which will be D2_V2 Standard:


Screen Shot 2017-11-15 at 10.13.04 AM.png


Review the deployment details before hitting 'OK.'







Review the terms of use and privacy policy before hitting 'Create.'


After you click on 'Purchase,' the deployment will begin:

Screen Shot 2017-11-15 at 10.17.00 AM.png


Once this has been completed, it may be several minutes before the deployment completes and the instance launches.  

Note: Once the deployment has finished, it is expected that a new resource group will be created with the name of the resource group you referenced, appended with a random string of characters.


Screen Shot 2017-11-15 at 10.24.29 AM.png


Once the vMX is online, a route table needs to be created including the Auto VPN subnets so that the Azure resources know how to access the Meraki subnets over Auto VPN.

To create a route table, click on "New" and then "Route Table".


Screen Shot 2017-11-15 at 10.34.08 AM.png

Screen Shot 2017-11-15 at 10.26.01 AM.png


Once the Route Table has been created, add the VPN routes pointing to the vMX as the next hop, including the Client VPN subnet is applicable:

Screen Shot 2017-11-15 at 10.28.36 AM.png


Screen Shot 2017-11-15 at 10.29.08 AM.png


Please ignore the IP forwarding warning, it has already been enabled in the backend.



Finally, associate the Route Table with the Subnet where the vMX was deployed. Click on "Subnets" and then "Associate".


Screen Shot 2017-11-15 at 10.29.38 AM.png


Choose the Virtual Network where the vMX was deployed:

Screen Shot 2017-11-15 at 10.29.56 AM.png


Then, choose the subnet used to deploy the vMX and click on 'OK.'

Screen Shot 2017-11-15 at 10.30.50 AM.png


Once the subnet has been associated, enable Site to Site VPN on Dashboard.


The virtual MX security appliance is fully managed through the Cisco Meraki Dashboard. This requires the vMX to establish bi-directional communication to the Meraki Cloud. If, after following the steps above, the vMX is inaccessible, please ensure the following:  

  1. The following characters are not being used in the template: ' ~ ! @ # $ % ^ & * ( ) = + _ [ ] { } \\\\ | ; : ' \\\" , < > / ?.\" '.
  2. Azure naming convention does not support spaces, make sure spaces in resource names are eliminated.
  3. The token is entered into the Meraki Authentication Token field within an hour of being generated.
  4. The DNS server is reachable from the subnet that the vMX is in and can resolve config-2037.meraki.com.
  5. A Route Table has been created and associated to the correct subnet(s).


Please note that Meraki Support does not troubleshoot Azure specific firewall rules and deployments.


vMX on Azure CSP Portal

Meraki vMX is currently not available on the CSP portal. In the meantime, there is a workaround using an ARM template which has been attached to this article. If a CSP partner needs to deploy vMX, then perform the following to access the portal in the context of the customer:


  1. Login to Partner Center with credentials that have admin agent privileges

  2. Click Dashboard and then Customers

  3. Click on the customer where this resource should be deployed

  4. Click Service Management and then click on the Microsoft Azure Management portal link


The above task will load the Azure Management portal, and it will be scoped to the context of the customer. This will enable you to deploy the template using the appropriate Azure subscription. To deploy this template perform the following


   1. Extract the contents of the attached zip archive

   2. Click the + Create a resource button located in the upper left

   3. Search the marketplace for Template deployment, click the item, and then click the Create button



4. Click the Build your own template in the editor link as shown in the figure below



5. Click the Load File button found at the top. Select the azuredeploy.json file and then click Ok to load the template



6. Click the Save button to complete the process of loading the template

7. Click the Edit parameters button

8. Click the Load File button found at the top. Select the azuredeploy.parameter.json file and then click Ok to load the parameters

9. Click the Save button to complete the process of loading the parameters

10. Modify the Settings value to correctly match the customer’s environment.

Please note that for the "Basics" section a new resource group should be created to avoid locking existing resources.

When filling out the "Settings" section, use the information of an existing Virtual Network.


  1. Check the I agree to the terms and conditions stated above checkbox after you have reviewed the terms and condition. By checking the box you will be agreeing to the terms.

  2. Click the Purchase button


This will start the deployment and within a few moments, the appliance will be deployed.



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