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Using Boundless FlexTemplates

How to get more flexibility from the Meraki templates.
BD
Written by Boundless Digital
Updated 2 months ago

Overview

The Boundless FlexTemplates allow you to run and deploy batch network configuration changes using the Meraki Dashboard API, and without having to write a single line of code.

As with the Meraki templates, the Boundless FlexTemplates let you define a standard base configuration, and quickly apply that to all of your networks.

However, they're flexible, because you can easily go afterwards and customize any configuration parameter that you need to. Moreover, they also work with MV Sense Cameras, System Manager networks, and even with multiple MG devices, making them even more useful for common case scenarios.

As a result, you can benefit from all the flexibility provided by the Meraki APIs without the constraints of having to develop, test, maintain and scale in-house applications and programming scripts.

Follow this article to learn more about how to use the Boundless FlexTemplates.

Prerequisites

  • Initial setup
    Before using the Boundless FlexTemplates, you must have previously set up your Boundless account and synchronized the Boundless Platform with your Meraki organization.

Creating a Boundless FlexTemplate

To create a Boundless FlexTemplate, you need to go to the Network Management Dashboard and tap on CONFIGURATION (on the left side bar).

This will open an initial page, where you can find a summary of your previously deployed Boundless FlexTemplates, and also create new ones.

Note that if you are using the application for the first time, the summary will look empty.

You can define your FlexTemplate either from an existing Meraki template or an existing network, or you can create a FlexTemplate from scratch.

Creating a Boundless FlexTemplate from an existing Network or Meraki Template

Here, you'll import the settings from one of your existing networks or Meraki Templates into a Boundless FlexTemplate.

To do so, follow the instructions below:

Step 1 | Create a new FlexTemplate

  1. Go to the FlexTemplates Dashboard and click on New template (green button on the right)
  2. Select Copy from existing network or template. Then, enter the required fields:
    - Template name: Type the name of your newly created FlexTemplate.
    - Source: Click on the dropdown menu and select the Template you want to copy the settings from.
  3. Click on Create

Step 2 | Customize your FlexTemplate

Once the import is done, you'll see that there are already a few parameters in place, that correspond to the settings on Meraki.

  1. Explore the FlexTemplate and take a look to the aspects you'd like to configure: Network, Security and SD WAN, Switch, or Wireless parameters.
  2. Customize your FlexTemplate parameters as per your requirements.
  3. After implementing the configuration parameters within the FlexTemplate, click on Save Changes, then on Deploy.

Step 3 | Deploy your FlexTemplate to your Network

To deploy your FlexTemplate, you'll first need to select the existing networks you'd like to deploy to the template.

If you want to create brand new networks and deploy them to the FlexTemplate, you can also do so.

  • Deploy to new network
    If you'd like to deploy your FlexTemplate to new networks, click on Deploy to new network, enter the name of the new network, and click on Deploy.

  • Deploy to existing network
    If you'd like to deploy your FlexTemplate to existing networks:

    1.
    Click on Deploy to existing network or templates

    2. Select the networks
    to which you'd like to deploy

    3.
    Choose to either Extend existing settings or Overwrite existing settings

    4.
    Click on Deploy
  • Deploy to existing Meraki templates
    If you'd like to deploy your FlexTemplate to existing Meraki templates:

    1.
    Click on Deploy to existing network or templates

    2. Select the Meraki templates
    to which you'd like to deploy

    3.
    Choose to either Extend existing settings or Overwrite existing settings

    4.
    Click on Deploy

Creating a Boundless FlexTemplate from Scratch

To create a FlexTemplate from zero, follow the instructions below:

Step 1 | Create a new FlexTemplate

  1. Go to the FlexTemplates Dashboard and click on New template (green button on the right)
  2. Select Blank template, and enter the required fields:
    - Template name: Type the name of your newly created FlexTemplate
  3. Click on Create

Step 2 | Customize your FlexTemplate

This will create a blank template, which you can customize with your required configuration settings.

  1. Explore the FlexTemplate, and take a look to the aspects you'd like to modify, such as Alerts or Group Policies, Security and SD WAN parameters, Switch or Wireless.
  2. Customize your FlexTemplate parameters as per your requirements.
  3. After implementing the configuration parameters within the FlexTemplate, click on Save Changes, then on Deploy.

Step 3 | Deploy your FlexTemplate to your Network

To deploy your FlexTemplate, you'll first need to select the existing networks you'd like to deploy to the template.

If you want to create brand new networks and deploy them to the FlexTemplate, you can also do so.

  • Deploy to new network
    If you'd like to deploy your FlexTemplate to new networks, click on Deploy to new network, enter the name of the new network, and click on Deploy.
  • Deploy to existing network

    If you'd like to deploy your FlexTemplate to existing networks:

    1.
    Click on Deploy to existing network or templates

    2.
    Select the networks to which you'd like to deploy

    3.
    Choose to either Extend existing settings or Overwrite existing settings

    4.
    Click on Deploy

  • Deploy to existing Meraki templates

    If you'd like to deploy your FlexTemplate to existing Meraki templates:

    1. Click on Deploy to existing network or templates

    2.
    Select the Meraki templates to which you'd like to deploy

    3.
    Choose to either Extend existing settings or Overwrite existing settings

    4.
    Click on Deploy

❓Extend existing settings vs Overwrite existing settings

The biggest advantage provided by the Boundless FlexTemplates is the high level of granularity they offer. This also applies to the way the FlexTemplate is deployed to your networks.

Extending existing settings

Extending existing settings will add new configuration settings to your networks without overwriting the existing ones.

Practical case
Let's say that you want to apply one security rule to all of your networks simultaneously, but their configuration is not homogeneous. In this case, you may want to create a new FlexTemplate which will include just that one security rule, and deploy it by extending existing settings.

This will consistently apply the new security rule to all of your networks, without impacting the individual configurations.

Overwriting existing settings

Overwriting existing settings will replace all the configuration settings of your networks with the ones from the FlexTemplate, therefore consistently harmonizing all of your networks.

Practical case
The CIO of your company have requested you to ensure all of your French networks are uniformly configured and comply with the local security standards, which have just been updated.
Since all of the country networks must have the same configuration settings, you may want to create a FlexTemplate which will include all network configurations, and deploy it by overwriting existing settings.

This will consistently apply all configuration settings to all of your networks, ensuring they are fully consistent and compliant to internal standards.

❓Binding vs Deploying

Unlike the Meraki templates, Boundless FlexTemplates aren't bound to your networks, but rather deployed.

This means that if your networks are bound to a Meraki template, you can still deploy FlexTemplates and apply individual changes. This will not unbound your networks from the Template.

In the same way, after deploying a FlexTemplate to your network, you can still bind them to a Meraki network. This could however overwrite the FlexTemplate configuration settings.

You can also deploy many FlexTemplates to the same networks, progressively extending or overwriting the configuration changes.

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