Enterprises adopt network services appliance

Appliance does for network services what routers did for connectivity

A group of local enterprises and universities have adopted a new form of integrated appliance to simplify the management of fundamental network services.

Infoblox, based in Silicon Valley, California, has established an office in Sydney and is already selling its appliances to universities and enterprises.

Local business development manager Ardy Sharifnia told Computerworld Griffith University, Queensland University of Technology, the University of Tasmania, and Curtin and Edith Cowan universities in Western Australia have already adopted the technology.

Other customers include Vodafone New Zealand, Brisbane City Council, CSC and Hertz.

In Australia for the QuestNet networking conference this month, Infoblox founder and CTO Stuart Bailey said in a lot of universities IT is not a core competency, or there may be a shortage of personnel to manage network services.

Prior to starting Infoblox seven years ago, Bailey was the technical lead of the National Centre of Data Mining at the University of Illinois in Chicago where he discovered it was a challenge to find IP infrastructure software "pre-packaged and ready to go".

"Core network services like DNS, DHCP, RADIUS, and LDAP are all data-centric and there were no vendors for these core services," Bailey said. "Our appliances are built to support this."

Bailey claims the appliances, which run Linux, are the first to port varying network services to the same data store.

"We had to make an appliance as it is a network problem," Bailey said. "Since services are integrated the DHCP server knows if someone has authenticated to the RADIUS server."

Bailey said the concept of an integrated appliance has the potential to do for network services what switches and routers did for connectivity.

Infoblox appliances have a distributed database, dubbed BloxDB, based on the Oralce-owned BerkeleyDB, which provides a "grid" architecture as they can communicate together across a large enterprise.

"Network services are data records, so there is an emerging data management problem sitting in core networks," he said. "There are records from five to 20 services that weren't there 10 years ago."

With 220 people in 30 countries, 1500 customers and some 10,000 units deployed, Bailey is keen to keep Infoblox independent of the big-name networking vendors and is working to ensuring the appliances are IPv6-enabled.

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More about Brisbane City CouncilCore NetworksCowanCSC AustraliaGriffith UniversityGriffith UniversityInfobloxInfobloxQueensland University of TechnologyQueensland University of TechnologyUniversity of TasmaniaVodafone

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