IP address management vendor Infoblox this week introduced an appliance that the company says will help IT managers tackling DNS and DHCP on Microsoft Windows servers reduce manual labor, support compliance efforts and improve operational efficiencies around managing IP space.
Infoblox IPAM WinConnect is an appliance designed to help customers managing IP addresses using Microsoftmanagement DNS and DHCP servers. The product sits in the data center and communicates with the Windows DNS and DHCP servers via the network, providing IT managers with a common view into both environments as well as automation and administrative features. The product would augment a customer's existing Windows IP address management tools, according to industry watchers, who say many customers depend on out-of-date and insufficient tools to manage IT addresses.
"Today's networks are part of a mission-critical IT infrastructure fabric. They provide the 'dial tone' of IT -- an always-on, always-available service for connecting to data and applications. But most companies don't invest in the infrastructure that's needed to support this dial tone," writes Robert Whiteley, a senior analyst at Forrester Research, in a recent report on IP address management. "Forgotten services like DHCP, DNS, and RADIUS are critical network services components that dictate availability. Yet most are woefully out of date, stagnating on non-enterprise-grade infrastructure, with few security mechanisms."
Infoblox says its appliance enables IT managers to leverage their existing investments in Microsoft DNS and DHCP servers, but adds features that can help them also update their approach to IT address management. For instance, the product performs a network discovery that automatically catalogs devices on the network, eliminating the need for IT staff to maintain spreadsheets or other homegrown approaches to tracking IP data. It also gives IT staff a look at current and historic IT usage and lets managers delegate administrative jobs into roles, which is critical for compliance purposes, the company says.
"IT managers need detailed audit logs of who did what and when to every device. And a vast majority of organizations using Windows are tracking that with spreadsheets, which is very manual and error-prone," says Richard Kagan, Infoblox vice president of marketing. "The native tools offered with Microsoft aren't as rich as they need to be so this appliance is designed to help people keep managing DNS and DCHP with Microsoft and a little help from Infoblox."
Infoblox, which competes with the likes of BlueCat Networks, DNSstuff and Secure64, says the appliance doesn't require IT managers to alter their Microsoft servers because it uses standard Microsoft protocols to communicate with that infrastructure. Forrester's Whiteley says such appliance-based solutions could be ideal for greenfield environments looking to get started with IP address, DNS, DHCP and RADIUS management.
"If you have a greenfield opportunity to build a utility-grade network, then start with an appliance-oriented vendor like Infoblox or BlueCat," Whiteley writes. "Because these vendors off a one-stop solution for core services like DHCP and DNS."
Infoblox IPAM WinConnect is scheduled to be available in December. The product runs on Infoblox-250, -550, -1050 and -1550 platforms. Pricing for the IPAM WinConnect on an Infoblox-250 platform starts at about US$3,000.