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Infoblox boosts core network services scalability to handle mobility

Shamus McGillicuddy, News Director

When bring your own device (BYOD) policies and IT consumerization force even core network services vendors like Infoblox to respond with a new product, you know you have a full-blown revolution on your hands.

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Infoblox this week introduced Multi-Grid Management (MGM), a new distributed management system for its portfolio of Trinzic core network service appliances that aims to manage the storm of DNS queries resulting from smartphones and tablets on the enterprise network.

Infoblox’s appliances function as an active, distributed management system -- or “Grid” -- within a network to manage IP addresses and maintain DNS and DHCP services. A single Infoblox Grid can contain a maximum of 250 Infoblox physical and virtual appliances with an aggregate capacity to process up to 60 million DNS queries per second and 100 million DHCP requests within a 24-hour period. With Infoblox’s MGM product, an enterprise can scale up core network services by managing up to 50 of these grids as a single entity. Now an administrator can control 50 Infoblox deployments centrally with the capacity to process 3 billion DNS queries per second and 5 billion DHCP requests per day.

Until recently, a single Infoblox grid had all the scalability an enterprise could possibly need. However, the proliferation of smartphones and tablets has changed the game.  Users are carrying multiple network-connected devices and those devices are making more DNS queries than ever before.

“It used to be that a 5,000-person organization would have 5,000 devices on the network. Now a 1,000-person company will have 5,000 devices,” said Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research.

Also, applications are no longer built around a monolithic server-client model. Instead, an application is a composite of multiple smaller applications, and these individual applications generate a larger amount of DNS queries and DHCP requests.

“One of the bigger problems is DNS traffic,” said Jim Frey, research director with Enterprise Management Associates. “There doesn’t seem to be any sign of this slowing down. A lot of these applications are drawing data and content from multiple, remote locations and serving it to you in a browser.”

And apps running on mobile devices are even more burdensome on core network services, said Frey. “The number of DNS queries that comes from a typical iPhone app is pretty surprising. Getting an iPhone app up and running can require 10 or 15 or 30 DNS calls. Do that across a couple of million users and you get a lot of traffic. It used to be just telcos [who dealt with this volume]. But now that these smartphones are Wi-Fi enabled and are coming into a workplace, that’s all hitting the enterprise network,” said Frey.

“When you connect to corporate Wi-Fi with an iPhone, there has got to be some assignment of DNS and DHCP. That device has to be addressable and reachable across the enterprise network.”

Infoblox is aiming MGM at service providers and enterprises, both of which are dealing with increased load on their core network services.

“Based on the number of mobile users using Facebook clients and how often they go onto Facebook, they are generating 36 billion DNS queries per day. The infrastructure is being challenged,” said Kevin Dickson, Infoblox vice president of product management.

Centralized management of core network services goes beyond scale

While MGM helps enterprises scale core network services for an increasingly mobile environment, it also allows network managers to be more agile and strategic with how they manage those services. For instance, an enterprise might want to segment its management of core network services by geography or business unit, Dickson said. With MGM, network managers can maintain several Infoblox grids to achieve that segmentation but still manage them centrally.

“We saw an example where a U.S. company acquired an [Asia-Pacific] company which was running IPv6 already, and this U.S. company was not running that in their backbone,” Dickson said.

Providing a single management view of DNS, DHCP and IP address management across multiple segments also empowers network managers with more insight into core network services, according to Bojan Simic, president and principal analyst at TRAC Research.

“You’re talking about collecting data from different sources and you end up doing a whole lot of manual work to try to make sense of it,” he said. “With MGM it becomes a single stream of data that is much easier to analyze. It reduces some of the management complexity.”

The Multi-Grid Manager, which runs on an Infoblox 1550 appliance, is available today for a list price of $20,895.

 

Let us know what you think about the story; email: Shamus McGillicuddy, News Director.


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