“Since installing Infoblox, we have reduced labor costs to maintain the system and eliminated all single points of failure. Failover is now automated, and we have vastly improved our disaster recovery capability and eliminated the need to do tape backups of the DNS database.We are now in a better position to handle future mandates like DNSSEC and our new IP phones.”
—Darin Freeman, Manager, Distributed Systems, Independence Blue Cross
Independence Blue Cross (IBC) is the Philadelphia region’s largest health insurer with more than 2.4 million members locally and 3.3 million overall, including subsidiaries and affiliates.The company employs more than 5,500 people, annually processes more than 25 million claims, and responds to more than four million customer inquiries each year.
For more than 70 years, IBC has offered high-quality health care coverage tailored to meet the changing needs of members, employers, and health care professionals. Independence Blue Cross’s HMO and PPO health care plans have consistently received the highest ratings from the National Committee for Quality Assurance.
As health care has evolved, advanced and improved in the past 70 years, IBC decided it was time for its network to evolve as well and completed a self-examination of its existing DNS and DHCP infrastructure.
The challenge of upgrading its legacy system introduced a multitude of new risks, including hardware changes, OS updates, intermediate upgrades, manual database upgrades and module conflicts, among others. Additionally, over the years, IBC had become increasingly dissatisfied with the time required to maintain the old system, continual product patching andlack of support.
The question of switching vendors presented a list of new challenges: Which vendor to use? Could IBC justify cost and payback of changing vendors, and how would IBC migrate to the new system?
Despite the fact that IBC had already invested significant time, money and manpower in its legacy software-based solution, IBC decided that the legacy software-based solution was slow, and it required too many hours of IT support and frequent patching and updating. It was time to upgrade IBC’s existing infrastructure to an appliance-based solution that offered a better ROI, management flexibility and network visibility.
IBC determined requirements for its new appliance-based solution: robust, feature-rich services, highly available systems and secure, hardened OS — clearly high standards necessary for an organization that provides mission-critical services to its members and the medical community.
IBC engaged with market research firm Forrester Research for advice and guidance in the shortlist selection process. Forrester recommended two companies, including Infoblox. IBC invited both vendors to present their products and propose architecture designs based on IBC’s requirements. The IBC technical team was immediately impressed with the Infoblox IPAM functionality and decided to conduct an onsite evaluation of the appliances.
“We picked Infoblox,” said Darin Freeman, Manager of Distributed Systems at Independence Blue Cross. “The biggest reason was that Infoblox had superior technology, simple appliance update procedures and a solid game plan for how to migrate from the previous solution. The Infoblox team worked closely with us, providing local customer references and an unmatched level of expertise that made our decision simple.”
In November 2009, IBC purchased eight Infoblox-1050s with the complete suite of Infoblox network services and Infoblox Grid™ technology for internal DNS, DHCP, TFTP and IPAM. IBC has installed four units in the data center in Harrisburg, Pa., two units for disaster recovery in Valley Forge, Pa., and two others in its downtown Philadelphia facilities.
“DNS is mission critical,” said Freeman. “Since installing Infoblox, we have reduced labor costs to maintain the system and eliminated all single points of failure. Failover is now automated, we have vastly improved our disaster recovery capability and eliminated the need to do tape backups of the DNS database. IBC is now in a better position to handle future mandates like DNSSEC andour new IP phones.”