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Computer- Entertainment Company

“With Infoblox, the DNS process goes forward with no human intervention. It’s really a breeze.” —Senior engineer


Industry: Communications, Media, & Entertainment

The Customer

This worldwide computer-entertainment company needed a Domain Name System (DNS) solution that could keep up with the growth of its network and help maintain the company’s position as a leader in online games. We spoke with a senior engineer responsible for the organization’s North American systems engineering team, which supports two domains—one for tools, testing, and QA and another for online gaming.

The Challenge

The engineer explained that the team originally implemented two DNS servers, one for each domain. But after several years of organic growth, DNS gradually became a serious administrative headache. With additional DNS servers springing up in different areas of the organization, the team wasn’t sure how many there were, and the servers were in various states of configuration with no standardization.

The homegrown DNS solution also had no query logging, which hampered the ability to identify online gaming cheaters, the engineer added. Unscrupulous players sometimes post incorrect information to a chat log to thwart other players, or exploit game logic so their character can win unfairly. Maintaining a fair playing environment, the engineer noted, is essential to ensuring the success of a game.

Another drawback was that administrators had to write and maintain scripts that would check for errors before manually pushing out addresses and configurations—a labor-intensive and time-consuming activity. While a succession of open-source software products helped with version control and configuration management, they couldn’t keep up with the growth of the business.

The Infoblox Solution

To find an efficient solution, the team balanced Infoblox capabilities against the time it would take to augment the company’s existing in-house systems. Their key requirements included:

Simplicity and automation to save time and effort
Ability to use the solution for IP address management (IPAM) as well as DNS, and to take over the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) load for some machines
Elimination of the need for version control so the team would no longer have to maintain a separate server to manage that data
Query-logging functionality to help improve security for online games

The team chose Infoblox for its time-saving simplicity and its complete capabilities in one box.

The company now runs two Infoblox appliances at its main North American data center that are configured as a high-availability Infoblox Grid™. Plans call for adding additional Infoblox appliances at the parent company headquarters in another country—and including them in the existing high-availability grid for failover and disaster recovery.

The Results

The senior engineer reported that the Infoblox appliances greatly simplify management and deliver significant time savings. His team now enjoys an intuitive central interface for internal and external DNS, DHCP, and IPAM services as well as increased visibility and security. The solution has resulted in significant time savings and faster reallocation of server resources.

According to the engineer, the Infoblox machines are integral to the process of moving older online games to private clouds in order to reallocate server resources to newer releases. When a new server is created in the private-cloud infrastructure, the cloud software simply queries the Infoblox application-programming interface (API) for the next available IP address, and Infoblox replies automatically. Infoblox solutions are just as efficient at decommissioning unneeded virtualized cloud services. As a result, unused capacity can quickly be reallocated.

The engineer also pointed out that the Infoblox appliances’ built-in DNS query logging provides the security team with much better visibility into who is accessing the network for online gaming, making it easier to identify people who try to gain an unfair advantage. The company is also considering adding Infoblox DNS Firewall, which blocks malware communications to outlaw command-and-control servers, in a caching layer to augment security.

The senior engineer believes that the Infoblox appliances are a significant factor in helping the systems engineering team succeed in its overall mission: to help keep the company’s gaming products growing and thriving.

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