Global Energy, Gas & Oil Company
One of the largest energy and chemical manufacturing companies operates in most of the world’s countries, exploring for oil and natural gas on six continents and develops next-generation energy and chemical technologies to meet global demand. It markets fuels and chemicals under a number of globally recognized brands.
In 2011, it selected Infoblox to replace VitalQIP deployed in parts of the company. Since then, mergers and acquisitions, global growth and technology changes introduced multiple core network solutions into three existing environments including on-premises installations, data centers with remote locations and cloud SaaS applications. These developments required a massive IT digital transformation effort to unify and modernize global infrastructure for greater visibility, agility, security, performance and cost management.
In 2017, the energy, gas and oil company suffered a four-hour OpenDNS outage that knocked operations offline and prevented outbound query resolution at month end, costing the company millions of dollars. Unable to perform external resolutions, it could not make required external payments, resulting in SLA penalties exceeding 10 times the offline cost. In total, it suffered a multi-million-dollar per hour loss from this one outage alone.
To prevent costly outages in the future, management chose to upgrade its technology and begin replacing remaining conventional DNS/DHCP architecture with Infoblox virtual machines. The goal was to move DNS to the cloud, shift away from managing inefficient legacy on-site and cloud-only infrastructure and products and adopt a more agile, globally distributed framework using services and Infoblox virtual machines. Such changes enable global presence, geo-local response and a common, consolidated interface for simplified management. They also support new functionality and capacity to meet evolving business requirements, along with high availability, resiliency, redundancy, scalability and automation for consistency, error reduction and improved efficiency.
Equally critical is the focus on Zero Trust for total IT, never-fail, hybrid on-premises and cloud security. Because its existing recursive cloud-only solution could not prevent data exfiltration, it chose to test BloxOne™ Threat Defense, which is available for considerably less than its current solution yet provides improved DNS lookup and better-performing, more secure technology without needing direct platform management.
Even as an industry leader, it faces strong competition from other well-known, globally branded competitors. With lean operations and decentralized staff, its business depends on highly secure, always-on reliability, visibility, efficiency and control for ongoing success. As noted, due to its size and global scale, even an hour offline can cost tens of millions of dollars, necessitating a critical focus on its global infrastructure. Existing DDI freeware solutions could not scale to meet global needs, and its cloud-based DNS solution was difficult to manage. Discovery tools did not work consistently across on-premises and cloud environments, and regional cloud security subscription capacity could not keep up with growing global requirements. Moreover, migration to a SaaS-based platform was set aside because of legal, latency and performance issues, as well as the untenable control risk associated with placing its data in third-party environments. To solve these challenges, representatives from the company’s IT team joined Infoblox’s technical advisory board to help define a new architecture and plan for transforming its environment to avoid future network outages and optimize global presence and geo-local response.
The energy, oil and gas company initiated a multi-billion-dollar technology upgrade for headquarters, data centers and subsidiaries. Its global network connects thousands of on-premises and remote valves, flow control, programmable logic controllers, telemetry and a host of other oil, gas and chemical devices and machinery. Many of these systems require IoT sensors for monitoring and control, and they must be reliably operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Visibility, redundancy and resiliency are critical, and if any systems go down, recovery speed and the continued ability to make changes are essential. This was proven during a hurricane when a refinery and chemical plant was knocked offline. DNS and DHCP locally were unavailable due to a communications failure with the data center causing lengthy and costly delays. Avoiding service interruptions and the agility to get sites back up and running quickly are essential.
Network security, especially data exfiltration, was also a prime concern. So, the company used internal and third-party security resources for rigorous, ongoing testing of security solutions including Infoblox’s BloxOne Threat Defense. In the process, BloxOne Threat Defense could not be breached. The solution worked so well that data exfiltration attempts could not pass on-premises appliances and were stopped well before they could ever reach the cloud. Infoblox DNS analytics provided even greater insight and threat protection. Unlike cloud-only solutions that fail when offline, BloxOne Threat Defense’s hybrid architecture combines on-premises and cloud DNS capabilities to provide reliable, industry-leading protection and recursive access to the Internet for normal, continued business operations.
Driven by the need for global visibility, automation, control and security, the company is moving toward cloud DNS and subscription services for global presence, capacity and geo-local response. It is testing SD-WAN and exploring secure access service edge (SASE—the future of cloud security), the cloud-native, container-based framework that integrates networking and security services in the cloud. It also wants to run analytics in close proximity to endpoints and apply big data analytics for better, faster information and control. But achieving these changes requires a new network architecture and technology transformation.
Deeply engaged in the planning process, the company selected Infoblox Next-Level Networking to replace its existing non-Infoblox DNS/DHCP infrastructure in a more cost-effective, multi-phase, multi-year approach. It wanted to eliminate its dedicated physical WAN circuits, manual static DNS/DHCP configurations, inefficient non-automated processes, departmental silos and centralized perimeter-based security.
At the center of the Infoblox solution are the Trinzic XXX5 physical, virtual and cloud-based appliances. These are the latest generation of reliable, security-hardened, automated, distributed, high-availability and easy-to-manage machines that power Infoblox’s core network, security, cloud and value-added service solutions from headquarters to the network edge.
Starting in 2019, the company began its rollout, upgrading hundreds of small, medium and large appliances with virtual machines in corporate, data center, subsidiary and remote sites. This upgrade included numerous BloxOne DDI deployments to provide an architecturally efficient, centralized point of visibility and control for on-premises deployments, data centers with remote locations and cloud SaaS environments.
It also anticipates adding BloxOne Threat Defense to achieve the DNS security, reliability and global protection it requires. This addition will enable the company to detect and block data exfiltration and malware command and control (C&C) communications via DNS, thereby reducing cyber incidents, minimizing risk and strengthening compliance initiatives. BloxOne Threat Defense provides real-time analytics, ecosystem integrations, contextual insights and machine learning to move it closer to its objective of client-based, big data analytics for better network control.
The Trinzic XXX5 appliances enable an array of applications with the speed, capacity and functionality required to get the most from emerging digital technologies. They improve performance by two to three times for DNS and supply a 38 percent improvement for DHCP (based on tests running NIOS 8.4+). Trinzic XXX5s provide the latest network drivers, deploy new network services with improved DDI performance and empower Infoblox value-added solutions. They unleash the latest application features and offer portability between physical, virtual and cloud appliances. They also support predictable budget cycles and are compatible with the NIOS development roadmap. More importantly, they enable the energy, gas and oil company to continue its global brand leadership on a modern, agile, globally distributed foundation to achieve local response, visibility, automation, Zero Trust security, scalability and control for highly secure global, core network services.