Infoblox IT Operations
“We were able to light up the new building for DNS, DHCP, and IP addresses simply by installing appliances and making them members on our Grid. All the information that resided in the old building was instantly available in the new building.” — Director of IT operations, Infoblox
Infoblox delivers essential technology to help businesses and government organizations control networks. The company’s products automate complex network-control functions to reduce costs and to increase security and uptime. Infoblox operates in more than 25 countries and has more than 6,700 customers.
Beginning in 2003, Infoblox operated out of a headquarters campus at 4750 Patrick Henry Drive in Santa Clara, CA. But the successful company eventually outgrew the premises, and in 2012, began preparations to move to a larger facility on nearby Coronado Drive. The overall project took 12 months as the IT organization built out the backbones and networks for the new building. Since this work took place in the background, day-to-day operations were not affected. But when move-in day arrived, there was the possibility that operations could be disrupted.
“I’ve taken part in more than a dozen large moves over the years,” says Eric Listol, director of IT operations at Infoblox. “There’s usually a cutover during which employees experience some downtime.” He points out that downtime is no longer acceptable. “It’s not the same as it was 10 years ago,” he says. “IT is not about solving technology problems anymore. It’s about solving business problems.”
In this case—because Infoblox uses its own products to manage its network— the business problem simply went away.
“We were able to light up the new building for DNS, DHCP, and IP addresses simply by installing appliances and making them members on our grid,” Listol says. “All the information that resided in the old building was instantly available in the new building. And this was possible because of the reliability of our grid architecture.”
By “grid” Listol means the patented Infoblox Grid™ architecture designed to support high-availability operations and withstand security scans and attacks. By connecting security-hardened Infoblox appliances, the Infoblox Grid centralizes network control across subnets, zones, and sites. A central appliance—called a “grid master”—pushes global configuration data and other information out to other appliances. The grid master is coupled with an integrated, zero-administration, real-time database, which enables the grid to deliver services without data loss or corruption if a device or wide-area network (WAN) fails.
Connections and communications across the grid obey established principles of high availability.
The central appliance and all its subordinate appliances can be instantly upgraded in case a new operational fix or security flaw has been identified or a new patch has been made available.
Servers can be linked in high-availability pairs, with constant back-and-forth health checking and automatic failover. There is no single point of failure, and if a link fails temporarily, communications go into a queue that is maintained until the link is restored.
The grid master can be coupled with a mirrored backup appliance at another site that can take over instantly.
These features are aimed primarily at reliability and availability in the event of a power failure, a natural catastrophe, or a denial-of-service hacking attack. They proved just as useful for preventing downtime during the move.
“This was one of the smoothest moves I’ve been part of.”
Because of Infoblox Grid technology, once network connectivity was established, it took less than an hour for Listol’s team to bring the new campus online as far as DNS, DHCP, and IPAM was concerned. With this critical core functionality enabled, the team could focus on other aspects of the move, such as moving the entire server room in one night.
Infoblox employees left their desks on Patrick Henry Drive at the end of the day on Friday, and on Monday morning they plugged in at their desks on Coronado and started working. There was no interruption of core services. Everything that relies on DNS and DHCP was available. They had the Internet. They had email. They had phones.
“In most campus moves there’s usually a process of IT staff troubleshooting IP connectivity and IP addressing issues before the employees can start working,” says Listol. “That wasn’t necessary for this move: DNS and DHCP were solid. Connectivity had been guaranteed weeks before move-in. It was one of the most successful moves I’ve been part of.”
When asked whether it was the relatively small scale of the move that made it go so smoothly, Listol says no. “I credit the success of the move to my team and the Infoblox Grid,” he says. “The core services of IP address request and resolution were rock solid when we moved in. If there had been 4,000 employees instead of 400, we would have followed the same process, and it would have worked just as well.”
For more information, please contact your Infoblox representative or visit www.infoblox.com