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Newell Rubbermaid

“We like the way we can set custom Grids and maintenance anywhere in the world. We can change domain names and give authorization and granular access control to the grid.” — Manager of network services, Newell Rubbermaid Inc.


Industry: Manufacturing

The Customer

Newell Rubbermaid Inc., an S&P 500 company, is a global marketer of consumer and commercial products with sales of approximately $6 billion. At Newell Rubbermaid, their vision is to be a global company of Brands That Matter™ and great people, known for best-in-class results. Newell Rubbermaid is transforming into a global, consumer-centric company by investing in research that helps better understand consumers and their needs. In turn, these insights are helping to develop breakthrough product innovations that deliver meaningful solutions.

Newell Rubbermaid has a strong portfolio of brands including Rubbermaid® Sharpie®, Graco®, Calphalon®, Irwin®, Lenox®, Levolor®, Paper Mate®, Dymo, Waterman, Parker, Goody®, Technical Concepts™ and Aprica®. It is organized into three groups: Home & Family; Office Products; and Tools, Hardware & Commercial Products Group. In the U.S., more than 90 percent of households use at least one Newell Rubbermaid product.

The Challenge

Newell Rubbermaid is constantly innovating and improving product offerings to meet the needs of consumers. From office products such as Sharpie and Paper Mate to juvenile products from Graco and their consumer cookware in Calphalon, Newell Rubbermaid touches the lives of millions of consumers everyday where they live, work and play. The company’s well-recognized brands are sold around the globe.

Given the high standards which Newell Rubbermaid upholds for its own products, they expect the same from the key applications and systems helping keep their business operating effectively 24×7.

Unfortunately, Newell Rubbermaid’s previous domain name resolution (DNS), IP address assignment (DHCP) and IP address management (IPAM) systems—all essential to the daily operation and availability of all the company’s applications—were prone to failures and were not meeting those standards.

For years, Newell Rubbermaid used Cisco Network Registrar (CNR). The product did an “average” job; however, average was not sufficient given Newell Rubbermaid’s worldwide growth plans and disaster recovery, scalability and management requirements. Newell Rubbermaid needed to replace its aging CNR infrastructure and wanted an appliance-based DNS/DHCP system for increased security and reduced total cost of ownership.

The Solution

After reading an article in Network World about DNS and Infoblox appliances, the IT departmentat Newell Rubbermaid began talking to local VARs and other vendors about options with Infoblox. They examined their own product roadmap, budget and goals and felt the Infoblox appliances with the company’s unique grid technology would be a perfect fit for their organization. Without looking at any other vendors, the decision was made to purchase Infoblox appliances.

Newell Rubbermaid purchased and deployed 14 Infoblox appliances throughout its data centers in the United States, including facilities in Illinois, Louisiana, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Arizona and Texas. As a worldwide organization with many regional offices and brands, Infoblox’s grid technology provides simple and easy access to the whole system. The Infoblox grid technology links a collection of appliances into a unified, centrally-managed, core network services platform. The devices and data are managed as a single entity allowing the Newell Rubbermaid IT staff to streamline their operations. In 2009, Newell Rubbermaid also will deploy one high availability pair in England and another pair in Australia and Brazil.

Another driver for using Infoblox appliances was the management of subdomains and continued visibility into the network. Using Infoblox’s GUI, a regional server was setup to manage all of Newell Rubbermaid’s subdomains. The regional subdomain contains data from all of the computers in the region, including computers at locations within the region. There are both primary and secondary internal DNS name servers at regional sites.

Infoblox’s GUI and support for delegated administration make the appliance solution well-suited for use in regional sites. The IT staff at Newell Rubbermaid can now retain overall control of appliance configurations, ensuring they use the right forwarder and apply the necessary access control details. The GUI prevents local IT staff from making changes they shouldn’t make and provides a simple interface for managing zone and DHCP data without specialized DNS or DHCP expertise.

The Result

After upgrading core network services to better meet business needs with Infoblox systems,the Newell Rubbermaid IT department realized improved uptime, immediate administrative advantages and reduced maintenance costs. “We like the way we can set custom grids and maintenance anywhere in the world,” Dick Emford, Manager of Network Services, Newell Rubbermaid Inc. “We can change domain names and give authorization and granular access control to the grid. And, Infoblox appliances provide seamless changes and require little to no training of our IT staff. We can sit down for 10 – 15 minutes, and they are good to go.”

Additionally, one of the unexpected results was improved (or added) ability to view real time and historical log reports. Using Infoblox, system and protocol activity reports provide real-time and historical DNS and DHCP performance graphs and DNS query log reports. The Admin and Object Audit Log reporting tool turns log data into useful information by producing user-configurable reports. The user audit report allows Newell Rubbermaid administrators to quickly and easily generate detailed usage and audit reports.

“With Infoblox we get system and protocol activity reports providing real-time and historical DNS and DHCP performance graphs and DNS query logs,” said Dick Emford. “We are able to generate detailed usage and audit reports based on user, IP, MAC, date, or on any combination. I can see what is granted and what is expired and that is a beautiful thing.”

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