One of the Largest Electrical Utilities in the U.S.
Infoblox partner World Wide Technology helps a utility company replace hard-to-manage generic servers with state-of-the-art DDI.
Founded in 1990, World Wide Technology (WWT) has grown from a small product reseller into a global systems integrator with more than $5 billion in annual revenue and 2,200 employees around the world. Ranked 93rd on Forbes’ Largest Private Companies list and 24th on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list, WWT serves the technology needs of large public and private organizations. The company attributes its ongoing success to strict adherence to core values, a clear vision and mission, and a customer-focused team of professionals.
WWT’s Advanced Technology Center (ATC) provides hands-on access to more than $30M in cutting-edge data-center, virtualization, collaboration, networking, and security products along with technical expertise from an expansive team of engineering resources. Live and remote access to ATC demonstrations, executive briefings, workshops, labs, proofs-of-concept, advisory services, and training help WWT clients make informed decisions and get the most out of their technology investments.
In WWT’s first engagement as an Infoblox partner, the client was a major electrical utility company in the United States that serves millions of customers. Its electricity-transmission network extends for nearly 40,000 miles, and it operates more 765-kilovolt transmission lines than any other power utility in the country. The company’s mission is to manage programs and deploy technologies that enhance safety, protect the environment, deliver energy efficiently, and give customers control over how much energy they use.
Infoblox and WWT first engaged this client in 2010. The company was using generic servers to run a legacy network management solution that was a dying product in the industry. The vendor was no longer developing it, and had begun to reduce support. The customer’s complaints about the solution were the same ones Infoblox is accustomed to hearing whenever it encounters generic servers in a customer account: high maintenance overhead, no redundancy, lack of security, and too much manual work.
The Infoblox Solution
The power company wanted to replace its outmoded system with an integrated solution for managing Domain Name System (DNS), Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), and IP address management (IPAM). Since Infoblox supplies a DNS/DHS/IPAM (DDI) solution that integrates all three functions and allows them to be controlled from a single interface, the Santa Clara, California, based company was an obvious contender.
Although talks between Infoblox and the customer began in 2010, the request for proposal (RFP) wasn’t issued until 2013. The main problem was getting budget approval, and the customer’s IT managers battled through two budget cycles before evaluation of solutions got into gear. The RFP included a proof-of-concept demonstration, and the customer had a bake-off between Infoblox and one other vendor. Infoblox won not only on the strength of its combined integrated management suite, but because of one of its security products as well.
“One thing that was different,” says John Bianco, Infoblox account executive, “was that their security people were involved in the evaluation. They’re a power company, and that’s a heavily regulated industry, so security is very important to them, not just platform security, but also network and firewalls.”
The evaluators showed a lot of interest in DNS Firewall, a unique solution that closes a dangerous vulnerability that DNS servers create even for companies with elaborate modern defense-in-depth IT security systems. Drawing on the Infoblox Malware Data Feed Service, which continually collects information on malicious domains from 36 different public and proprietary sources throughout the world, DNS Firewall automatically blocks outgoing communications to those domains, effectively neutralizing malware that has managed to slip into DNS servers.
Throughout this long procurement process, the Infoblox/WWT team worked together to deliver maximum value. “One of the things I think was really important is the relationship WWT has with its accounts,” says Bianco. “They’re not just about getting things done. They’re about understanding where the customer is at, and what their situation is. They get to know people up and down the chain in the customer’s organization, and they’re really able to help with things like where the customer is in the approval process.”
At the time of this writing, the installation is in progress, so the customer is still looking forward to centrally managed DNS, DHCP, and IPAM services, better security and reporting, and automation to reduce the burden on IT staff.
But that doesn’t mean there haven’t already been beneficial results. “One thing in particular we were able to help with was distribution,” says Scott Counter, WWT account manager. “Because of the discount price the customer negotiated with Infoblox, everything had to be on one purchase order, but the customer has 14 locations. WWT was able to accept the whole shipment at a single location, and then distribute the components to the appropriate locations.”
And while the team is working to deliver the solution, WWT is taking steps to support more successful joint wins with Infoblox. “We recently completed an installation of Infoblox in the ATC that can be accessed remotely,” says Nicole Tate, WWT business manager. “Our customers can see proof-of-concept demonstrations in complex environments. We want to make it as easy as possible for them to select the right solution for their requirements.”
For more information, please contact your Infoblox representative or visit www.infoblox.com