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Video security equipment manufacturer Pelco solves availability, response-time, security, and ease-of-management issues by replacing Windows-based services with integrated DDI.


Industry: Technology

The Customer

Pelco is the world’s largest video security equipment manufacturer and has won numerous community and state awards for business excellence. The company has an extensive customer base, selling its more than 4,500 finished products via a network of dealers throughout the United States and in over 130 countries.

Pelco has facilities in New York, which allow it to compete more effectively on the East Coast. Recently the company opened additional sales and training offices in Las Vegas, Nevada, the Netherlands, Europe, South America and Singapore. The company’s products are in more than 1 million locations worldwide, including the Statue of Liberty in New York, and Pelco is committed to continue its position as the best supplier of video security equipment in the industry.

Making customer satisfaction and quality top priorities is key to maintaining that position. In order to do that, a network infrastructure that delivers nonstop domain name system (DNS) dynamic host configuration protocol (DHCP), and IP address management (IPAM) services is essential.

The Challenge

Pelco previously relied on Microsoft Active Directory and Windows servers/domain controllers deployed throughout its highly distributed network to deliver the essential DNS, DHCP and IPAM services. However, slow response times for Active Directory, fault-tolerance shortcomings, security vulnerabilities and overly cumbersome and frequent upgrade requirements burdened Pelco’s already stretched IT staff and compromised network availability.

Randall Williams, global IT operations manager at Pelco, commented: “I need DNS to just run without interference or worry so that we can address other problems faster and confidently deploy new applications.”

In addition to experiencing frequent network availability issues with its previous solution, Pelco plans to deploy a Voice over IP (VoIP) network that requires instant and reliable IP address assignment and management for dial-tone like availability.

As a result, Pelco set out to identify a new solution for delivering essential DNS, DHCP and IPAM network identity services with the following criteria:

Reliability and security;
Easy deployment and administration throughout a distributed environment;
Complements a Microsoft AD environment; and
Scalable to meet demands of advanced IP applications like VoIP.

The Solution

Pelco selected and deployed Infoblox appliances, which are purpose-built devices designed to provide the foundation for Identity-driven networks (IDNs). The Infoblox appliances with the DNSone module deliver next-generation DNS, DHCP and IPAM network identity services in a secure and easy-to-manage form factor.

Pelco initially identified Infoblox as a potential solution at the Networld+Interop tradeshow. After receiving a demonstration at the show, and receiving an evaluation unit shortly thereafter, Pelco was convinced the Infoblox appliance approach met its needs. Pelco also evaluated a BlueCat solution, but found it didn’t have all the features Pelco required, such as integrated DHCP.

The team decided to initially purchase one pair of Infoblox appliances and start a phased approach to replacing its previous solution working from the inside out. However, unexpectedly, an external DNS windows server failed, requiring immediate action. The team replaced the device with the Infoblox evaluation unit. In less than two hours, the Infoblox appliance was configured, turned on and resolving DNS queries. It would have taken quadruple the time to rebuild the Microsoft windows box. The Pelco team decided to immediately purchase and deploy 8 Infoblox devices instead of a pair at a time.

Three Infoblox appliances with the DNSone package are deployed in Pelco’s New York office; one is resolving external DNS queries only and the others are deployed in a high-availability (HA) pair, providing internal DNS and DHCP services. At the company’s headquarters in Clovis, Calif.—where there are 2,000 employees on the campus and approximately seven buildings—Pelco has an HA pair deployed as a “hidden” grid master and then another HA pair serving as secondaries. These devices provide DNS and DHCP services for the entire campus. Also deployed at the company headquarters are two appliances performing external DNS resolution. All the Infoblox appliances are integrated with a centrally managed Microsoft AD server, housing company-wide identity information. In the future, Pelco plans to deploy more Infoblox appliances at its European and Asia Pacific locations.

The Result

The Pelco team recognizes the importance of delivering nonstop DNS, DHCP and IPAM network identity services for 24X7 network availability. For this reason, the team was pleased to find a solution that included dedicated, purpose-built appliances that provide deployment, management, reliability and security advantages over general purpose server and BIND freeware implementations.

The simplicity of immediately replacing one of its previous external DNS solutions with an Infoblox device during a failure illustrated to the Pelco team the value of an Infoblox solution throughout a distributed environment. Additionally, the devices allow quick changes and additions, and require no experts to maintain.

Williams commented, “There were intermittent reliability or configuration issues every couple of days with our old solution. Simply put, Infoblox is more reliable and easier for staff to configure and administer. This is especially useful for remote office deployment.”

Added Williams, “Since deploying Infoblox, I just don’t have to worry about these services, which is a huge relief and gives me the confidence to deploy our VoIP application knowing the necessary reliable and scalable infrastructure is in place to support it.”

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