University of North Texas
The University of North Texas, facing rapid network growth and the consolidation of services, achieves continuous uptime, reduced cost, and less human error by migrating to centralized, integrated DNS and DHCP management.
The University of North Texas is a public university located in Denton, Texas. Denton is the flagship campus of the University of North Texas System, which also includes the UNT Health Science Center at Fort Worth, UNT Dallas, and the UNT at Dallas College of Law opening in thefall of 2012.
With an enrollment of over 36,000 students, UNT is the fourth-largest university in the state. UNT offers 97 bachelors, 101 masters and 48 doctoral degree programs within the university’s12 colleges and schools. Notable alumni include Roy Orbison, Dr. Phil, ‘Mean’ Joe Green and Norah Jones. The University hosts websites for the Laura Bush Foundation, the Texas State Historical Association and the sunset 911 commission, among others. For UNT the automation of normal daily activities including DNS management and other critical functions are essential for overall service availability and network uptime.
UNT was experiencing rapid network growth that eventually included the consolidation of services across all the institutions in the UNT system. The rapid growth pooled with the need tosave money meant UNT had to look outside their homegrown systems for a more reliable and manageable solution.
Nearly three years ago, the University outgrew the homegrown DNS and DHCP network services solution and had to decide how to position services to support the impending installation of Microsoft’s Active Directory (AD) Services. For several years, the University was using ahomegrown solution to manage their records but it was not capable of supporting AD. The problems with the system were related to a weakness in their dynamic DNS architecture and Microsoft AD. AD provides critical services including Windows logon, and also supports a wide range of directory services that support Microsoft applications. Two critical network services that Active Directory relies on are DNS and DHCP.
DNS and DHCP services are usually integrated with Microsoft Active Directory and are often deployed on Microsoft Domain Controllers along with other services, such as print and file sharing. The University’s homegrown system was not capable of keeping their database insynch with their configuration files and Microsoft AD.
“We came to the decision to go with a commercial product,” said Blair Copeland at The University of North Texas. “The most important criteria were reliability, manageability and a solution that could import our records through an API.”
Four vendors were evaluated. Of the four vendors evaluated, the Infoblox Grid™ solution was the only solution to offer the kind of reliability and flexibility required by UNT, with the ability to seamlessly migrate the records from the homegrown system to the Infoblox solution.
“Here at the University, email service is absolutely critical,” said Copeland. “The resiliency and manageability of our DNS and DHCP network services directly impact the ability to operate all applications, including email.
After three years, the University now owns 21 Infoblox appliances. Because of the multiple DHCP groups combined with the more than 40 domain sites the University hosts on campus, itis essential that not just anyone can plug into the network and get an IP address. In addition to the ease of use and continuous uptime, the use of Infoblox appliances provides the University convenient features such as centralized management. Infoblox delivers high-availability and secure infrastructure with easy to deploy, manageable appliances. Additional benefits include:
Continuous uptime with patented Grid technology and centralized management
Reduces cost and increases visibility with built-in, automated IP address management
Eliminates unnecessary risk of human error or misconfiguration Scales to meet themost complex, distributed environments within the education sector
Enables staff to focus on more business-impacting initiatives instead of the typical reactive, manual approach.