University of Pennsylvania
“The Infoblox appliances never go down and even when we perform upgrades, the leases are still handed out—service is never interrupted. I would recommend Infoblox to anyone who asks.” —System administrator, University of Pennsylvania
Co-founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1740, University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) is the fourth oldest institution of higher education in the United States. Also among one of the Colonial Colleges, UPenn is one of the eight members of the Ivy League well-known for its programs in medical, dental, business, law, nursing and veterinary.
In the Facilities and Real Estate Services (FRES) department, UPenn had been running Microsoft Windows-based servers to deliver domain name system (DNS) services and IP addresses were assigned static-ly. All boxes are subject to power outage issues; this approach offered little capability for resiliency and high availability of essential DNS services, which are critical to overall network uptime and access to any application, such as their in house payroll system, work order management system and many others. As FRES grew with many more systems requiring dynamic IP addresses, the IT team needed to abandon their outdated approach to these network infrastructure services.
Further, managing the university’s IPAM consisted of assigning each machine with a static IP – this technique proved not to be efficient as FRES continued to grow and distribute more and more IP addresses.
FRES selected a redundant high availability (HA) cluster of Infoblox-550’s for internal DNS services, DHCP and IPAM. When Richard Conti, System Administrator at the university started his role with FRES, he inherited an old set of Infoblox appliances. When they reached their end-of-life, he deployed two new ones in an HA cluster that were replacement units.
Conti’s team is responsible for the overall campus facilities computing, including IP address management of HVAC temperature controls for research and emergency services.
Infoblox’s easily customizable solutions have made it possible for UPenn’s facilities department to address all its DNS, DHCP and IPAM issues. They were particularly impressed with the Infoblox appliances, central management, easy updates/patching and “one-button” disaster recovery capability.
“We really like the reliability and the ease of upgrade. The dashboard is great and makes it easy to resolve any issues through your single pane of glass versus into these services,” said Conti. “We really love the resolution. Gathering information is so easy because everything is connected and optimized into one visual info graph – no use of smart folders.”
The Infoblox solution was easy to deploy and simple to upgrade because it eliminates the need to install and manage an operating system and offers an intuitive graphical user interface (GUI). Instead, DNS and DHCP services can be easily managed by a purpose-built, HA appliance that is inherently secure, reliable and scalable, freeing network administration resources and providing increased security for these critical network services. Managing the university’s IP addresses also has simplified tremendously. They no longer manually assign IP address and keep track in spreadsheets. The Infoblox appliances have allowed them to track IP addresses that are given out while viewing the address scheme across the entire network.
“I can only imagine trying to update domain controllers running Microsoft DNS and trying to patch them with MS updates in production – that would be a nightmare,” concluded Conti. “While we are upgrading the Infoblox appliances, they never go down and the leases are still handed out – service never goes down. I would recommend Infoblox to anyone who asks.”