Alcatel-Lucent Expands IP Address and DNS Management

How does your enterprise manage IP and DNS information?

Alcatel-Lucent this week rolled out the VitalQIP 1200 platform, providing enterprises and service providers with a new solution to help manage IP and DNS information. On the DNS side, the VitalQIP 1200 can deliver up to 100,000 DNS queries per second. For DHCP services, it can deliver 12,000 leases per second. The VitalQIP 1200 is built on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 and is also available as a software appliance.

Steve Wiggins, director of product management for VitalQIP at Alcatel-Lucent, explained to that the VitalQIP 1200 is the latest evolution of an IP management platform his company has had for over a decade. He noted that the new VitalQIP 1200 delivers more performance than its predecessors and offers dual power supplies for increased reliability.

The new VitalQIP 1200 arrives as the market and need for IP and DNS management devices is likely to grow. Wiggins noted that often the way that organizations attempt to manage IP address allocations is by tracking them via a spreadsheet.

“When we look at IPv6 or large systems of 5,000 or more addresses it becomes too difficult to manage IPs without a system,” Wiggins said.

Phil Morrison, director of marketing for performance and management solutions at Alcatel-Lucent told that the influx of new devices like smartphones and tablets coming onto the network and IPv6 have dramatically expanded the complexity of IP address management.

“Consider the VitalQIP 1200 the first series of our next generation in the space of IP address management,” Morrison said.

Widely anticipated, IPv6 adoption still slow

Though new IPv4 address space is no longer available, IPv6 adoption has remained slow. Morrison noted that many of the service provider and enterprise customers he talks to are not actually deploying IPv6 in 2011. That said, he added that having IPv6 capabilities is a line item requirement for most networking purchases at enterprises, service providers and governments.

“Most of our software and hardware that is being used for IPv6 is used in testing environments within major companies and they’re waiting to move forward,” Morrison said. “As people are moving to IPv6, we’re finding that things aren’t necessarily working as customers need them to work.”

For example, Morrison noted that there have been issues with VoIP on IPv6, and that there are some concerns over using DHCP on IPv6 as well. The VitalQIP 1200 system supports a dual IPv4/IPv6 stack to enable users to have both addressing systems for IP management.

On the DNS side, Morrison explained that IPv6 uses a separate record type known as AAAA (quad A) which will run on the VitalQIP 1200 as a single server alongside and IPv4 DNS A record.

DHCP is another story and also requires a dual stack.

“DHCPv6 is a completely distinct and different entity,” Morrison said. “The protocol is similar but a lot of things change, including the handshake.”

The Alcatel-Lucent system is based on the open source ISC BIND DNS server with some added features and usability built on top. The DHCP servers for both IPv4 and IPv6 were built from scratch by Alcatel-Lucent.

The DNS server on VitalQIP 1200 also supports DNSSEC, though according to Morrison, DNSSEC is not a technology that is widely deployed yet. The need for DNSSEC was heightened in 2008 after security researcher Dan Kaminsky disclosed a flaw in DNS. With DNSSEC, records are cryptographically signed in order to help ensure authenticity. The root zone of the Internet DNS was signed for DNSSEC in July.

“We work mainly with government accounts for DNSSEC,” Morrison said. “Everyone is talking about it, however it is still very slow in terms of adoption. It’s just like IPv6 in that way, it’s something that has got to be there and customers are testing it.”

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.

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