How do you assign and manage IP addresses on a Microsoft Active
Directory (AD) network when the old quick and dirty process of
tracking that information in an Excel spreadsheet is finally
overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the problem?
According to Santa Clara, Calif.-based Infoblox, the answer is
to install WinConnect, a standalone appliance that interfaces with
AD and provides a centralized dashboard for network device IP
address management, or IPAM.
Most networks, including AD-based ones, rely on the Internet
standard domain naming system (DNS) and dynamic host configuration
protocol (DHCP) to provide network addressing functions. However,
there are shortcomings in the tools Microsoft provides for managing
“DHCP is used increasingly to hand out IP addresses,” Richard
Kagan, vice president of marketing at Infoblox, told
InternetNews.com. “But the management tools from Microsoft
are pretty minimal,” he added.
The new WinConnect appliances, which are scheduled to be
available in December, aim to simplify IP address management as
well as to provide visibility for IPAM across the entire
enterprise. That becomes more critical as more and more devices
– from laptops to BlackBerries, IP phones, and smart phones
– require network connectivity.
“There’s a cost in lack of visibility, including unnecessary
help desk calls and time that IT staff has to spend managing IP
addresses,” Kagan added. As the problem becomes more intractable,
it also spills over into adjacent areas such as network
reliability, disaster recovery, security compliance, and
“If customers need to have an end-to-end management scheme,
[then] you need a system you can overlay on all of that,” Robert
Whiteley, senior analyst at Forrester Research, told
InternetNews.com. “They’re [Infoblox is] providing that
bridge,” he added.
For one thing, taking an appliance-based approach enables IT to
consolidate IPAM functions and push them down to the network team,
rather than parcel management tasks out to different administrators
around the enterprise, thus lowering labor costs and reducing
confusion and errors.
“[Using appliances] is a trend that’s emerging,” Whiteley said.
Neither is Infoblox the only company in the IPAM appliance arena.
Other players include Blue Cat Networks and BT, he added.
All in all, Whiteley added, such appliances aim to help
customers achieve what he terms “utility-grade networks.”
WinConnect is “agentless,” meaning that it doesn’t need to
install a piece of WinConnect software on every server.
Additionally, it provides automatic discovery of new devices on the
network, eliminating manual, error-prone cataloging of IP
addresses. It also automatically maintains audit logs to document
who performed what actions.
WinConnect will be available on the Infoblox-250, -550, -1050,
and -1550 appliance platforms. An Infoblox-250 appliance with
WinConnect will start at $2,995, according to the company.
Article courtesy of internetnews.com