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Nominum Changes DHCP Landscape

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Nominum, the leader in network naming and addressing solutions, changes the DHCP landscape with significant enhancements to the Dynamic Configuration System (DCS), its commercial-grade Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) server featuring the industry's best performance, scalability, and availability for IP network connections. The new DCS includes support for DHCPv6 and extensive new management capabilities that allow network operations staff to make the best use of precious IP addresses.

The new DCS features these additional enhancements:

  • SNMP-based management with alerts (traps) for critical notification of events such as:

    Abandoned addresses to flag potential problems on the network or detect DoS attacks

    Notification when a "remaining address" threshold is exceeded to allow high service levels to be maintained with an absolute minimum of IP addresses
  • High performance Dynamic DNS (DDNS) support for IPv4 and IPv6 allows automated updates of host information in authoritative DNS servers
  • Complete standards-based support for both DHCPv4 and DHCPv6 as well as IPv4 and IPv6 transport on a single server

Before any device can connect to the Internet it needs to be configured with an IP address. DHCP has become the predominant method of providing IP addresses and other configuration parameters for IP-enabled devices in service provider and enterprise networks. DHCP is invisible when there are no issues with Internet connections or IP addresses but new requirements stretch the capabilities of most DHCP servers designed many years ago for the Internet of the past. Personal computers have long used DHCP but now a multitude of new devices such as smart phones, VoIP devices, and netbooks depend on it to get network access. With IPv6 gaining traction, hundreds of millions of additional devices will need connectivity and configuration parameters; and common applications such as voice over IP are not tolerant of any down time. Nominum's DCS is designed for the new Internet.

"After migrating our DHCP infrastructure to Nominum DCS we have seen a significant improvement in our network," said Xavier Darche, director of platform operations at Numericable. "The new management capabilities greatly simplify our operations and allow us to manage our addresses more effectively. Customer satisfaction is also higher because DHCP is literally always available, which is critical for an Internet Service Provider that offers broadband Internet, telephony, and video on-demand services."

Substantial enhancements to the management capabilities of Nominum DCS make it easier for service providers to identify problems on their networks and tightly control allocation of precious IP addresses. Abandoned addresses on a network can signal problems with hosts or a DoS attack that is attempting to bring down the DHCP server and thus shut down network access. With Nominum's new features, operators are instantly notified of unusual behavior on the network. Thresholds on remaining addresses also proactively notify operators so they can take action before address pools are exhausted.

DHCP is a product of the DHC working group of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). The DHC Working Group developed DHCP and continues to oversee extensions to the protocol. The group is responsible for reviewing other Internet drafts that use the services provided by DHCP to ensure compatibility and effective use of the widely deployed infrastructure that supports the protocol. Nominum continues to support the advancement of the naming and addressing standards that directly impact the Internet. Ted Lemon, a principal software architect at Nominum, has assumed a role as co-chair of the IETF Dynamic Host Configuration (DHC) Working Group.

Advancements in DCS Eliminate Internet Downtime

Most existing DHCP servers are significantly challenged supporting IPv4 networks, lacking the underlying architecture to allocate and manage IP addresses and host configuration parameters while maintaining performance at massive scale; these requirements are magnified with IPv6. Nominum developed a special in-memory database for DCS that is completely optimized to deliver high performance. A transaction log is maintained on the server's hard disk so the database can be recovered instantly in the event of a system crash. In addition, DCS has open interfaces to integrate with databases commonly used in conjunction with DHCP servers such as RADIUS, provisioning databases, or LDAP. Competitive products lack these fundamental structural advantages and can not be retrofitted.

Clear benefits of these technology advancements from Nominum have been verified in a report from the Tolly Group. Rigorous testing showed DCS can support 100 times more load than open-source based DHCP solutions and allocate IP addresses 20 times faster.

Advanced failover capabilities built into DCS, such as active/active redundancy and "on the fly" configuration (no server restart after configuration changes), ensure 100 percent availability. The Tolly report verifies DCS can restart ten times faster than competitive DHCP servers and maintain 100 percent availability with two servers deployed in an active/active configuration that totally eliminates downtime. Customer experience backs up the results of the availability testing performed by the Tolly Group. Previously, Penn State University reported that it achieved 100 percent uptime of its DHCP service for four consecutive years with DCS.

"DHCP is another part of the Internet infrastructure that has been taken for granted for too long. Incumbent vendors are abandoning products developed for yesterday's Internet because they can't afford a complete redesign," said Gopala Tumuluri, vice president of marketing for Nominum. "The advantages of our software architecture are readily apparent with these latest enhancements and with our flawless track record of performance and availability."


About Nominum – Nominum is the innovation leader in DNS software and Internet Activity Applications. The company's Vantio™ CacheServe software powers the Internet for the world's largest CSPs in 40 countries. Vantio™ ThreatAvert software arms CSP's with the power to stop the spread of inside threats such as botnets and DNS-based DDoS amplification attacks that could impact network availability and reputation. Nominum's N2 applications enable CSP's marketing and customer care teams to leverage subscribers' Internet Activity to better engage, build brand loyalty, improve marketing ROI, and open up new business models. Nominum is a global organization headquartered in Redwood City, CA. Learn More

Related topics: Cyberattack, DNS, IP Addressing, IPv6, Security, VoIP


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