Always looking to provide its staff and customers with the best possible network services and support, Oxford Networks (Oxford), a Maine-based telecommunications company providing phone, Internet and data services to businesses and residents across the State of Maine, began researching the best methods of simplifying and centralizing management of its DDI (DNS, DHCP and IP Address Management (IPAM)) platforms.
"We were using an Open Source database for IP Management and several Open Source implementations of DNS & DHCP on a variety of hardware platforms," said Todd DeWitt, Director of Technology, Oxford Networks. "Each box was managed via command line and neither service was truly redundant," DeWitt continued. "Changes required an Engineer and errors were easy to make."
Oxford began researching available methods of simplifying management of its network infrastructure. These methods included in-house options as well as solutions from appliance vendors.
"We looked at rebuilding everything ourselves via more Open Source and also researched the available 'appliance' vendors," noted DeWitt. "We could not find a vendor or Open Source method for making our DHCP servers truly redundant."
Having ruled out in-house methods, Oxford researched appliance vendors that could provide a solution that would be extremely reliable and simple to manage. Having looked at the alternatives, Oxford chose BlueCat Networks' Proteus IPAM and Adonis DNS/DHCP solutions.
"We selected BlueCat due to its intuitive GUI, its level of redundancy for DHCP, and because we were very impressed at how BlueCat integrated both DHCP and DNS into its IPAM and made it look simple," explained DeWitt.
Oxford then teamed with BlueCat Networks, to implement the new DDI technology.
"The existing infrastructure was a mix of Linux and Solaris, and BlueCat sent an employee out to our site to assist with the conversion," said DeWitt. "Within a week, he had the BlueCat servers participating within the existing infrastructure," DeWitt continued. "It took several months after that for us to migrate customers' networks off the old infrastructure, but the initial configuration BlueCat left us with still stands — and when we require additional assistance, BlueCat's support staff have proved very knowledgeable, and can almost always answer any questions we have on the first call."
With the deployment completed, Oxford has been able to successfully centralize and simplify management of its DNS, DHCP and IPAM.
"We have completely replaced all our DHCP and DNS servers with the BlueCat solution," noted DeWitt. "It has unified all the management of these services into one interface which our NOC staff can now easily manage."
By simplifying and centralizing DDI services Oxford has significantly increased administrator productivity for both daily tasks and customer calls.
"We've successfully migrated the process for DNS and DHCP changes to Level 1 Techs in our Tech Support center, and now a Tech can usually make any changes while the customer is on the phone and not take several hours to track down and schedule an Engineer," explained DeWitt. "We have also been able to transition the day-to-day IP address assignments to our Business Service Reps — again, this used to be done on requests to Engineers."
The DDI technology has also enabled Oxford to increase network robustness while making it easy to seamlessly integrate DNS/DHCP with IPAM. In fact, DeWitt is so pleased with the technology that he is looking at ways to expand its use.
"BlueCat's technology has successfully met all our IPAM and DNS/DHCP requirements," commented DeWitt. "BlueCat provides an impressive level of redundancy in its DHCP platform, which no one else was offering at the time, and the icing on the cake is that BlueCat provides a simple IPAM interface that also talks to DNS/DHCP," DeWitt continued. "We are currently looking into the workflow functionality to see if it will enable us to further streamline certain processes."
Implementing BlueCat Networks DDI technology has enabled Oxford to successfully streamline its network management while simultaneously providing an immediate return on investment.
"The 'appliance' approach to DNS/DHCP was exactly what we were looking for, and we would definitely recommend BlueCat," concluded DeWitt. "We no longer have to focus on upgrading operating systems and open source software gathered from dozens of sources as BlueCat informs us of upgrades and even security patches which we had to research on our own before," DeWitt continued. "And although we don't have any solid numbers we know that we have greatly reduced the time it takes to make DNS changes and the level of technician needed."
About BlueCat Networks – BlueCat Networks is the Leader in IP Address Management (IPAM) and DNS (DNSSEC)/DHCP Core Services, including the centralized management of Microsoft Windows® DNS/DHCP services. Available in, software (VMware), hardware (appliance) and Managed Service (Proteus Cloud Services) formats, BlueCat Networks has sold to a large number of Global Fortune 1000 companies and many classified and unclassified government agencies. Learn More
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