Infoblox Stacks Up $30M

Grabs $30 million Series E to build specialized boxes for LDAP, DNS, and RADIUS management

April 30, 2005

3 Min Read
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Startup Infoblox Inc. is raking in some cash as it attempts to make a case for a range of specialized devices for security and email directory management.

This week the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based vendor picked up $30 million in a Series E round, bringing its total funding to $65 million. The round was led by existing investors Sequoia Capital and Lehman Brothers.

Infoblox is building hardware platforms that will be dedicated to some key network protocols for email, remote access, and e-commerce applications. Specifically, its addressing Domain Name System (DNS), Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), Remote Acces Dial-In User Service (RADIUS), and Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP).

Currently, these protocols are supported as software running on standard servers. Infoblox, however, is pushing a range of dedicated 1-rack-unit-high devices for running applications that rely on these specific protolos. The name of these devices is DNSone (which also supports DHCP), RADIUSone, and LDAPone [Ed. note: no CORNPone?].

Using a dedicated box offers users both greater security and reliability, according to Richard Kagan, Infobloxs vice president of marketing. “They have an operating system, but it is embedded like an operating system in a firewall,” he says. “A hacker can’t touch it.”Dan Golding, an analyst at Burton Group agrees that the products help plug a security gap. “There’s a lot of DNS servers doing DNS [work] for companies’ domain names sitting on old hardware and software,” he says. “They can be easily attacked.”

There is also question of data center resources. Upgrading and managing software can be a complex and time-consuming task, whereas Kagan says that the Infoblox devices can be managed quite easily via a Web-based Graphical user interface (GUI).

This could be a key selling point for the startup, according to Golding. “It’s a nice solution for a business that wants to do more with its staff.”

But Infoblox faces one significant challenge: the trend in space-constrained data centers to reduce, rather than add to, the number of devices deployed (see Peak 10 Offers Space).

Nonetheless, Kagan says that the firm has amassed 500 customers since its launch in 1999, of which 50 are Fortune 500 companies. He also asserts that all core networking technologies eventually metamorphose from software into hardware. ”If you look at all the key things in the network, such as routers and firewalls, all of them started out as software, but now they are appliances."Canadian vendor BlueCat Networks Inc. would appear to be the closest competitor. It also offers DNS and DHCP appliances.

Infoblox currently has around 200 employees, although the exec predicts that this figure is likely to double in "the next year or so."

The vendor is also planning to ramp up the channel strategy it launched back in February. “Within three to four months we will have our initial set of channel partners fully in place,” says Kagan.

The company was founded by Stuart Bailey, who now serves as Infoblox CTO. Prior to founding Infoblox, Bailey spent five years as the technical lead for the Laboratory for Advanced Computing / National Center for Data Mining at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

— James Rogers, Site Editor, Next-Gen Data Center Forum0

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