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Infoblox Brings IP Address Management To Windows 2008

If your network has more than one DNS and DHCP server and you can't remember the number of zones or scopes your DNS and DHCP manages, you're probably a good candidate for IP address management. IPAM brings management features to an otherwise unwieldy address space.

Microsoft's Windows platform has supported an integrated DHCP and DNS service since Windows 2000. When a computer receives a DHCP lease, the DHCP server can update DNS with the computer's host name and IP address. However, other aspects of IPAM -- like DHCP scope definition and address pool allocation -- required administrative privileges on the server: each server was managed independently. In addition, there was no way to audit configuration changes, report on IP address or DNS use, or any way to easily classify hosts. Since each DNS and DHCP server were standalone, centralized management was impossible, requiring deployment or configuration changes to be replicated on each installation. The net effect is a costly and time-consuming management burden.

Infoblox's WinConnect for Windows 2008 (available Q2 2008) is the same IPAM application Infoblox uses for it IPAM appliances, except it runs on Windows 2008 and can manage all of the DNS and DHCP servers centrally with a full audit trail and reporting capability. Infoblox uses a hierarchal framework work where configuration options are inherited from parent to child, eliminating the need for redundant input and resulting in rapid installation and change management.

In addition, delegated management restricts administrators' management functions to only their assigned resources. For example, global configuration settings can be set for DNS and DHCP, and individual instances can be customized as required. Scope or domain administrators can have control over their local resources without affecting other installations. WinConnect brings much needed reporting to Microsoft's DNS and DHCP products. Generating lease and DNS history is a snap, letting you report on past and present usage.

WinConnect is a separate product from Infoblox's eponymous product line, and the company has no plans to centralize the management of both its own DNS and DHCP servers and servers from others like Microsoft. Rick Kagan, VP of marketing at Infoblox, stated that customers rarely use both systems side by side, so there is no need to merge the management platforms. Alternatively, competitor BT Diamond IP's IPControl IPAM software will manage DNS and DHCP servers from ISC and Microsoft, as well as BT Diamond IP's own Sapphire DNS and DHCP appliances.

Not offering central management for Microsoft's DNS/DHCP alongside Infoblox's servers is a misstep. With the growing number of branch and small offices that most likely have a Windows server already installed, using their DNS and DHCP makes more sense then pushing appliances everywhere. An IPAM strategy would benefit from the ability to manage IP addresses regardless of the servers used. Still, Infoblox's IPAM products are easy to use and worth a look.

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