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Temple University Deploys BlueCat Networks’ Virtual DDI Technology to Simplify Network Management

With its existing DNS/DHCP solution discontinued, Philadelphia-based Temple University (Temple) began looking for an alternative solution to manage its DNS/DHCP services. The selected DDI (DNS, DHCP and IP Address Management (IPAM)) solution would be tasked with simplifying management of the more than 25,000 devices that connect to Temple’s domestic campuses’ networks at any given time on a daily basis.

“We were running Nortel NetID,” said Adam Ferrero, Executive Director of Network Services, Computer Services, Temple University. “The solution was discontinued and so it was necessary to replace the product,” Ferrero continued. “It did not support DNS views, but otherwise NetID did everything we needed at the time.”

Founded in 1884 by Dr. Russell Conwell, Temple College became Temple University in 1907. A comprehensive public research university, Temple’s 39,000 students can choose from nine campuses and 320 academic degree programs. Temple’s 186-acre campus in suburban Ambler offers programs in community and regional planning, horticulture, landscape architecture and others. At Temple’s Fort Washington, Harrisburg and  Center City Philadelphia locations, students can take a wide variety of undergraduate, graduate and non-credit courses.

Determined to turn a discontinued product into an opportunity to improve the IT environment for faculty, staff and students, Temple began thoroughly researching all alternative DNS solutions.

“We researched all available solutions, and for each of these we reviewed the history of the company and the products offered,” noted Ferrero. “This enabled us to narrow the list to a final two offerings, and we then met with the vendors to understand their product offerings better—technology-wise we wanted to understand the databases utilized, etc.”

Temple then subjected both vendors and their products to a rigorous vetting and testing process.

“We further scrutinized the final two offerings, including performing reference calls for each company, demoing the products in our lab and actually recoding our automated scripts against each of the APIs to determine whether either was preferable,” explained Ferrero. “We even signed non-disclosure agreements to review the company’s financials before making our final selection,” Ferrero continued. “The choice was extremely close, but we preferred the look, feel and operation of the BlueCat interface and the fact that it would enable us to implement BlueCat’s Proteus IPAM solution in a virtual environment.”

Available in, software (VMware), hardware (appliance) and Managed Service (Proteus Cloud Services) deployment options, BlueCat Networks’ DDI solution integrates with Microsoft Windows DNS and DHCP to simplify network management by making it easy for administrators to fully integrate IP inventory tracking and allocation, along with DNS and DHCP management. Administrators can design networks with a simple conceptual view, then deploy and manage them across the organization. When managing DNS and DHCP, BlueCat Networks’ IPAM solution becomes “mission control,” offering full command and customization of configurations from a central, secure Web-based interface to make it simple to eliminate all IPAM problems by centrally managing and auditing IPv4, IPv6, DNS and DNSSEC networks.

Having chosen BlueCat Networks’ DDI technology, Temple began an extensive pilot to ensure a smooth roll out of the virtual Proteus IPAM and Adonis DNS/DHCP solutions.

“We ran a virtual Proteus and Adonis appliance in our lab,” commented Ferrero. “We each interacted with the interface to add and delete zones, DNS records, etc. to simulate typical changes,” Ferrero continued. “We also coded some automated scripts against the APIs to ensure they would function.”

With the pilot proving successful, Temple began its full roll out.

“It was not terribly difficult for us to replace the current system,” said Ferrero. “We were able to stage the migration of data,” Ferrero continued. “Ultimately, we cut off changes to the NetID DNS system, performed the migration and put them into production.”

With the roll out complete, Temple is now benefitting from the increased management functionality it receives from the new DDI technology.

“We continue to manage DNS/DHCP change in the system daily,” said Ferrero. “We have automated web page/scripts that register MAC addresses into appropriate pools which enables registration and network connectivity in our residence halls,” Ferrero continued. “We have also been able to implement split DNS views to enable some functionality that was previously not available to us [with Nortel NetID], plus added security as our 50,000 plus DNS records are no longer visible to the internet.”

Temple has now successfully integrated BlueCat Networks’ DDI technology across all domestic campuses, and is confident that its new DDI technology will simplify any future upgrades or expansions to its network.

“All domestic campuses are utilizing BlueCat daily as any user visiting a .temple.edu site is utilizing the BlueCat solution,” noted Ferrero. “We are very happy with the solution and the performance of the system as it has proved easy to manage, user friendly and cost effective,” Ferrero continued. “BlueCat has satisfied our requirements without requiring much maintenance, plus, going forward, we will be able to take advantage of additional features to facilitate deployments, such as IPv6 integration, that are already on the horizon.”

BlueCat Networks DDI technology is now an essential component of Temple’s network. It has also enabled Temple to leverage its virtual environment.

“The solution is built upon solid technology, is stable, performs reliably and resolves names to IPs without requiring a lot of maintenance—which makes it a good fit for anyone who requires reliable DNS/DHCP,” concluded Ferrero. “The ability to balance physical Adonis appliances and virtual Proteus appliances is a perfect fit for us,” Ferrero continued. “DNS is as necessary for modern life as running water, and BlueCat’s solution makes it work.”

By BlueCat Networks, IP Address Management (IPAM)

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.

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