Boise State Manages DNS and DHCP with BlueCat Appliance

Boise State University in Idaho, with nearly 20,000 students and 2,500 faculty and staff, has installed BlueCat Networks appliances to manage the DNS and DHCP infrastructure on the campus network. In June 2009 the university purchased two Adonis 1000 units to manage its Class B IP address space, encompassing 56 separate DHCP pools, 208 DNS zones, and 22,000 host records. BlueCat's technology is designed to automate name and IP assignment to simplify network administration and safeguard against system outage owing to faulty DNS and DHCP configuration changes.

"Our existing Cisco Network Register had a very limited [graphical user interface] that didn't provide the network management, monitoring, and trouble-shooting functionality we required. So we looked at running on Novell or Microsoft's DNS systems, but neither provided the simple management GUI we were looking for," said Diane Dragone, communications engineer. "BlueCat's technology provides an excellent management GUI that makes it simple to manage, maintain, and monitor the network. It lets us see exactly what is happening on the network and database at any given time and provides lists for each subnet so we can easily control IT access to ensure users can always enter appropriate areas of the system." She said the new software also enabled the university to do the transition from the old system "seamlessly." "As users were migrated to the new system, the clients were pointed to the new DNS servers via DHCP, so nobody even realized we had switched to BlueCat."

The university also has 2,300 voice-over-IP phones. The Adonis appliance can speed deployment of VoIP by providing DHCP support for common vendor and device classes. The hardware includes a trivial file transfer protocol (TFTP) server for distribution and management of VoIP endpoints and a network time protocol server for network clock synchronization. The Adonis is also available as a virtual appliance.

According to the company, other institutions using BlueCat products include the Universities of California, Berkeley and Los Angeles; the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and the University of Windsor in Ontario.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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