Infoblox, Riverbed bundle branch office functions

* Technology consolidates DNS, DHCP, IPAM and other services at the branch

Many enterprises have made a lot of headway consolidating infrastructure and applications in the data center as they look for ways to cut back on the effort and expense of maintaining distributed IT deployments. But there are some nagging technology leftovers that remain in most branch offices - things like routers, switches, wireless access points, security devices, file-sharing accelerators, WAN optimization appliances, VoIP gear and more. The next frontier for many enterprises is finding ways to cut back on the appliance sprawl created by all this branch office gear.

To that end, two vendors this week announced plans to deliver combined appliances designed to help enterprises cut back on branch office management chores while at the same time improving performance and bolstering resiliency. The two vendors are Infoblox, which makes network services appliances for domain name resolution (DNS), IP address assignment and management (DHCP and IPAM), authentication (RADIUS), file distribution (FTP/TFTP/HTTP) and more; and Riverbed Technology, which makes the Steelhead line of appliances designed to speed application performance over the WAN.

The combined appliance will include a virtual instance of Infoblox’s core network services software and Riverbed’s RiOS operating system (which Riverbed in February upgraded to let customers deploy local branch services from third-party vendors in a self-contained partition on Steelhead appliances). The Infoblox Virtual Appliance software provides core network services including DNS, DHCP, IPAM, RADIUS, FTP and HTTP services.

In the past, a lot of companies relied on software or freeware running on a general-purpose server -- along with spreadsheets and custom scripts -- to keep their DNS, DHCP and other network services running, says Richard Kagan, vice president of marketing at Infoblox. But as the number of IP devices and applications grows, enterprises are looking for ways to more efficiently deploy, secure and manage network services. Existing Infoblox appliances help customers implement and automate the delivery of network services, cutting back on error-prone management tasks and adding security and reliability features, he says. Now with a virtual version of the Infoblox gear, companies can get the same features at their branch offices without adding more physical devices.

“This fits very nicely into the overall consolidation activities that Riverbed has taken a leadership role in. This can eliminate additional servers in the branch office, deliver better performance, and provide better availability of these core services,” Kagan says. “It dovetails very nicely with what Riverbed provides.”

Customers deploying the joint solution will install Infoblox Virtual Appliance software on Riverbed Steelhead appliances equipped with the Riverbed RiOS Services Platform (RSP) module. A virtual Infoblox appliance provides the same DNS, DHCP, RADIUS, IPAM and other services available on a standard Infoblox hardware device.

In a typical deployment, an enterprise would deploy an Infoblox hardware platform at headquarters or in the data center, then install Infoblox virtual appliances on Riverbed Steelhead appliances at branch locations. Infoblox’s grid technology links the hardware and virtual appliances into a unified system so all the instances can be managed centrally, Kagan says.

Infoblox Virtual Appliances for Riverbed RSP are due to become available this summer.

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