How we did it

Inside our IP address management test.

Our test environment consisted of six routed Fast Ethernet subnet domains and a T-1 Internet connection. The Internet link let us perform massive zone transfers and other large-scale IP address operations, but most of our testing was local.

We ran VitalQIP and the Meta IP management console on a four-way Compaq ProLiant ML570 700 MHz computer with Pentium III CPUs, 2G-bytes of RAM and six 18G-byte SCSI RAID drives. The operating system was Windows 2000 Advanced Server with Service Pack 4. MetaInfo sent us an SA-500 DNS/DHCP appliance, while ApplianSys shipped both a DNSBox 300 DNS/DHCP Master and a DNSBox 100 DNS Slave appliance.

Each subnet's 25 client computers were a mix of Win 2000 Professional, NT Workstation 4.0, Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows XP, Red Hat Linux 7.0 and Macintosh platforms. The relational databases on the network were Oracle 8i, Sybase Adaptive Server 11.5 and Microsoft SQL Server 2000. Win 2000 and NetWare 5.1 shared files, while Internet Information Server, Netscape and Apache software served up Web pages. An Agilent Advisor protocol analyzer decoded and displayed network traffic.

We tested each product's ability to dynamically distribute IP addresses, equate IP addresses to host names, register IP addresses in directory/name resolution services and maintain a repository of IP addresses and host names. We also looked for scalability, security, ease of use and task automation.

To simulate a high volume of DNS/DHCP requests, we ran several concurrent instances of a C++ program that issued both valid and invalid DHCP-DISCOVER messages. To test performance, we measured how quickly each DHCP server responded to 50,000 IP address requests. We also moved clients from one subnet to another, gave unique values to the DHCP client ID field and assigned different values to the user class ID and vendor class ID DHCP parameters to see how the DHCP servers responded.

We invited all major vendors with IP address management products to participate in the test. Cisco, Nortel, Nominum, Incognito, EfficientIP, BlueCat, Infoblox and Process Software either declined or did not respond to our invitation.

Back to the test

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