As more organizations migrate to converged IP-based data and voice networks, they find themselves struggling to manage a rapidly growing collection of IP addresses. Blue Cat Networks is targeting that niche with a new appliance that handles IP address management while protecting against security vulnerabilities found in open source software solutions.Called Proteus, the new appliance provides a management platform that works with Blue Cat\u2019s family of Adonis appliances, which handle DNS and Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) traffic.Blue Cat began shipping Proteus in March.Proteus handles IP address inventory control, DNS management and DHCP provisioning. It has built-in auditing and reporting capabilities as well as centralized policy management. It has a back-end relational database that supports all of its activities."There\u2019s been a real need for better IP address management in the enterprise market for some time," says Dan Golding, senior analyst at the Burton Group. "The appliances have really revolutionized the market and brought the price way down. They are much more secure than running DNS and DHCP on your own\u2026Proteus is one of the first really excellent implementations of enterprise-class IP address management on an appliance."Initially, Blue Cat is targeting its Adonis customer base with the Proteus appliance. Blue Cat\u2019s Adonis customers include government agencies such as the military, enterprises such as General Motors, and educational institutions such as Seton Hall University.Blue Cat also is going after high-end IP address management software packages such as Lucent\u2019s QIP with its new Proteus appliance. Cisco and Nortel sell IP address management software too, but Lucent\u2019s QIP is the leader.Proteus is priced far below Lucent\u2019s QIP, which can cost more than $1 million for an enterprise set-up. Proteus starts at $60,000."For a large-scale deployment for a customer like GE with 80,000 employees, we might be at $250,000 whereas Lucent would be $2 million initially and another $200,000 a year in maintenance," says Dave Berg, director of product management for Proteus. "There\u2019s a substantial difference in cost."Blue Cat hasn\u2019t announced customers for Proteus yet, although it says its beta installments included a Canadian bank, a municipal government and a high-tech manufacturer.Analyst Golding says that Proteus is ahead of its competitors in the DNS and DCHP appliance market."Right now, they are the high watermark, but I think the other folks are coming up fast from behind," he says. "Within the next 12 months, I think we\u2019ll see good IP address management from all of these vendors."For more about Blue Cat\u2019s new Proteus appliance, click here.