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DNS Review: Commercial DNS Appliances

I recently had the opportunity to completely over haul the DNS for a large IT organization and wanted to take this opportunity to do a complete DNS review.  As part of the over-haul, the internal DNS would remain on Windows Active Directory servers however the public facing external DNS servers that had been running bind 4 on Sun Solaris needed to be replaced.

My choices were to either upgrade the existing Sun hardware, implement openSource DNS application or implement a commercial DNS appliance. For this particular job a major consideration was that the engineers that would be modifying DNS did NOT have VI experience and were not some familiar with UNIX/LINUX.

That pretty much ruled out an upgrade and left me with only a DNS appliance solutions. Even with a web front-end on a Linux server the need was made clear that this group also needed to maintain the server too which nailed it down to commercial appliance. So what are some good viable solutions for stable commercial DNS appliances.

Needs:

Easy to use Point and Click front-end, ability to easily recover from a failure, ability to un-do changes, ability to link records to avoid large amounts of orphaned dns records.

Products In The DNS Review:

Blue Cat Networks – Adonis    $8000 estimate retail value

InfoBlox – DNSone   $8000 estimated retail value

Appliansys – DNSBox  $3000 estimate retail value

dns reviewRight off the bat the price for the Appliansys DNSBox was very appealing but it did not meet the requirements.  It did have a decent point and click front-end that was fairly intuitive. It also had an easy way to ensure the communication between dns servers were secure and the the ability to recover from a failure was also met. However no record linking was present.

Infoblox DNS ReviewThe InfoBlox product was very interested. Promoting a Grid package that was a patented Infoblox technology for linking distributed appliances into a unified Infoblox grid. This was definately made to handle large distributed dns systems and the ability to recover failure. The product also came with a built in IPAM (IP Address Management) solution which integrated your DNS, DHCP and IP administration in one convenient place.   Talk about the holy grail of IP management solutions.  The big issue with the InfoBlox product was that even with all of this great technology there was no ability to link records to avoid orphaned files/records.

Bluecat Adonis DNS ReviewLastly there was the BlueCat Adonis. For some reason there just seems to be a lot of “blue” network appliance companies coming out these days, Blue Coat, Blue Socket and now BlueCat?  Anyway, the name aside we got a chance to review the Adonis 1000.  This was a very slick product. Extremely clean and intuitive interface made dns maintenance and administration very easy. Multiple methods of backing up the dns database, with up 99 un-do’s. There was also a built-in cvs type locking mechanism where the dns database would be locked to prevent more than one engineer from making changes.  Finally the Adonis had the ability to link files to one another! CNAME records and MX records could be directly linked with A Records across multiple domains.  There was also the support for multiple bind views. The final bonus with the BlueCat product was with its Proteus IPAM solution. This was an IP Address Management solution that would integrate all DNS, DHCP, and IP databases into one manageable platform. You could even integrate your Windows DNS so that you could have one consistent view.  Now the Proteus is NOT free and is very bluecat dns reviewpricey but overall the BlueCat product line met every requirement and then some.

DNSFreak!!

DNS Review: Commercial DNS Appliances
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About Joe

Senior Network Engineer, technology enthusiast, guitar and bass player. Joe Wilson is the creator of RouterFreak.com as well as other niche websites that can be found around on the Internets.

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9 comments

  1. Dude this review is like three years old. Get over it!

  2. havig an outdated information and feeding it to teh public is close to missinforming them on purpose…

  3. Interesting. BTW: Infoblox has supported views for years. Also, Infoblox has construct called "Host Record", it links 'A' records, PTR records, CNAME across multple Zones. They have had that for years too. Sounds like you didn't have the time to fully test the Infoblox product. You missed the very features you claim it was missing.

    Careful on the Proteus, unlike Infoblox Grid Master which supports a redundant, High Availablity configuration, there is only a cold stand by. If it fails you'll have to restore a back-up.

    • We actually had an Infoblox SE with us during the evaluation, which I believe was part of the problem. The SE had NO CLUE about the product and gave us misleading information about what the product could or could not do. We did our best to test out the features of the Infoblox DNS from the info we were given but our time was limited.

      In a situation like this we were highly disappointed, not only in the product but the company itself and did not want to recommend it based on this overall experience.

      If your experience has been positive, we would love to hear more about it from your perspective.

      Thanks

      • That's too bad. I had quite the opposite experience with the Infoblox SE that did the PoC for us. Generally found him to be quite knowledgable. The Grid technology is all that it is reported to be. The whole upgrade scenerio is a breeze; a single, central upload for all devices in the Grid. I find BlueCat' s a little clunky; not only do you have to upgrade the Adonis units, you have to upgrade the Proteus separately as it is a completly different system. And again I never liked my management piece void of proper redundancy.

        But this is my experience, you obviously had a much different one. It is amazing the difference sales personalities can make.

  4. You're review misses so many things this is obviously pay to play. How much did Bluecat pay you for that??

    • John,
      I’m sorry you feel that way, but this is in no way a paid review. At the time I wrote this review, this was the out come of testing these three appliances.. Bluecat far out weighed the competition. The biggest thing I have against Bluecat is the price. It was the most expensive appliance out of the three. Now I will have to say that that sales team for InfoBlox (I believe) blew the review but not providing a proper demo or eval. Going into the review I was excited about the InfoBlox product and all that it brought to the table. However after the demo, the product seemed over complicated and not well organized. We also were never given an eval unit to test ourselves.

      But I would love to hear your view on why you think it is off the mark and your opinion of a better appliance. If you disagree please let us know and why.

      Thanks for your comment!

      • You mentioned that BlueCat supported "views", but did not say so for Infoblox. Do you mean to say then that Infoblox does not support "views"? Or just that you have not had a chance to review it to find out?

        • This was more than 2 years ago. We did not have an opportunity to review it as fully as the BlueCat. Many things have changed on both platforms. We hope to be able to perform an update review again soon.

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