It’s too rare an occurrence that we at Infoblox get to sit down in a relaxed atmosphere with our customers, so we took a swing at changing that with our first annual Infoblox IT Executive Forum and Golf Tournament earlier this month at the historic Medinah Country club near Chicago.
I gave a 25-minute talk to the group on the key issues I’m hearing about from our customers and how the core competency of Infoblox in managing DNS, DHCP and IP addresses – the category known as DDI – can help our customer face new opportunities and challenges in areas including mobility, cloud and security.
I first talked about security. DNS is mission-critical network infrastructure and is now the second most common attack vector for cybercriminals. Just recently, hackers – disgruntled over adware within the Windows image installed by a major computer manufacturer on its devices – hijacked the manufacturer’s web site in protest. They could have just as easily set up a ghost e-commerce web site and stolen customers’ credit card numbers.
Nor are enterprises vulnerable solely to external disruptions. A large company we know recently suffered a distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack on its internal DNS servers. The attack was so severe the company eventually sent their employees home for the day, sacrificing millions of dollars in productivity. (I’m happy to say that we’re developing products that help our customers deal with both external and internal DNS attacks.)
On the positive side, cloud computing and virtualization represent new opportunities in consolidation, whether in data centers, storage, or network fabrics. They also represent new challenges in automation, through new platforms such as those from VMware, Microsoft, and OpenStack. Wherever you are on this journey, it’s critical to think about network services. While in the past you could get by with minimal automation, that’s not going to work in a cloud world. Thanks to Amazon AWS, customers expect these services to be ready in minutes, not days and not hours. That’s the bar IT organizations must live up to.
How does that relate to DDI? When you’re spinning up new services to Microsoft Azure or maybe just a private cloud, you need to be able to map web services to IP addresses in a highly dynamic environment. That makes DDI automation ever more critical. (Infoblox helps with that too.)
All of these technologies are going to continue to evolve, I said at the end of my talk, especially in the area of software-defined networking. That’s why we are investing heavily in research and development: to ensure our customers will continue to have a competitive advantage in the areas of DDI, security, and the cloud.
The event ended with an afternoon of golf on a beautiful course. Even though I got ready at the same locker Phil Mickelson used during the 2012 Ryder Cup, I have to admit my score didn’t quite match Phil’s usual performance.