The entertainment leader
This leading Hollywood studio is a fully-integrated, broad-based entertainment company and global leader in the creation, production, distribution, licensing and marketing of all forms of entertainment and their related businesses. Part of a much larger media and entertainment company – whose business activities include interactive services, cable systems, filmed entertainment, television networks and publishing – the studio stands at the forefront of every aspect of the entertainment industry.
Bringing DNS up to date
The DNS infrastructure at the studio was a combination of aging and unsupported Sun Sparc systems and Microsoft Windows servers. These were used to provide DNS services to a number of locations around the world. “Because there were only a very limited number of forwarders, people would be connected to sites geographically remote to their locations because name entries were being resolved from 3 sites around the world as opposed to locally,” explained Al Foitag, Chief Network Architect at the studios.
At least three of the locations required high availability delivered either by fail over or multiple boxes. If the forwarders failed internal users would have no access to external sites. Replacing this obsolete architecture with new hardware and software from Sun and Microsoft would have been both expensive and complex to manage. After reviewing the situation, the studios decided that they needed a solution that was going to be simple to use, easy to deploy and offer enhanced security and reliability.
“What we really wanted was true BIND compliant forwarders between the headquarters and other divisions who needed access to the name space and the internet roots. Windows based forwarders weren’t reliable enough and didn’t support all current BIND functions such as encrypted zone transfers,” said Foitag.
“Furthermore we were looking at the DNS solution from the perspective of a junior network administrator at one of our operations centres. We wanted everything to be easy to use, and to spell out for them what they needed to do. If there was a problem we didn’t need people getting their ‘hands dirty’ trying to diagnose problems,” he added.
Delegated DNS management
Foitag decided that an appliance-based solution would deliver the robust DNS service he wanted. However, because of the anticipated cost of rolling out forwarders around the world, the studio initially only considered a limited number of DNS slaves to be pointed to masters belonging to other divisions or on Windows machines.
After assessing a number of DNS appliances for functionality, usability and cost, the studio concluded that the DNSBOX100 from ApplianSys more than matched their requirements. As a bonus, through the savings they made purchasing dedicated slaves, they were also able to purchase two master DNS appliances. They deployed one DNSBOX300 master in Hollywood and one in London, with 16 slaves in 8 redundant pairs in Burbank, New York, London, Paris, Hamburg, Hong Kong, Japan and Australia.
DNSBOX300 is based on the latest versions of BIND and is further enhanced with NameSurfer SE, a proven DNS management solution. It is packed with an array of sophisticated validation and automation features, which dramatically reduce the effort and risks associated with DNS and DHCP administration. Accessible remotely and securely via a simple browser interface, it provides full support for controlled distributed administration, allowing the task to be shared and controlled across complex and mixed OS networks.
DNSBOX100 is also based on BIND and has been designed from the ground up as a slave. It delivers all the benefits of a dedicated DNS slave without the cost of having to use ‘dual-use’ appliances or masters that have to be commissioned as slaves.
“Appliances must be simple, secure, robust, intuitive, and low cost. The ApplianSys DNSBOX delivers – and on every count. The differences between this and other solutions I have tested are like night and day. DNSBOX is a reliable, cost effective, low touch solution for DNS. The reduced deployment costs and Total Cost of Ownership allowed us to deploy more units making name resolution a local service. This has greatly improved the end user experience and application response times,” commented Foitag.
“The ApplianSys solution has removed a serious potential failure point in the network. DNS maintenance is now done by lower-end support people versus higher-end engineers, who are freed up to work on more important issues.”
Foitag has found the capabilities of the DNSBOX solution are an accurate reflection of the hard work put in by the team at ApplianSys to deliver one of the best DNS solutions available. “Working with ApplianSys has been a joy. When we requested a number of changes to further improve the user friendliness of the product and to add enterprise features that enhanced visibility and manageability, the team were very responsive to our needs, very easy to work with and delivered what we asked for,” he concluded.