KanREN (Kansas Research and Education Network), is a non-profit consortium of colleges, universities, school districts and related organisations in Kansas. It was created to improve communication between member organisations as well as operating a state-wide TCP/IP network on behalf of the consortium.
Kan-ed is a program created by the Kansas Legislature and administered through the Kansas Board of Regents. The purpose of the program is to expand the collaboration capabilities of Kan-ed’s member institutions, specifically K-12 schools, higher education, libraries and hospitals. The Kan-ed network is managed by KanREN.
Originally a closed private network, efforts to add new services for members, such as internet access, meant Kan-ed needed services typically provided by ISPs like DNS hosting and reverse lookup.
Many of the smaller schools on the Kan-ed network had little or no DNS skills in-house and were dependent on KanREN to make changes for them. With around 500 sites in total, KanREN administrators were expecting a big increase in their DNS management workload.
“We knew the volume of changes being requested would rise sharply and so the obvious solution was to delegate administration to the helpdesk, or the schools themselves,” said Andy Fleming, KanREN System Administrator.
Andy was already very familiar with BIND and knew it wasn’t suitable for Kan-ed. One of the main problems was that even a minor error could take a domain down. The new solution would need to error-check entries before they were accepted.
Having looked at a number of options, including appliance based products, Andy felt that most were too complicated for his needs. He was keen to avoid unnecessary features that would obstruct administration and make the solution more expensive.
After reading about the Tennessee Board of Regents experience with DNSBOX, KanREN purchased a DNSBOX320 master and two DNSBOX120 slaves.
To address Andy’s need for data consistency, DNSBOX includes a number of automation and validation features which make administering DNS simpler and less error-prone. If the data being entered threatens the stability or usability of DNS, DNSBOX will stop administrators entering the data.
Furthermore a ‘User Groups’ feature lets him maintain tight control over the rights of delegated users. A complete audit trail logs all transactions made and lets him roll back changes if required.
“I was very pleased with ApplianSys sales people not trying to up-sell us to higher-level products and services,” said Andy. “We had a very clear set of requirements and they respected that.”
With a significant drop in the administration workload and 100% uptime for all the domains, Andy is very happy with the new DNSBOX solution.
“As soon as the new system was up and running it started saving us time. Changes have gone from taking a few minutes per change to a few seconds,” commented Andy. “And, with other team members handling nearly all the day to day DNS administration, it’s freed up my time to focus on other areas of the network.”