Infrastructure // Networking
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5/5/2010
10:16 AM
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Infoblox Acquires Netcordia

Infoblox is expanding into a new market segment, buying network systems management software Netcordia for an undisclosed sum.

Infoblox has acquired Netcordia for an undisclosed sum, but what could come of the acquisition is a question mark. The two companies claim to have no meaningful overlap in product lines or functions. Infoblox sells an IP Address Management (IPAM) product while Netcordia sells network and systems management software. The goal, according to both companies, is automated network and systems management, but the use-cases are not particularly obvious. Regardless, the acquisition does put Infoblox into a new market space.

Infoblox, like many IPAM vendors, are trying to show SMBs and SMEs that IPAM is a critical component of IT. They claim that managing hosts manually, through spreadsheets, etc, doesn't scale. However, with DNS and DHCP built into Windows, many IT admins in SMBs and SMEs haven't had much need to dive into IPAM. Windows tools are good enough, and IT's management functions are handled through a network management system independent of DNS and DHCP.

Infoblox hopes to tame the complexity brought on by looming changes in data center and LAN networking by combining the features of IPAM with network management. While the announcement was light on details, Robert Thomas, president and CEO of Infoblox, made a point of focusing on IT automation. He offered the example of using Netcordia for actions such as raising an alarm when unmanaged IP hosts are discovered on the network, but that's low-hanging fruit and can be handled with via network access control.

What Infoblox will do with the acquired software is anyone's guess. For now, the company will be selling and supporting both companies' products and can leverage each others' installed customer base. What remains unclear is what value IPAM brings to network management and vice versa. NetMRI should be able to discover all the hosts on the network, and using more advanced query tools like SNMP or WMI for windows, it can gather everything it needs, including flagging unmanaged or unknown devices.

A more interesting use-case that was not discussed during the briefing was the possibility of integrating information discovered by Netcordia's NetMRI product with information like hostname, IP address and authenticated users known by Infoblox systems using IF-MAP. The collected information stored in IF-MAP then becomes a near real-time status of your network and can be used to automate action in Netcordia as well as integrate with other third-party management systems. However, what comes of any of this remains to be seen.

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