Wiscnet's technical leaders identified the key problems with their DNS and surveyed seven other state network providers about the systems they use to provide DNS. All but one use BIND running on a Unix system; the exception was a large state university that had recently implemented one of the DNS appliances that we ended up testing. The RFP was sent out to DNS appliance vendors in December. The vendors whose responses best fit WiscNet's needs were Alcatel-Lucent, BlueCat Networks and Infoblox. Working with WiscNet officials, eWeek Labs developed 14 demonstration objectives that the participants would be expected to fulfill during a 75-minute presentation using their equipment (see chart, Page 38).
Each solution had its pluses and minuses (see review, Page 38), but at the end of the day, the vendor representatives failed to convince the audience that their products' benefits outweighed the costs and learning curves that would be required to implement them.
All the agencies, including WiscNet, use engineers-and help desk staff trained by these engineers-to keep the DNS systems up and running. And, during the evaluation, the IT professionals from WiscNet and the other state agencies considered whether a DNS appliance trumped a network engineer and Perl scripts for providing name resolution services.