Edge IP 2.0 Makes IP at the Edge Look Easy

 
 
By Cameron Sturdevant  |  Posted 2001-11-05
 
 
 

Edge IP 2.0 Makes IP at the Edge Look Easy


Edge IP version 2.0 is going back in time and embracing WINS, thus broadening this DHCP/DNS appliances appeal in large organizations that use older NetBIOS Windows networks.

In eWeek Labs tests, Threshold Networks Inc.s turnkey appliance turned in admirable results when it came to handing out IP addresses and keeping track of Domain Name System entries in a network. With the addition of NetBIOS support, IT managers have a comprehensive Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol/DNS product that could considerably ease network configuration chores.

Edge IPs biggest advantage over the DHCP or DNS servers provided in devices from Cisco Systems Inc.s routers to Microsoft Corp.s Windows 2000 Server to Sun Microsystems Inc.s Solaris 8 is that it is simple to administer and provides for nearly every feature listed in the DHCP and DNS specs.

The Edge IP 2000 units $9,995 list price, plus $2 to $3 per node, will be an expensive proposition for some sites. However, Edge IP offers redundant, hot-swappable power supplies and drives that help keep the unit from becoming a single point of failure.

Price aside, the biggest drawback of the Edge IP 2000 is a weakness shared by many DHCP products—the database of IP address leases is not shared across multiple units, meaning at least two units are required for redundancy.

It was very easy to administer the product using the Java-based interface, so the other major weakness—that policies written for one Edge IP box cant easily be shared with another—wasnt that big of a deal. Based on tests, however, IT managers are advised to print lots of screen captures and keep them in a binder to track IP configurations.

Extraneous Extras


Extraneous Extras

Threshold networks threw nearly everything into Edge IP. Managers should use the box to handle straight DHCP and DNS duties because most of the extra bells and whistles are just that. Likewise, many custom parameters in Edge IP should be ignored.

Fortunately, the configuration interface puts the important stuff upfront. During tests, we configured our first DHCP scope by going tab by tab through all the options. The wizard button was more methodical than we were, but we got satisfactory results using either interface after spending just a few minutes at the console.

Edge IP is also a full-featured

DNS server and proved to be tightly integrated with the DHCP side in tests. Its new ability to handle WINS (Windows Internet Name Service) requests worked well. IT managers who have a mix of old segments that use NetBIOS can now use Edge IP not only to resolve the IP address of the host system today but also to make the product part of a migration plan to DNS.

We created a master DNS zone that acted as the authority for other zones in a network. It was a simple task to configure a forward zone to a different DNS server to handle queries that were outside the scope of the names we provided to Edge IP.

Edge IP 2


.0">

Edge IP 2.0

USABILITYA
CAPABILITYB
PERFORMANCEA
INTEROPERABILITYA
MANAGEABILITYA

Threshold Networks Edge IP upgrade does two things very well: It hands out IP addresses and keeps track of machine names. The turnkey appliances new WINS support will help IT managers in large organizations get a handle on IP configuration chores for older network equipment, but they will pay a hefty premium for this help.

SHORT-TERM BUSINESS IMPACT // Edge IP will immediately consolidate and streamline IP address distribution and DNS maintenance because both operations are tightly connected in the appliance. To get redundancy, however, managers must buy two units, which could dent Edge IPs appeal.

LONG-TERM BUSINESS IMPACT // Edge IP should reduce network operation costs over the long haul by consistently lowering the administrative overhead of dealing with IP addresses and DNS issues.

PROS: Simple-to-use, turnkey appliance; supports WINS.

CONS: No DHCP redundancy; pricey.

Threshold Networks Inc., Bothell, Wash.; (425) 939-2300; www.thresholdnetworks.com

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