W&W Informatik is a German information technology company based in Ludwigsburg. It was founded in 2002 following the merge of the IT departments of all the Wüstenrot & Württembergische Group companies[i]. W&W Informatik, a subsidiary of W&W AG, is responsible for all networks, decentralized systems, architectures and computer centers within the W&W Group[ii]. W&W’s network consists of 50,000 IP addresses (35,000 dynamic client IP addresses and 15,000 static IP addresses) and is continuing to grow, with 20,000 people accessing the network. Users typically connect through a local area network (LAN), but the 15,000 remote workers and 4,500 remote office locations also rely on VPN to connect. The DDI infrastructure is managed by a two-person DDI team based in Ludwigsburg, Germany.
W&W was with its previous DDI vendor for nearly 15 years. The outdated version of the solution that they were running had limited functionality, poor data consistency, and major issues handling high volumes of DDNS transactions. These limitations reduced the performance, reliability, and availability of the solution, hindering W&W’s productivity. Periodically, all VOIP phones would reboot causing the solution to fail, resulting in outages of the VOIP infrastructure.
W&W’s network is heavily distributed across Germany and with the company’s rapid growth, they must deal with the challenge of offices frequently opening and sometimes closing. Each new office requires the setup of a small network. To support this rapid growth, W&W needed to find a DNS, DHCP and IP Address Management (DDI) solution that would grow with its network. Their network needs have evolved since their legacy solution was initially rolled out – the company’s focus has shifted to private cloud implementation, VMWare automation and server automation – and their solution was no longer able to meet their requirements. Additionally, their previous DDI vendor did not offer the ease of upgrade and support that W&W was looking for.
Although W&W nearly went forward with another vendor’s solution, they just weren’t satisfied with the product. After being introduced to BlueCat, they implemented the BlueCat solutions for internal DNS, DHCP and IPAM, as well as the BlueCat VRO Plugin. W&W helped extract the necessary data from the legacy IPAM tool and BlueCat handled the entirety of the migration and a thorough database cleanse, which went very smoothly. BlueCat’s approach to validating, optimizing, testing and importing the data proved very valuable to the customer. This was a major improvement over their legacy solution, where DNS and DHCP were running on separate systems, making the former upgrade processes unnecessarily complex. With BlueCat, as recently experienced, upgrades and patching are made seamless and without downtime.
BlueCat provided W&W with a centrally managed, single-vendor solution that scales with their company’s rapid growth. The BlueCat solution was much more intuitive, easy to implement and offered a level of support that W&W had not seen with their legacy solution. The BlueCat architecture and consolidation of DNS/DHCP has provided better redundancy for DNS/DHCP, as well as better availability for IPAM. The BlueCat solution is also easier to patch and update, which has increased W&W’s overall security posture; with their previous solution, they could only upgrade every four years when hardware was replaced, and this outdated software left their network vulnerable to malicious activity. Since implementing BlueCat, W&W has not experienced any downtime. They are benefiting from improved efficiency through a reduction in time to handle DHCP requests from 24 hours to only 15 minutes with BlueCat. They’ve achieved resiliency for all services in and among their data centers.
The level of automation achieved with BlueCat’s DDI solutions has significantly increased productivity in W&W’s network. With the BlueCat API and VRO plugin, almost all of their DDI-related processes have been automated. The automation of server rollout processes has saved the company considerable amounts of time, allowing them to spend more time focusing on innovation and less time dealing with IT tickets.
BlueCat’s solution was also more physically suitable for W&W’s data center as there are no objects in the grid and no extra appliances needed for basic functions like reporting. The BlueCat IPAM solution will meet their needs for years to come, saving them the expense and resources of needing to re-architecting the network every time there is a change.