Infoblox on Tech and Business Leadership during Challenging Times

Infoblox’s SVP of International Business, Cherif Sleiman, is of the opinion that as we get through the current global pandemic, organisations including service providers will approach business continuity and bandwidth planning from a different perspective.

Service providers have traditionally planned their business, service delivery and underlying infrastructures, in a very deterministic way.

“For example, if you came into an office and there are 100 people working there, they actually provision bandwidth for 30 people, because on average, maybe 30 people would be using it.  Telcos always depend on the fact that not all users will be on at the same time,” Cherif explained.

With an almost worldwide shutdown of business activities, companies are sending their employees and contractors home to work, and schools have closed as well, opting to conduct classes via the Internet.

Cherif said, “What has happened due to the pandemic, is that kids and adults who aren’t usually at home during the daytime, suddenly are. They are all now aggregated in the same place, in the same neighbourhoods, in the same locations, and they are all accessing the Internet via the same uplink or the same Internet connection that was not planned to handle this amount of users all connecting at the same time.”

Ultimately, this kind of Internet traffic distribution was not planned for, and many service providers are dealing with Internet access issues.

According to Cherif, many service providers have come to Infoblox to ask for additional capacity DNS capacity so they can recalibrate their bandwidth and ensure they are applying it to areas where they feel their Internet uplinks are saturated and overused.

Corporate Social Responsibility

Many service providers are working with various networking vendors on introducing more bandwidth and capacity. So over the next 60 – 90 days, many of the bandwidth challenges when it comes to Internet access and Internet bandwidth, will practically go away, Cherif said.

Infoblox’s solutions is able to address and work around limitations of hardware solutions, using concepts like virtualisation and containerisation.

“We’ve wrapped these technologies around flexible service provider licensing agreements that fundamentally tell service providers, ‘Hey, here is all the capacity that you want. We are going to help you for free, build all of the infrastructure that you really need, and then you are going to pay based on usage’,” Cherif explained.

Infoblox is waiving for 90 days, all licensing fees as a CSR initiative. “Because in times like these, connecting people together and connecting people to the resources they really need regardless of the device and the network and where these things are, are really critical for the survivability of our society and our communities,” he said.

Software – the name of the game

How is Infoblox able to do this?

Cherif explained, “A lot of the reasons why we are running into bandwidth issues today is because things were based upon and built based on telco-grade equipment. While they are highly reliable, it was very deterministic and very lacking in agility and flexibility.”

Service providers have been working with organisations like Infoblox on modernising their infrastructures, and they have actually deployed virtualised and software-defined architectures with flexible licensing models.

Software is the name of the game, and it is this software-defined management and control that forms the foundation of Infoblox’s Next-Level Networking mantra.

“We’ve introduced many solutions that provide secure, reliable, intelligent connectivity with lots of context, regardless of where the user is, what device they are using, which network they are on, and what they are trying to access,” the SVP said.

Infoblox’s architecture is like an Octopus with “tentacles” into endpoints, public cloud, data centres, branches and more, it is able to understand software-as-a-service, and brings in all the contextual information into a single pane of glass to provide visibility, governance and control.

“You can change policies and roll out things in a heartbeat,” Cherif said.

Technology and leadership philosophies

Cherif also pointed out another aspect that doesn’t have to do with technology, but people leadership.

“This work from home scenario has created a lot of wisdom in organisations’ thinking.”

They have to start to think about hiring policies, the way they hire, the type of people they hire and even the type of technologies they deploy to empower their employees.

For Infoblox, within a week of the pandemic escalating, an executive meeting was held and a whole new set of philosophies rolled out almost overnight.

“We shut down all our offices and sent all our employees home. Immediately, we were using our own technologies, relying on safe, secure and reliable access regardless of where we were.”

On top of that, the organisation’s HR deployed a whole new set of virtual benefits for mental health and even a whole new programme for retraining the leadership team on how to manage in an era of social distancing.

Cherif concluded, “I think when you marry these, with technologies, it can make the difference between an organisation surviving and thriving or caving under pressure of the challenges at hand.”