We should talk about VitalQIP

Is VitalQIP the best fit DNS DHCP IPAM product for today's networks. A comparison with Infoblox

Bygone days

Is it okay to get a little nostalgic over a piece of software? Let’s indulge ourselves for a moment – VitalQIP was the market leader (the only?) DNS/DHCP/IPAM management tool in the late nineties/early noughties. For those of us who have “dedicated our lives” to the DDI area, “QIP” would have been the first product we touched (those of you old enough to remember will recall the days before Alcatel-Lucent acquired Quadritek when VitalQIP was known as “QIP”). VitalQIP v6.2 – now that was a vintage version (I could say they don’t make them like that anymore, but that would be unkind!). The thick GUI client was familiar. Completing a successful upgrade was a momentous occasion, typically followed by a few celebratory drinks.

Things have moved on a bit since those days. Multiple versions of VitalQIP followed v6.2 and a lot of effort was expended replacing the thick client with a usable web GUI. Current versions of the VitalQIP web GUI are almost on a par with the old thick client, although we still hear reports of “niggles”, such as a ridiculously small “corporate extensions” text box and a still incomplete REST API, but it appears that Nokia (the current custodian of the VitalQIP product range) are taking feedback on board and addressing customer concerns and RFEs.

Now that Nokia has acquired Alcatel-Lucent, and with it the VitalQIP product suite, what does this mean for the future of VitalQIP?

Does VitalQIP have a future?

VitalQIP is used by some very large global organisations. We know for a fact that there are still several global financial institutions that are reliant upon it, along with various large manufacturers and US Government agencies. While VitalQIP’s competitors have been nibbling away at it’s market share for years, there are some truly huge organisations that still use it and are perfectly happy with the services it provides. Replacing VitalQIP in these organisations will not only be hugely expensive but will be very risky (if not executed properly) and time-consuming. In addition many organisations have built complex processes and automation integration around the VitalQIP platform that would need to be re-engineered, validated and tested. And what is the actual business benefit? What about cost savings? Cap-ex will be required to purchase a new solution, this will probably be offered at a discount, but the on-going op-ex costs will probably not be that much different (they all have similar software maintenance models). Many organisations would rather shift the cap-ex costs into op-ex, so the op-ex costs might actually rise, or at best deliver marginal savings. Add on all the hidden costs to do with re-training and automation/process re-engineering, and actually there’s probably no benefit from a financial perspective.

This leads us to think that VitalQIP will always have a home in a core group of large organisations.

But I heard that Nokia was discontinuing VitalQIP?

Nokia have announced the transition of the VitalQIP product range from a products and sales focused business unit into a support focused division. Nokia has acquired numerous products over the past few years and many of them are also being transitioned in the same way. All this means is that Nokia will be putting more energy into supporting the installed customer base. The product strategy will no longer be dictated by sales targets (e.g. prospect X will only purchase product if feature Y is added) – the strategy will now be dictated by existing customers.

We view this as a very positive development. We’ve spent many years working with customers, deploying and supporting VitalQIP installations, and the thing we found previously was that many RFEs (Requests for Enhancements) got rejected by Alcatel-Lucent (VitalQIP’s previous owner) because they were so hell-bent on implementing roadmap features. This left existing customers and ALU partners feeling somewhat frustrated as we couldn’t get customer enhancement requests prioritised above roadmap items that were of little interest to most customers (these were items that large prospects wanted before they would commit to purchasing the product, hence RFEs were sales-driven).

Now Nokia are stating they will prioritise RFEs based on customer feedback and demand – i.e. if the same feature is requested by multiple customers, those RFEs will be prioritised. If Nokia are true to their word then this is a hugely positive step in the right direction.

What do you need?
If you are looking to assess the market and review whether VitalQIP is still a good fit for your organisation, we would love the opportunity to meet up and discuss what your DDI platform is doing for you these days, and what you need it to do in the future (or even tomorrow). Are there issues with it that may mean you have to look at what the market has to offer? Are you going to have to upgrade and possibly also refresh the DDI infrastructure in the near future? If so, you should probably consider how implementing the right DNS, DHCP & IPAM solution, that now needs to do more than just resolve names and give out leases, is going to benefit your business.

Calleva Networks is now partnered with PCN Inc., a US-based provider of DDI managed services. PCN Inc. has relationships with all the main DDI providers and can provide unbiased advice on the various products that make up the majority of this market.

Nope, I’m sticking with VitalQIP, thanks
As mentioned, there are a number of very large global corporations where VitalQIP is still a good fit. For example it supports Oracle databases and can be used with all the database resilience options that Oracle provides. It may be so ingrained into the IT network that it would seem impossible to replace – a global deployment, not all VitalQIP servers need refreshing at the same time, large number of admins used to VitalQIP, customised integration with other applications, etc. We’re happy to talk about what the real cost of replacing VitalQIP would be. And if you want to stick with it, no worries, we still have a great skill set and years of VitalQIP knowledge. We’d be happy to provide professional services when you need them, or if you are interested in out-sourcing the whole lot to a managed service, that’s something PCN can do. Communication is the key …


 

Next Steps

Here at Calleva Networks, we’ve years of experience across the main DNS, DHCP & IPAM solutions. We’ve performed countless installations, data & service migrations, including migrations from old platforms to new.

So if you’re thinking of deploying a new DDI platform or migrating from your legacy one, please do get in touch – we’d love to come in, talk about your requirements and explain how Calleva Networks can help with ensuring any change goes according to plan.

Contact Us

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About Kier PW

I am a consultant, focused on DNS, DHCP and IPAM since 2000, involved in the life cycle of DDI deployments from Pre-Sales and Design through to Implementation, Training and Support. I like tea and rowing.

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