Friday, June 04, 2010

IF-MAP - Infoblox and Juniper pushing a new standard

I attended an Infoblox and Juniper joint presentation on IF-MAP and it looks interesting. I think they are attempting to rally support around the standard so a great deal is self serving (asking folks to push for IF-MAP inclusion in RFP's for instance.) That being said, I do think the standard addresses a real need requirement in the industry regarding getting multi-vendor solutions to utilize a common state engineer (which is what IF-MAP really is) which anyone can leverage for different purposes. I primarily see it for a single database location for NAC and policy authentication and enforcement systems to share information in a transparent way and to subscribe to changes in the "state" of something and then take action based on those states.

Vendors who are doing policy enforcement should keep an eye on the standard to determine if they need to have a solution that will work with IF-MAP. What will be really interesting is if monitoring and alerting systems start utilizing the IF-MAP standard to learn what is happening on the network to drive alerting from layer 1 all the way up to application attributes. This already happens on the enforcement side but there is little in the way of alerting and monitoring notification that can do something similar.

I don't think this will change the landscape of the data center models being developed today by the likes of HP or Cisco but this is a critical issue to enterprise and commercial customers as a pain point and if vendors choose to implement IF-MAP then they certainly might gain an advantage in terms of interoperability.
- Ed

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