DHCP Configuration

Room D - Thu 15:15


When DHCP was first introduced in Maynooth University over a decade ago, the University’s network was a much simpler place. As was common at the time, a simple bespoke system was developed to automatically generate and deploy the DHCP configuration. That bespoke system evolved and expanded over the years, both to accommodate an ever expanding network, and, to automate more tasks, including the generation of zone files for the University’s forward and reverse DNS zones. This kind of organic evolution inevitably resulted in a system that became ever more brittle, ever less suited to the University’s needs, and ever more time-consuming to maintain and operate. The time had come to start over.

During the course of 2016 and 2017, Maynooth University developed and deployed an entirely new system for managing DNS, DHCP and IP Address Management (DDI) built on top of an open source stack. The requirements for the new system included:

• Provision of resilient DNS resolution services to all users on campus
• Resilient hosting of the University’s public and private forward and reverse DNS zones
• Provision of a resilient DHCP service to all users on campus
• Provision of a data store that could act as the authoritative source of data on the configuration of the university’s IPv4 and IPv6 address spaces (all subnet definitions, dynamic DHCP address ranges, and statically assigned addresses) and the records for the university’s public and private forward DNS zones
• Automatic generation of the University’s public and private reverse DNS zones
• Provision of a unified management interface for all DDI data
• Provision of controlled access to DDI data to other stakeholders in the University with granular access controls

The solution developed and deployed by Maynooth University has been built on top of ISC DHCPD, ISC BIND, PowerDNS and php{IPAM}. This open source stack provides great flexibility, while minimising the requirement for custom code. The custom code that was required was free to focus on implementing the University’s business rules rather than needing to re-invent the proverbial wheel.