IP Address Management, or “IPAM,” is a bedrock function for managing network services. While there was a time when a paper list, Excel spreadsheet or custom script would do the job of managing IP addresses, those days passed with the onslaught of BYOD, expansive network growth, virtualization and cloud. An automated, dedicated IPAM is needed for mission critical networks today. Here are the reasons.
- Network Hygiene
IPAM is based on IP address discovery, tracking and allocation. As networks grow, keeping track of multiple types of data pertaining to devices becomes complex. IPAM does this in one central repository.
- The Big Picture
Network administrators are interested in the IP address space and the resource assigned to each IP address. With IPAM an administrator can see the meta-information related to a resource such as hostname, device type, physical location, etc.
- Turn Data into Information
IPAM turns the data associated with devices, networks and services into a clear visualization. IPAM allows users to associate information for all objects in a database so administrators can search, sort and export based on any data.
- You Need a Good Foundation
Much IPAM information is derived from DNS and DHCP protocol entries. When a server is provisioned or a network is brought on-line, that is captured in the IPAM database. IPAM, with integrated access to DNS and DHCP entries, maintains a strong foundation for address management.
- A Touch of Security
By analyzing information gathered from DHCP, hosts on a network can be identified. This process, called “DHCP fingerprinting,” characterizes a host based on its DHCP request. IPAM enables tracking of hosts on a network and provides a means to enforce access policies based on that fingerprint.
- Information Beyond the Basics
An advanced IPAM solution incorporates additional information, or “extensible attributes,” in the database to allow ad hoc reporting and analysis. Extensible attributes can be pre-defined data formats such as date, email address, numbers or free-form text.
- And Now, The Cloud
IPAM centralizes and unifies physical, virtual and cloud environments. This lowers operating costs within a single pane of glass, gives administrators visibility across multiple datacenters, keeps track of VMs in each datacenter, identifies problems and reduces MTTR.
- Inclusion of Microsoft Active Directory
Active Directory is ubiquitous, so IPAM will encompass Active Directory to unify management of sites, network subnets and site relationships. The outcome is better control of networks and subnets, simplified management and more efficient delivery of user services.
IPAM goes beyond allocating space and assigning addresses. It builds an authoritative database of actionable information by gathering network data from protocol services, importing data, and through network discovery and metadata.
Want to learn more?
This white paper is a great resource to go a bit deeper into understanding what you can do with an IPAM solution and how to pick the right solution for your needs.