What is IPAM?

We are currently living in an IP dependent world where IPAM (IP Address Management) has become an inevitable part of network management. Within the span of two short decades, IP has become the lingua franca of virtually all interconnected technology. Network growth and complexity is skyrocketing. Before the explosion of IP-connected devices, IPAM network typically grew with the number of connected users. However, now networks must scale three to five times for each employee based on the number of IP devices we use to do our work. This means the challenge of managing and securing endpoints has also become much arduous.Without a doubt, the synergy that comes from greater connectivity also creates greater challenges if you’re an IT or security manager. 

What is IPAM? - ManageEngine OpUtils

What is IP address management (IPAM) tool?

IP Address Management (IPAM) refers to a method of IP scanningIP address tracking and managing the information associated with a network's Internet Protocol address space and IPAM system. With IPAM software and IP tools, administrators can ensure that the inventory of assignable IP addresses remains current and sufficient with advanced IP tools and IPAM services. IPAM simplifies and automates the administration of many tasks involved in IP space management, including writing DNS records and configuring DHCP settings. Additional functionality, such as controlling reservations in DHCP as well as other data aggregation and reporting capability, is also common with network IPAM. 

Using a spreadsheet to manage IP addresses is never a good idea!

It is not recommended to use spreadsheets to perform IP management duties, no matter the size of the address pool. This method is not only time-consuming to maintain, but increasingly prone to human error, which can result in erroneous configurations in your network. With the proliferation of non-traditional connected devices such as IoT and BYOD, free IPAM is required more than ever. Non adopters risk losing control of their allocation and introduce bottlenecks which could have catastrophic effects on their network and wider business. An IPAM solution lets administrators keep up-to-date records of IP assignments and available addresses. Records might include:

  • Free/assigned IP address space
  • Size and users of subnets currently in use
  • Status for each IP address
  • Hostname associated with each IP address
  • Hardware associated with each IP address

Is IP address management (IPAM) solution really necessary?

There are five main reasons why IPAM server is necessary for an organization:

  • Capacity Planning
  • Transition to IPv6
  • Management of Resources
  • Turning data into information
  • The needed information

IPAM in networking is the management of DNS and DHCP servers along with the network IP address space. IPAM automatically discovers IPAM network's IP infrastructure, IP address assignments, IP subnets, and can perform IP address resolutions with DNS servers in the IPAM network.

  1. 1. Capacity Planning

    If you're unable to track your address space accurately, then you could probably run out of IP addresses. This would forestall you from simply adding new subscribers and would limit your ability to grow your business. The more IP's you have, the more management of IP is required, and the better will be the growth of your organisation.

  2. Transition to IPv6

    IPAM has become important since the introduction of the newIPv6. An IPv6 uses a 128-bit address, whereas IPv4 follows a 32-bit address scheme. The added complexity of IPv6 means that while an administrator may have once been able to remember an IPv4 address, an IPAM tool is necessary to track all the IPv6 resources. Also, an IPAM solution allows you to catalogue your IPv4 network resources, as well as IPv6 address space.

  3. Management of Resources.

    A system for organizing IP address space is important because there are only a finite number of IP resources available and these cost money. If you have no IPAM network system to track and manage your IP addresses, issues like IP conflicts will cause serious problems for users. IPAM solutions makes managing the available resources a piece of cake job.

  4. Turn Data into Information

    IP address management solution has the ability to collect data associated with devices, networks, services and then convert them into a clear picture. IPAM allows users to associate information for all objects in a database so administrators can search, sort and export based on any data.

  5. The Needed Information

    Network administrators are interested in the IP address space and the resource assigned to each IP address. With IPAM, an administrator can get the meta-information related to a resource such as hostname, device type, physical location, etc from his own location with leisure. Alerts are sent at necessary times and reports with needed information can also be generated easily.

Lousy IP address management has its own dire consequences!

The risks associated with inefficiently managed IP networks include network downtime, lost revenues, dissatisfied customers, and network security and access problems. Improper IP address management causes massive server outage, mass confusion, productivity loss and delays in deployment. A proper IPAM solution must be capable of doing the following:

  • Reporting : Report generation and alerting is a major aspect to be expected in a IPAM solution.
  • Performance: Capability to handle large IP pools or manage busy operations.
  • IPv6 support : No matter where you are in the transition, future-proofing is key.
  • Historical data: Critical when operating in regions with lawful intercept requirements.
  • DHCP and DNS integration : Compatibility with a system already in place.

Points to consider before installing IP address management (IPAM)

Your IP Management tool should support,

1.Ease of Use :

The first factor you would like to consider is the ease of use. If the system is easy to use then task performance is probably going to become faster and a lot more efficient.

2.Ease of Integration:

The second things you would like to consider is the ease of integration with your current network systems (eg: NMS, DNS, and DHCP). If the systems don't seem to be properly synchronized, errors are likely to happen.

3.Cost Efficient:

Lastly, the cost is also a noteworthy consideration. You will be able to choose high end dedicated appliances or free open source systems. It is also important to note that the more you pay the less training and maintenance you've to do.

Want to know more about IP management? Click here.

With the cost of windows IPAM so low and the stakes so high for technology dependent organisations can a business really afford not to be using it? So, keeping all of these advantages of OpUtils in mind, why not try the free demo or download a free edition and take advantage of all that the ManageEngine OpUtils has to offer?