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IPAM? What is it and How to Use it to Manage IP Address & DHCP

ipam

Marc Wilson

Managing Hundreds, if not Thousands, of IP connected devices can be a big pain – But imagine trying to keep track of which IP Address is assigned to each device, which the dhcp lease is up or when the IP has changed?

Well your in Luck, as there is a solution to managing IP addressing tracking issues just like the one above.

This is what we call IPAM Solution.

What is IPAM?

Internet Protocol Address Management, or IPAM, is a procedure for organizing, tracking, and adjusting the information related to the IP addressing space. It can help a network admins guarantee that the list of IP addresses remains updated.

It can be an inventory of the used and unassigned IP addresses, their subnets, their status, host name information, and even what hardware is associated with it. Normally, an IPAM integrates to DHCP and DNS to allow even more precise information.

Why is IPAM Important?

We live in a world that is highly dependent on IP addressing. From personal to enterprise-sized networks, IP addresses are essential for communication. If it is connected to a network, any device depends on its address. On top of that, emerging technologies such as IoT, Cloud Computing, and wearable devices are increasing the demand for IP addressing space.

We need efficient IPAM to help us manage, plan, and track all our IP addresses.

Getting by Without an IPAM

Some businesses seem to get by without IPAM. Their IT departments are managing IPs with the help of spreadsheets and documents. A spreadsheet with an IP addressing scheme may contain information such as, IP addresses, subnets, VLANs, connected devices, and even switch port numbers.

When the network admins are planning and executing an IP addressing re-assignment or expansion they will take this document and modify it with the new information. In order to avoid any IP address conflict, the admins check this document when assigning IP addresses to new devices and communicate it with the rest of the team.

An example of an IP spreadsheet?

spreadsheet ipam example

But it gets really challenging when trying to update this spreadsheet. Pinging an IP just to confirm that the destination is “no reply”, doesn’t really tells you much about the other end. Maybe there is a device using an IP, but it just happens to be momentarily out of the network.

But checking and updating a spreadsheet every time has the following major flaws…

  • Frequent IP address Conflicts
    In some cases when a DHCP is not configured properly, it can dynamically assign reserved IP Addresses to devices plugged into the network. In the same case, an IT team member might assign the same IP address, statically, to a new critical device. Creating a duplicate use of the address and making both devices unavailable. These conflicts in IP addresses can create massive outages, which is particularly harmful in large networks.
  • Higher risk to Security Breaches
    A simple spreadsheet has no value for security audits. Without knowing which IP addresses are assigned to which device, when they were assigned, and to which particular user, there is a higher risk to a security breach.
  • Tougher to Remain Compliant
    Some regulatory compliance requires IP assignment logs and reports. This calls for extremely well-organized documentation and logging procedure in part from the network managers.
  • Troubleshooting Time
    When problems occur and the spreadsheet is not updated properly, troubleshooting becomes complex. If the network faced a temporary outage, it could be due to a cabling problem, port mismatch, IP address conflict, or a breach in security.

 

With a million dollars of infrastructure in play, it seems illogical to try to “cope” with a spreadsheet and the communication from your IT team. When rolling out new IT equipment or troubleshooting network issues, you want to be 100% confident that the IP addressing design is accurate.

Popular “IPAM” Solutions

Fortunately, you can leave the spreadsheet behind and implement a comprehensive IP management solution.

Modern IPAM solutions call for management capabilities far beyond traditional IPAM. Some services provide what is known as a DDI or “DHCP, DNS, and IPAM” bundled into one tool. Services such as DHCP and DNS are critical components for good IP management.

SolarWinds IP Address Manager (IPAM)

solarwinds

SolarWinds IPAM is a DDI solution. It integrates DHCP, DNS into a single platform. With it, you can manage and track DHCP and DNS services in real time, alongside with traditional IP address management. SolarWinds IPAM supports many DHCP/DNS vendors on-premises and cloud deployments.

Other Notable features of Solarwinds' offering include:

  • Automatic IP addresses tracking
  • Alerting and reporting systems
  • Automated IP Requests

Price:

30 Day Free Trial to Configure and Use in your Network!

Download:

Register to get a fully functional trial for 30 days.

 

 

BlueCat Address Manager

BlueCat Address Manager

It is an advanced IPAM that allows global visibility in the IP addressing scheme, efficient management, network planning, and automation. With BlueCat Address Manager, you can manage every connected device from a centralized platform. BlueCat is also a DDI solution. It allows you integration of IP address, DNS, and DHCP data in a single place.

Key Features of BlueCat Address Manager includes some of the following:

  • Support for VMWare and Microsoft Hyper-V.
  • Comprehensive out-of-the-box reporting capabilities.
  • Flexible Role-Based Access Control.
  • Tacking and Auditing.
  • Scheduled and On-Demand Deployments.

Price:

Contact a Bluecat sales representative for more details.

Download:

No trial download available.

 

 

Infoblox IP Address Manager

infoblox

Another centralized DDI solution. Infoblox IP address manager uses Infoblox Grid, a technology that provides high availability of DNS, DHCP, and IPAM in a distributed network. This service can be deployed on-premises, on the cloud, or in hybrid environments.

Infoblox provides amazing reporting and analytics capabilities so you can plan for capacity, manage your assets, and fulfill regulatory compliance.

Price: Price is not published in InfoBlox official site, contact them for more information.

Download: Register to download a 60-days fully featured Infoblox DDI trial.

 

 

The NOC Project

noc

The NOC project is an Operating Support System “OSS” designed for enterprise or large networks. The NOC project is open source and completely free. It covers many areas for management and provisioning for Network Operation Centers “NOCs”. The multi-VRF address space management (IPAM) is included among the NOC operative features.

Some features of NOC’s IPAM include:

  • Support of Multi-VRF.
  • Automatic search.
  • DNS Integration.
  • Reporting tools.
  • Scripting for workflow integration.

 

Price: Free and open source.

Download: Get it from its official website or through its code location.

 

 

BT Diamond IP

Diamond IP is an IPAM solution that provides efficient management for IPv4 and IPv6 addressing scopes. This solution can be deployed on-premises, on cloud domains, or hybrid environments. Diamond IP offers hardware, virtual appliances, and managed IPAM services.

Diamond IP is also a DDI solution. It comes with an intuitive web user interface that allows you high flexibility. With it, you can manage IP blocks, subnets, and a long list of different DHCP/DNS vendors, all from a central place.

Some features of BT Diamond include:

  • Support for Multi-cloud IPAM with virtual appliances.
  • Cloud automation appliance.
  • DNS, DHCP, and DNSSEC solution.

Price:

Contact GlobalCervices BT to talk to a representative.

Download:

Trial download unavailable.

 

 

Smart DDI

efficient-ip

Smart DDI from EfficientIP is a comprehensive solution that offers integrated management for DDI, VLANs/VRFs, and device interfaces. It allows advanced security with a policy-driven management approach and automation for high availability and elastic scalability.

With Smart DDI you can increase network admin’s productivity, thanks to its intelligent policy-driven automation deployment and quickly find unused resources.

Price:

Contact EfficientIP representatives to get a quote.

Download:

Trial download unavailable, Contact Sales for more info

 

Crypton Easy IP

Crypton Easy IP

Crypton Easy IP is a web-based IPAM solution. It allows you to keep track of all IP (IPv4 and IPv6) addresses, subnets, and VLANs/VRFs. With Crypton Easy IP you can view current IPv4 addresses and plan for smooth IPv6 migrations.

It can also help you with audits by keeping track of all changes in the IP addressing scheme and see assignments by MAC or hostname.

Some Features of Crypton include:

  • Intuitive user interface
  • Automated subnet allocation
  • Network Auto-discovery
  • Real-time SNMP Inventory
  • Role-based user privilege

Price:

Starting from $495

Download:

Try Easy-IP free for 30 days.

 

Windows Server 2016 IPAM

windows server ipam

Initially, Microsoft integrated IPAM functionality into Windows Server 2012, and later expanded its range capabilities in 2012 R2 and finally in 2016.

IPAM from Windows Server 2016 allows end-to-end IP infrastructure planning, managing, and tracking. This tool can provide the IP and DNS management capabilities for large scale enterprise networks. It can automate the IP address and DNS discovery process and allows you to manage them from a central platform.

Windows Server 2016 IPAM is considered a DDI. It can manage and integrate additional DHCP, DNS, and Domain Controllers into a single place. Windows Server 2016 allows you to visualize all DNS resource records in detail and their assigned IP addresses. It will also allow you full management for DNS and DHCP IP addresses.

Key features include Windows Server 2016 IPAM offering include:

  • Improved DNS Management
    Support for DNS resource record, conditional forwarder, and DNS Zones.
  • Support of IPAM via PowerShell
    Use Powershell to find DNS and DHCP objects and role-based access control.
  • Active Directory Forest
    Manage multiple DNS/DHCP servers of multiple AD forests.
  • Purge IP Addresses
    Reduce the IPAM database size by eliminating unnecessary IP address utilization.

 

Price:

For more information on Windows Server 2016 licensing options refer to their official site.

Download:

You can a Windows Server 2016 evaluation for 180 days FREE to Test!

 

Conclusion

We hope this article was informative and that you've learned more about IPAM along with some solutions for managing your IP addresses and managing them correctly. Having a Solid IP Address Management platform integrated into your environment will help you keep track if IP address changes, updates and ensuring you keep up-to-date with changes in your environment.