IPAM tools guide: Addressing network management challenges

IPAM tools guide for network management fixes

IP address management (IPAM) is a way to track and modify the information associated with a network's IP address space. Network administrators use IPAM tools to verify and update various details about their networks and ensure that the inventory of assignable IP addresses is up to date and meets their needs.

But IPAM isn't even close to being straightforward. A number of changes, including data growth, application overload, virtualization, bring your own device (BYOD) policies, the proliferation of guest networks and tight budgets have made it difficult to keep IPAM systems operating smoothly and efficiently. The result is IT headaches and increased help-desk calls.

In his three-part series, IPAM expert Patrick Hubbard, SolarWinds' head geek and senior technical product manager, delves into the challenges associated with IPAM and shares some expert advice on how to overcome them.

Table of contents:

IPAM Issue #1: Think DDI -- the IP address management trifecta

As with most network-management issues, the challenges of IPAM have multiplied over the years due to increased growth, sprawl and complexity. For many organizations, the IPAM that worked so well in the past has now become a managerial nightmare.

The fix may be a more complex network management tool called DDI. DDI is an acronym describing three other acronyms for IP address services that can help with IP device management. DDI includes domain name system (DNS), Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) and IPAM, providing an integrated management approach to offer a single point of monitoring and control. It oversees:

  • Provisioning DHCP scopes
  • Managing address reservation
  • Detecting unmanaged subnets
  • Transforming balky DNS into a cooperative DHCP partner.

Click here to learn how DDI can help you improve network reliability while streamlining and simplifying management tasks.

IPAM Issue #2: Tools to shore up IP address management?

Moving to an IPAM environment integrated with DNS and DHCP may be ideal, but it can also be expensive.

In part two of this three-part series, our expert explores some of the IPAM tools you can leverage to improve the efficiency and reliability of your IPAM environment, including free and paid software, Microsoft Server 2012 IPAM tools and hardware appliances for IPAM solutions.

Read part two of our three-part series on available tools to improve your IPAM strategy.

IPAM Issue #3: Deciding on IPAM overlay and replacement infrastructure

IPAM offers you two general infrastructure approaches: replacement and overlay. Replacement entails building an entire new infrastructure, while overlay is adding a new network on top of another. There are advantages to both approaches, but in order to determine which one will work best for your organization, you need to consider a number of factors, including your company's size, IT budget and existing systems.

In the conclusion of this three-part series, our expert discusses the differences between overlay and replacement infrastructure, and the pros and cons of each. Click here to assess which approach works best for your organization’s needs.