What is IPAM? Best Practices for Simplifying Network Management

IP Address Management (IPAM) Best Practices to Simplify Network ManagementWe live in an IP-centric world. Explosion of IP addresses is being driven by increases in connected devices, apps and mobility. The outcome is unmanageable network complexity, being magnified by IPv6 coexistence and multi-cloud. Network managers are consequently asking themselves: “how can I control my IP network if I can’t control IP resource allocation, access & routing?” Their top priority for management of their networks has now become clear: simplification, driven by automation.

Modern IPAMs fueled by automation enhance control and efficiency

Two major factors contribute to simplicity of network management: 1. Visibility  2. Automation. Being a cornerstone of IP networks, a modern IP Address Management (IPAM) solution can help with both these factors, so it’s always advisable to integrate IPAM into any network and cloud automation project.

IP and DNS are the foundations of network infrastructures. They ensure host name visibility and host connection, and provide an IP routing structure for application access routing. If they are not functioning correctly, connectivity between all components of the network cannot be guaranteed, meaning some of your apps may be unreachable.

IPAM, being at the core of DDI (DNS-DHCP-IPAM), is the base for efficient management of networks. An IPAM solution  controls deployment design and capacity planning. With an advanced solution, such as EfficientIP’s IPAM, you’ll get a holistic view of IP resources across your company’s entire hybrid infrastructure, giving you your first line of security and control over your network. And when you throw in automation, massive time savings follow – an automated DDI integrated to the orchestration process significantly reduces the number of manual tasks required to be performed by network administrators. The end result is accelerated rollout of new services and apps, particularly in cloud environments. All this, while at the same time ensuring corporate policies are enforced, and configuration errors eliminated.

Example use cases which highlight the value of IPAM

A good example of how incorporating automated DDI in the orchestration process helps roll out services easier and faster would be a retailer creating new stores in it’s IT infrastructure – a task easily handled thanks to IPAM, through the implementation of specific templates. Having a centralized management platform makes life easier for administrators and also helps maintain consistency of the distributed networks thanks to high performance data synchronization capabilities, allowing the management of a multitude of remote DNS/DHCP appliances all around the world.

The IoT space offers another example of the important impact of IPAM. Imagine an unregistered device being able to connect to the network, perhaps from an unknown location. This could severely affect performance, or worse still, imply an important security risk. Effective control of IP addresses prevents this happening from two angles: first, by having visibility of all devices which connect to the network, and second by enforcement of company policies over IP management.

Recommendations for maximizing control over your network

In order to make your network as flexible, secure, reliable and responsive as possible, simple IP Address Management best practices should be followed. Here are five out of the ten we recommend:

  • Maintain centralized, unified and automated IP Address Management services for holistic visibility, overall consistency control and lightning-fast services
  • Determine IP plan structure and naming strategy based on business needs for operational efficiency and scalability
  • Define corporate standards and enforce assignment policies to streamline and simplify deployment processes
  • Optimize IP space fragmentation for network scalability, agility and routing performance
  • Start planning IPv6 transition now

Over time, IP addressing environments have become very complex to manage, while at the same time becoming absolutely mission-critical. IPAM – indeed DDI – is the key for networks to be able to ensure accessibility, security and performance. Organizations today are only as agile as their IP infrastructure foundation, so the top three key suggestions for efficient management of your network are obvious: simplify, simplify and simplify.

To discover the full list of ten recommendations with more complete details, download the white paper on IP Address Management Best Practices.