Removing Network Management Complexity with Automation

5 December 2017

In today’s world, IT is powered by automation. If your network strategy involves cloud or software-defined data centers (SDDC), you also need to consider how your organization can overcome the complexity of managing the underlying infrastructure. A key step would be to use automation in the management of IP addresses, and integrate this process within a modern DDI (DNS-DHCP-IPAM) platform.

Managing the corporate network

Infrastructure management is becoming more and more automated, which means we’re going to need better ways of managing the lowest level of our infrastructures: the network. Managing them manually can lead to a higher risk of errors, and a potential waste of valuable time spent trying to fix the issues.

With many organizations moving towards delivering SDDC, automation is an essential tool for managing the entire environment. You don’t need to be a large cloud user to take advantage of SDDC, as anyone can use it to manage the platforms our apps run on, automatically orchestrating applications, deploying networking, storage of physical and virtual servers, and application containers as needed.

Right at the bottom of the SDDC stack are the IP addresses we give to servers, to virtual machines (VM), and to containers. In a modern hybrid cloud environment they’re impossible to manage manually because this means monitoring thousands of instances at once, which are also changing on the fly. Even in the wider network, as users bring their own devices to networks, we should automate the ways we manage and deliver IP addresses to a managed fleet of devices, as well as to unmanaged BYOD hardware. And that’s before we come to the scale of the Internet of Things, with millions of devices all requiring addresses.

Automation is made more essential by networks that are multi-vendor, and by the need to handle not just IPv4 addresses, but more complex IPv6 addressing schemes.

Legacy IPAM implementations often lack the introspection that’s needed by automated IP deployment, and can fall out of sync from the deployed addresses – leaving you unable to track devices in use and having to manually recover unused addresses. Basic systems are also less scalable, unable to handle the number of IP addresses a modern deployment can require.

A modern IP address management with automation removes complexity

IPAM is only a part of the modern DDI solution, along with DNS and DHCP tools. The resulting DDI stack should be part of your automation strategy, tied into your application build tools, your user on-boarding and device management, and your IoT platform.

This makes it easier to automate IP address deployment and to define how addresses are delivered and recovered. To get the most from DDI, you’ll need to control it all from one management User Interface (UI) and with defined APIs to integrate with other DevOps and SecOps tooling in your environment.

You’ll get a single source of truth, keeping errors to a minimum and making it easier to see what addresses are being used, and how they’re being used, on physical and on virtual networks. Templating tools can simplify the process too, reducing the risk of inconsistency as well as making it easier to plan deployments and understand your available capacity. It can also help enforce company policies on how to manage IP address assignment. In addition to reducing complexity, DDI automation also brings cost savings of up to $700,000 over a three year period (2017 ROI Survey Report for Integrated DDI).

DNSSEC management is another area which can benefit tremendously from automation. Operational costs can be significantly reduced and productivity improved by automating labor-intensive tasks such as DNSSEC zone signing.

Integration to orchestration process calls for a innovative DDI platform

Along with Cloud Orchestration, automated tasks are coordinated for accurate, rapid provisioning and de-provisioning of IP resources and faster deployment of services across hybrid landscapes. There is one unified interface for interacting with IPAM, DNS and DHCP services, which all together deliver a smooth workflow. The result is a highly integrated, automated infrastructure that brings your IP networking into both DevOps and SecOps workflows and tooling, improving operations, increasing security, and reducing the risk of network and application outages. To deliver on this promise, you’re going to need a innovative DDI platform.

Automating provisioning workflow in order to ensure fast and easy deployments based on specific DDI management policies, DDI appliance suites can be seamlessly integrated with leading Orchestrators to deliver business value, removing network management complexity.

To see what kind of ROI an automated DDI solution can bring your company, click here.