IP address management or IPAM is a framework through which IP addresses are planned, managed and tracked. An important benefit of IPAM is that the Domain Name System and the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol can operate more efficiently through awareness of each other. For instance, DNS knows when DHCP has secured an IP address for a client and can behave accordingly. Although operating systems like Windows Server provide a framework, many networks require dedicated IP address management software that can handle these responsibilities in unique, complex scenarios.
How IPAM Assists Network Administrators
One reason IPAM is so valuable is that it provides network administrators with a snapshot of DNS and DHCP activity at any given time. With Windows Server, for instance, such a snapshot is available directly through the built-in IPAM framework, but IP address management software can present that data in a personalized manner. Some of the important information provided by IPAM includes:
• The amount of free IP address space available
• IP address status, such as permanent or temporary
• The host names associated with an IP address
• The various hardware associated with an IP address
• Itemization of subnets as well as size and usage data
How Network Administrator Use IPAM to Manage Servers
Network administrators can use IPAM to monitor and manage servers in a central manner. The types of servers that this kind of management is appropriate to include:
• DNS servers
• DHCP services
• Network Policy Servers or NPS
• Active directory Domain Controllers or DC
Once you’ve deployed IPAM, using the IPAM framework directly or through use of IP address management software, a network administrator can determine what services on what servers are centrally managed, locally managed or unmanaged. These configurations can be set up manually on each server, or group policies can be established in order to create, change or remove such configurations across many different servers and services at once. Once IPAM is deployed in this manner, any user with the appropriate level of access can monitor, audit or manage those systems remotely or locally.
How IPAM Software Solutions Differ
One IP address management software solution tends to differ from another in terms of scope and how it they be individualized to a particular environment. Built-in IPAM frameworks are generic in order to be suitable in all scenarios, which is why software is usually required. Not all IPAM software is sold or comes with a commercial license. There are open source options available as well as software that’s distributed via a public license. Software may be chosen based on its IPv6 support, support for virtual routing and forwarding and even database compatibility.