Blog · 15 Nov 2018

How to manage the complexity of tracking IP addresses

Key to the successful operation of your pan-enterprise network are your IP address assignment processes and systems.

Your users don’t know or care how IP addresses are assigned.

They expect it just to work. But as the scope of your network continues to expand from traditional data centre, branch office and remote sites to incorporate mobility, private clouds and public clouds, a threat looms.

The complexity of managing and tracking IP addresses increases with each new platform or technology initiative. You have to maintain performance standards and support your users, applications and computing requirements spanning a diverse networking environment whilst managing up to five million addresses or more.

One common approach to managing IP address assignments across such diverse networks is simply managing the IP address space for each disparate realm using platform-specific tools. Perhaps you, like an estimated half of all enterprises, use spreadsheets to track IP addresses for traditional networks, DHCP servers for automated mobility assignments, and cloud orchestrator systems for each cloud platform you’re using. But you could end up using four or five independent systems and user interfaces to keep track of and manage your IP address assignments.

This siloed approach can lead to inefficiencies and swelling costs, reducing the timely accessibility to your inventory of IP address assignments by authorised administrators, and trained to operate multiple user interfaces. This approach also increases the time required to troubleshoot and resolve ever more complex networking issues due to disparate IP address databases. In addition, the research and implementation of audit and security controls across multiple systems exposes vulnerabilities and increases costs. It could also result in duplicate IP assignments to cloud VNFs - within the cloud or across cloud and enterprise - which could disrupt communications.

A better approach encompasses these diverse networking platforms and consolidates IP address information into a single centralised repository. This gives you IP address consistency, accuracy, ease of access and the ability to validate network-based assignments with those recorded in the IP address database. A scalable, robust IP address management solution, or IPAM system, enables you to make proactive IP address assignments, configure DHCP servers to automate IP address assignments within defined constraints, and to discover IP address assignments from respective networking environments in order to populate and reconcile the IP repository with reality.

Such an IPAM solution would enable you to assign and track your IP address assignments within your data centers, branch offices, remote sites, mobility, and multi-cloud platforms through a single pane of glass. An IPAM solution can help you reduce staff training costs by consolidating IP address information. You can reduce troubleshooting intervals and improve customer satisfaction through the accurate tracking of IP assignments which you may need especially if a site is down and is unable to provide it to you. An IPAM solution can also enable you to track IP assignments over time, to validate such assignments through network reconciliation, and to support rapid access to audit data in support of incident response or network auditing. Consider consolidating your IP address assignment tasks within an enterprise class IPAM solution. You’ll be able to keep costs in check, maintain fast trouble resolution times and enable rapid access to IP addressing audit data…. while your diverse multi-cloud network continues to just work.

Find out more about our flexible, scalable, extensible IP address management products and managed services.