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IPAM is Essential to Network Management

By Tim Rooney, Director, Product Management, BT Diamond IP

The discipline of network management has long offered technical and business benefits to organizations with the centralization of the monitoring, control, and provisioning of distributed network elements such as routers and application or services databases. These benefits include holistic management of a network from a centralized point where appropriate resources can be leveraged for troubleshooting, resolution, and escalation. The centralized “top down” approach also lends itself well to supporting structured network change control procedures.

It’s a small leap to consider DNS and DHCP servers as network elements in need of network management within an IP network, as they provide critical enabling services to clients or subscribers. While not in-band or on the data path for user IP traffic like traditional network elements, DNS and DHCP servers provide foundational services required to make such in-band data paths possible and usable, including automated IP address assignment and simpler IP application navigation.

But one cannot manage Read More »

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IP Address Management, Part V: Return on Investment (ROI)

An IP Address Management (IPAM) solution is not just a repository for IP addresses. The simplicity and thoroughness it offers makes for a powerful tool that increases the efficiency and reliability of networks while substantially reducing operating expenses:

  • Automation of Processes: Tasks that administrators don’t have to manage manually result in direct management time and operating expense savings.
  • Simplification of Processes: Reducing the Read More »

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IP Address Management, Part IV: Centralization

Cisco Prime Network Registrar is able to achieve a high level of efficiency and reliability because of its heterogeneous integration with the other tools operators are using to manage their networks.  Rather than being a separate tool that administrators have to go back and forth between, Cisco Prime Network Registrar provides centralized resource visibility and IP address management. And, with the ability to scale to high user counts, it provides reliable management capabilities for even the largest networks.

This centralized visibility is an important capability for simplifying IP address management.  For example, Read More »

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IP Address Management, Part III: Moving to IPv6

With the rapid depletion of IPv4 addresses, migrating to IPv6 is no longer an option for many organizations.  Part of the challenge operators face is that both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses will be used within the same network.  In addition, individual devices will often have both types of addresses, making it more difficult to accurately view the current network topology.

Having to manage both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses increases the complexity of every task associated with IPv4 resources.  When addresses are managed manually, operators have to first look up a resource’s IPv4 address and then configure the IPv6 address by hand.  Operators then have to set up the address on the DHCP server as well.  This simple operation takes several steps and involves inputting the same data into the system multiple times.  Given that IPv6 addresses are four times longer than IPv4 addresses, this increases Read More »

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IP Address Management, Part II: Automation and Inventory

Efficient management of network elements requires that operators track the IP addresses assigned to each device when they are attached to the network.  When discovery is managed manually, an operator may forget to email a confirmation or perform one of the crucial steps in the provisioning process.  Rather than requiring operators to perform these steps manually, the management system can automatically assign and record IP addresses as well as send any confirmations.  In addition, the system can receive commands and trigger flows back downstream to further automate processes and simplify the workflow.

Cisco Prime Network Registrar, for example, offers a broad scope of IP address management (IPAM) capabilities for automating discovery. IP addresses for new devices are immediately added to the network’s IP inventory, guaranteeing that they will not be overlooked or mistyped.

Cisco Prime Network Registrar also locates and identifies unknown devices on the network, including smartphones, routers, and printers users have provisioned themselves.  When an IP address is used without being formally allocated, this creates a potential conflict with mission-critical equipment that could result in network downtime that is difficult and time-consuming to troubleshoot. Operators can either remove these rogue devices from the network or formally discover them to shore up potential security vulnerabilities that might otherwise pass undetected.

The accuracy of the IP address inventory is maintained by refreshing it at regular intervals to ensure it still correlates to the ever-changing configuration of the network.  Maintaining an accurate inventory of IP addresses is critical to reliable network operation.  For example, by Read More »

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