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 the possibility and frequency of human error when inputting addresses manually. When an input error does occur, additional time will be required for troubleshooting and resolving these errors. There is also the downtime to consider while errors are being discovered and corrected.
Rather than having to maintain two separate inventories, IP address management can be centralized to a single combined inventory that automatically correlates the mapping of IPv6 addresses to IPv4 resources. Not only does this give operators confidence that the address inventory accurately reflects the current state of the network, it allows them to manage IPv4 and IPv6 addresses from the same interface.
With Cisco Prime Network Registrar, addresses are easily allocated using an intuitive GUI that eliminates manual errors and makes common tasks require only a single command. There is no data to enter twice, nor any spreadsheet-based address database to maintain. In addition, operators can complete IP address allocation in substantially less time. Such a high level of automation is key to maintaining an accurate IP address inventory, ensuring the reliability of the network, and enabling a smooth transition to IPv6 without interrupting network operation.
In my next blog, I’ll talk about how centralization of IP address management enables greater coordination across the network.