IPAM (IP Address Management)
IPAM which stands for IP Address Management software, is an essential tools for keeping track of all IP addresses within your LAN and Network. We’ve seen all sorts of ways to track IP addresses within our time as IT professionals, from using Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and formulas to the windows specific DHCP manager for viewing IP address allocation.
These methods are problematic when your network starts to grow and IP addresses change frequently. Issues that usually come up when using a spreadsheet based tracking system include dormant or stale machines, DHCP IP addresses changes, static IP changes, IP overlaps and conflicts, BYOD (Bring your Own Device) issues and much more.
But these manual solutions don’t really fit the bill when it comes to truly managing IP ranges within your company, which is why a proper IPAM software package is far better. Especially with many companies and larger organizations now moving from IPv4 to IPv6, tracking IP addresses is crucial for the migration process, while also helping correctly estimating future needs and growth in the business.
The solution to these issues and more lies in a dedicated software package that has all the information, databases, alerts, tracking and management built into its feature set.
The most important function of IPAM software is to monitor and manage DHCP, DNS and IP addresses – this is referred to as “DDI“.
There are many types of products available on the market that serve this purpose, ranging from cloud hosted platforms to desktop software products to virtualized or physical hardware appliances that are meant to completely replace your existing DNS/DHCP infrastructure, while also providing enhanced tools and features above and beyond the virtual-only options.
Traditionally though, most IP address management systems will seamlessly integrate into your Windows (2003, 2008 and 2012 R2) environment while providing a single location or console for managing all things related to your DNS/DHCP and IP address setup. Most IP management software will include features such as IP address auto-discovery, automated databasing of all devices on your network (laptops, desktops, VoIP nodes, wireless devices, etc.) all while eliminating issues like IP sprawl, stale IP address records within DNS/DHCP, IP Conflicts and so forth while also helping to minimize downtime.