Internet Protocol Address Management (IPAM) has emerged as the most important function of network management for service providers and enterprises alike. The reasons are pretty simple: Internet usage is exploding, the number of online devices is multiplying wildly, and each one needs an IP address, which is the key to identifying and controlling that device.
Ten years ago, an employee or a consumer used a lone PC or workstation and accessed the Net via a single IP address, which was manually assigned and tracked on a spreadsheet. Today, the typical employee uses at least two or three different devices from multiple locations. At the same time, the growth in IPv6, virtualization and mobile devices has exponentially increased the number of IP addresses to be management.
But if this wasn’t enough to make the use of spreadsheets and other manual tools for managing IP addresses hopelessly obsolete, address allocation today is assigned dynamically through DHCP and SLAAC —rendering spreadsheets worse than useless. Every time an administrator fails to keep up and correctly enter an address, the door to a potentially large-scale network disruption is unwittingly opened.
So today, an automated IPAM platform that eliminates most addressing errors and dramatically accelerates service provisioning time is the way to go. Still, there’s an open question—should the service provider or enterprise deploy the IPAM suite itself, locally, behind its firewall? Or should it make use of a SaaS-based service that provides IPAM via the Cloud?
While allowing for exceptional scenarios when some combination of regulatory, governance, and security requirements necessitate a local implementation, we think a Cloud-based IPAM solution is the way to go. Here’s our reasoning:
Reduce your CAPEX
IPAM doesn’t require a ton of infrastructure, but it does require some. Why take on that additional overhead if you don’t have to?
Reduce your OPEX
IPAM will dramatically reduce your operating costs however you choose to deploy it. But a SaaS-based solution will reduce them further. You’ll still need to train your operators in the use of the new system, but you won’t have to train them to maintain, patch, or upgrade it—all that will be done for you. Oh yeah, the initial deployment will be faster and less expensive, too.
Reduce your footprint
Data center space costs money. The cost of energy is increasing. Save on both with a Cloud-based implementation. Your service provider benefits from economies of scale and passes on some of those savings to you.
Ease your deployment
We already said this, but it’s worth repeating: If you’ve been tracking your IP addresses manually for 10 years or more, your logs and entries might not be all that they should be. Your SaaS provider (if you choose the right one) will have tools to quickly verify your address blocks, to identify bad addresses, and to screen for double-assigns. This will save you grief, time, and money.
Capacity on demand
IPv6 is here! The number of addresses to manage is going to the moon. That said, it won’t happen all at once. Why pay for capacity now that you won’t need until two years from now? A Cloud-based service gives you room to grow and takes the pain out of doing it.
How are you currently managing your IP addresses?