If you’re a network manager and you work in the trenches, you probably are already well aware that something has got to give on the IP management front. At this point, trying to keep up with all the adds, deletes, and changes using a manual, spreadsheet-based system is like trying to clear a driveway in a blizzard with a shovel: For every inch of snow you move, three more pile up.
And this storm’s just getting started. IP-enabled devices will outnumber people by 2015. Cloud services and virtualization are gaining momentum. Most of all, IPv6 is here, which vastly increases the available address space but also does away with network address translation (NAT) for translating addresses. In other words, every IP-enabled device will soon be visible on the Internet and will need to be managed accordingly.
Given this whiteout, trying to skate by with a spreadsheet is a surefire way to downgrade your service levels—at best. At worst, you’ll end up with a full-blown network outage. Automated IP Address Management (IPAM) is a powerful set of tools that virtually eliminates assignment errors and dramatically cuts your provisioning time. Here are five excellent reasons why the time has come to drop the shovel and get your network a plow:
1. Reduce your costs
Think of it this way: How much does provisioning an IP address cost you today? Now multiply that by the number of times you’ll engage in that process going forward and you begin to realize the savings potential here. And automating your IPAM allows you to lower more than just your labor costs. More efficient address allocation means better network resource utilization as well, to say nothing of the revenue you won’t lose by reducing your downtime.
2. Prevent outages
As IP address management gets more complex, the potential for human error grows and the impact of those errors becomes potentially more catastrophic. An automated IPAM platform takes human error out of the equation, which improves service consistency and reliability, greatly reducing your risk of a service degradation or a network outage.
3. Speed new service delivery
Faster, more accurate address allocation reduces your backlog. With IPAM automation, slow manual processes are replaced by dramatically faster automated responses. New customers can be brought online much more quickly, and new value-added services can be brought to market much faster.
4. Free up your staff
Automated IPAM reduces the time it takes to assign a block of IP addresses from 45 minutes to a few seconds! That’s an awful lot of manpower that could be put to better use elsewhere. Instead of spending their time repeating the same laborious process, your technicians could be optimizing network performance, devising new services, researching new technologies, or undertaking any number of other tasks that will help you create new revenue streams and bring greater value to your customers.
5. Get with the program (IPv6)
Asia and Europe are already shifting to IPv6, and within two years, North America will have to follow suit. You can unwisely wait until your global customers are demanding IPv6 connectivity, or you can begin to prepare now by automating your IP addressing system. Issues such as dual stacking and managing without NAT are sure to be challenges. But automated IPAM can help you squeeze out much of the complexity by streamlining your processes and helping you to absorb the much greater volume of addresses that you’ll be expected to manage.
Now that we’ve convinced you that you need to deploy an automated IPAM platform, are you going to be able to convince your management? Post a comment and let us know.