Whether you like it or not, it appears that IPv6 is in your future sooner or later. And if you thought address management was a headache for IPv4, hold on to your hat!
Fortunately, we now have available a class of appliances that are purpose-built for helping you with this complex task. One system is offered by Infoblox, and their paper on IP Address Management (IPAM) gives an excellent overview of the capabilities such a system can offer – in terms of everything from convenience to compliance.
As noted in their paper, "IP address management (IPAM) refers to the management of allocation, administration, reporting and tracking of public and private IP space, IP devices and associated data. Enterprises typically deploy systems and processes that interact with the DNS and DHCP infrastructure in order to provide IPAM capabilities.
"A majority of IT departments use manual processes, spreadsheets or home-grown tools for IP address management. A typical process for a new IP address assignment to a printer may involve several steps spanning several departments; as a result, a simple request for an IP address for a new device may require hours of work and days of elapsed time as each set of hands becomes involved in the process, with the attendant potential for introducing errors along the way.
"The Infoblox IP address management DNS Appliance automates and simplifies IP address management thus reducing network operating costs and eliminating configuration errors and associated downtime."
But this still left open the question of management for IPv6. When we further queried Infoblox about specific capabilities for IPv6, Shel Sharma from Infoblox commented that there are two major areas in which automated management can be of a great help.
First, there's the issue of DNS for IPv6. Automation can help hide the complexity of IPv6 addresses so that it's essentially "hidden" from administrators. Secondly, the complexity of the long IPv6 addresses makes management difficult, and the IPAM appliance can offer a wide range of features.
Join the discussion on this topic and/or to access the paper.