Justifying the payoff of IP address management

* Is there a need for automated management?

IP address management (IPAM) is one of those areas that continues to grow in importance as TCP/IP becomes the de-facto standard for corporate networks. It's also an area that is just recently starting to see an appropriate level of automation. A new paper by Infoblox examines this need for automated management in detail. According to Greg Lanier, Infoblox director of marketing communications: "It's kind of mind blowing that most people are still doing this on spreadsheets. You shouldn't be managing some of your most critical network assets with Excel."

IP address management (IPAM) is one of those areas that continues to grow in importance as TCP/IP becomes the de-facto standard for corporate networks. It's also an area that is just recently starting to see an appropriate level of automation. A new paper by Infoblox, available here, examines this need for automated management in detail. According to Greg Lanier, Infoblox director of marketing communications: "It's kind of mind blowing that most people are still doing this on spreadsheets. You shouldn't be managing some of your most critical network assets with Excel."

There are several important points that Infoblox makes in its examination of the issue. One of the leading issues, which is neither technical nor trivial, concerns legalities. According to Infoblox, its automated solution “enables compliance with regulatory requirements such as Sarbanes-Oxley that mandate policy-based retention of IP-related information.” (Compare IP Address Management products)

But the reasons to implement an appliance-based solution go much deeper than that. From a technology perspective, maintaining DNS and DHCP services is growing exponentially as every device is becoming IP-enabled. And this goes beyond computers and IP phones. Now discrete devices that are becoming part of the converged WAN could include remote security cameras, sensors, and almost anything else you can imagine.

But the ultimate payoff has to come in the form of ROI and the payoff can be easily justified in improved staff productivity. Lanier estimates that the use of an automated IPAM system can save something on the order of $3,300 per 1,000 IP addresses per year. (The exact pricing is based on a per-IP formula, so giving an exact list price here is difficult.) Makes sense to us!

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