Technology is taking us sky high, enabling a world of interconnected things available for everyone, from everywhere, all the time. The trend of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) has enabled employees to use their own devices to access company information and applications. In addition, this trend has led to more mobility and enabled an easier form of business on the go. Another popular topic, the Internet of Things (IOT), seems to take the concept of devices connecting to external networks to a newer and broader spectrum. The idea of IOT is to make human contact with the virtual world more realistic, tangible, and meaningful by allowing any device or machine (with IP-enabled sensors) to interact with us through the Internet.

 

While these advancements in science and technology sound absolutely fascinating, to the network administrator managing networks, they can also bring visions of herculean challenges that such network environments would create. There was a time when only a single IP-enabled device (a PC) was provided to an employee. Now, employees tend to carry their own smart phone, tablet, wearable tech, or other form of intelligent media that connects to the Internet. Not only does this lead to increased IT security risks, but also to more complexity in provisioning, tracking and managing IP addresses.

 

IPv4 addresses are themselves hard enough to manually manage and as their public availability becomes extinct, the use of the longer and alphanumeric IPv6 addresses is looking even more challenging to migrate to and manage.

 

THE SIGN OF THE FOUR (Subheading inspired from a Sherlock Holmes novel by the same name. )

    1. Gartner® studies indicate that there will be nearly 26 billion devices on the Internet of Things by 2020
    2. According to ABI Research® more than 30 billion devices will be wirelessly connected to the Internet of Things (Internet of Everything) by 2020.
    3. Cisco® predicts that there will be 25 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2015 and 50 billion by 2020
    4. IDC® expects the installed base of the Internet of Things will be approximately 212 billion "things" globally by the end of 2020.

 

In simple terms, your employees will bring in more devices that connect to the corporate network. In addition, your network itself will grow requiring more devices to support a growing number of clients and faster Internet.

 

These are alarming trends for network administrators. Looking ahead, there’s going to be more dynamic IP provisioning, more subnet masking, more DHCP server configurations, more split scopes, shared networks, management of subnet utilization, and DHCP scope leasing. Moreover, new management challenges with IPv6 will almost definitively rule out the possibility of manual IP address tracking with spreadsheets and in-house tools. In short, a greater number of IP addresses assigned to clients means increased network administration complexity and a larger number of IP conflicts and troubleshooting nightmares.

 

IP ADDRESS MANAGEMENT AUTOMATION – MORE A NECESSITY THAN CHOICE

You may think “Why IP address management automation?” Especially when manual IP tracking and monitoring costs you hardly anything using Microsoft® Excel®. But, as we've discussed above the proliferation of BYOD, IOT and other new networking technologies such as SDN (Software Defined Networking), , VXLAN (Virtual eXtensible Local Area Network) 802.11ac Wi-Fi will bring new challenges to IP addressing. IP assignment and tracking will become far more complex, and the time taken to identify IPs to devices for troubleshooting will become much longer.

 

By replacing manual methods with IP address automation, you'll be able to:

    1. Reduce manual efforts and improving operational efficiency
    2. Facilitate dynamic IP addressing and synchronized DHCP/DNS management
    3. Automate IP address scanning and utilization monitoring
    4. Receive real-time notifications when subnets and scopes near full capacity
    5. Identify and troubleshooting IP conflicts easily
    6. Schedule IP address and subnet reports
    7. Easily track the status of IP assignment and DHCP scope leases
    8. Unify all IP address management options into a simplified interface rather than cumbersome spreadsheets, or any in-house or open source tools
    9. Simplify IPv6 migration and dual-stack IP implementation
    10. More easily conduct subnet allocation and masking, supernetting, and other IP addressing tasks

 

Internet of Things and BYOD are here to stay, paving the way for sophisticated and more advanced network connectivity. This means IT teams have to revisit their IT solutions to ensure they are part of the technology evolution – benefitting from it, and keeping it under control!