You likely have two common tasks at, or near the top of your IP address management To-Do list:
- Quickly find and allocate available IP addresses
- Reclaim unused IP addresses
These tasks seem simple enough. But IP address management is anything but simple. With IP documentation that runs into rows of data and no information about who made updates or when, you could find yourself dishing out incorrect IP address assignments. If that isn’t enough, you might also contend with IP address conflicts, loss of connectivity, loss of user productivity, network downtime, and more. IP address management and troubleshooting can be time consuming and require a lot of manual effort.
With all the tasks and teams involved with network administration, an organized and efficient IP address management process is vital in preventing network downtime. When you oversee hundreds and thousands of IP addresses, you need to stay on top of your IP address management efforts. Identifying and effectively mapping IP address space is a critical piece of the IP address management puzzle.
Accurate mapping of IP address space is important to clearly see your IP address usage stats. IP address space is mainly divided into three units:
- IP address blocks - a large chunk of IP addresses that are used to organize an IP address space
- IP address ranges - small chunks of IP addresses that correspond to a DHCP scope
- Individual IP addresses - map to a single IP address range
When you map IP address space, you might consider using one IP address block for private IP addresses and another block for public IP addresses. Similarly, you can create smaller IP address blocks based on location, department, vendor, devices, etc. However, you do not deploy and manage these IP address blocks on the network like you would IP address ranges or individual IP addresses.
Rules for IP Address Ranges and blocks:
- IP address ranges are mapped to IP address blocks
- Multiple IP address ranges can be mapped to a single IP address block, but not to multiple IP address blocks
- IP address ranges mapped to the same block cannot overlap
- When an IP address is mapped to a range, actions like adding, updating, or deleting on IP address fields in a range will affect all the IP addresses in that range
Once you define your IP address blocks and ranges, be sure to clearly document and inventory them.
When you manage a network with hundreds and thousands of IP addresses spread over different locations with multiple departments and projects, IP requirements commonly change. Under these circumstances, manual IP address management is difficult and inefficient because IP addresses are prone to IP duplication and assignment issues, making troubleshooting even more difficult.
The alternative is to use an IP address management tool that automates the entire process of IP address discovery and management. These tools simplify the process of quickly finding an available IP address or reclaiming an unused IP.
Top 3 benefits of using an IP address management tool to manage your IP space:
- Better control and management of both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses: Easily organize IP ranges and individual addresses into logical groups.
- Reduce manual errors and downtime due to IP address issues: Maintain a centralized inventory of your IP addresses and track changes.
- Proactive management and planning: Close monitoring of IP space usage and easy identification of both over-used and under-used IP address space.