In the second of this two-part series, we talk about survey results obtained from thwack members on how they’re managing IP addresses in the age of BYOD and IoT. In the previous discussion, we profiled our responders and learned that the following three top-level capabilities are most important to IP Address Management:

  1. Monitor IP address usage and IP resource utilization
  2. Accurately provision IP addresses and automate routine configuration tasks
  3. Manage and maintain IP address documentation


We also learned that on average a network administrator spends about one day each week creating and maintaining IP address documentation, provisioning DHCP and DNS servers, and monitoring and troubleshooting IP resources.


Here, we’re going to take a closer look at what detailed capabilities network admins think are most important to IP address management. Because we wanted to talk about a large number of features, we decided to organize these into the following five categories:

  1. Troubleshooting and Incident Response
  2. Monitoring and Alerting
  3. Administration and Reporting
  4. IP Provisioning
  5. Task Automation


Troubleshooting and Incident Response


Under the category of Troubleshooting and Incident Response, the most desirable feature was the ability to identify end-point devices connected to an IP address. On the other hand, the least important feature was the ability to kill a network connection to a device.


Monitoring and Alerting


Under the category of Monitoring and Alerting, the highest ranking feature was the ability to monitor addresses for accurate status (e.g., used/unused/transitory) for re-assignment or reclamation. In addition, the lowest ranking feature as the ability to identify BYOD/Mobile end-point devices.


Administration and Reporting


Under the category of Administration and Reporting, the most popular capability was the ability to view a change history (e.g., who changed what, when). The least popular capability as the ability to create specialized compliance reports.


IP Provisioning


Under the category of IP Provisioning, the most important capability identified was being able to find available IP addresses to use in subnets, virtual servers, and other applications.  The least important capability was being able to configure and use DNSSEC options.


Task Automation


Under the category of Task Automation, the most important capability was the ability to perform bulk backup and restore of configuration settings on DHCP and DNS servers while the least important capability was a “self-service” portal.


What We Learned about How IT Professionals Manage IP Addresses


Looking across all five categories, we identified five features which ranked at the very top for being most important. These are:

  1. Easily find IP addresses available to use
  2. Monitor and detect IP address conflicts
  3. Identify properties associated with end-point devices (like location, MAC address, OS, user, etc.)
  4. Easily search to find address and details
  5. Easily reclaim addresses no longer in use.


We also observed a high degree of correlation between these detailed capabilities and the following top-level capabilities:

  1. Monitor IP address usage and IP resource utilization
  2. Accurately provision IP addresses and automate routine configuration tasks
  3. Manage and maintain IP address documentation


In our final discussion we’ll review what survey respondents said about the overall importance of IP Management in the larger context of network administration and the benefits IP Management brings to their organization. In the meantime, add to the discussion.  What silver-bullets would you like to have (or do you use) to manage IP addresses and supporting infrastructure?


The Importance of IP Address Management


Overall, our survey revealed that 88 percent of respondents agreed that IP address management is essential to overall network management. This same percentage also agreed that they need an IP address management tool to get the job done. Another 89 percent said they see value in using specialized IPAM tools, and 77 percent said they have business justification for purchasing such tools.


The Payoff of an IP Address Management Tool


In the final series of questions we wanted to know what operational benefits network admins observed by using a specialized IP address management tool. The most important benefit was lower risk and improvement to mean time between failures (MTTF). A good IPAM solution is essential because it can help proactively avoid configuration errors and device conflicts. The second highest operational benefit is closely related to being able to improve mean time to recovery (MTTR).


What We Learned From Respondents about IP Address Management


Industry experience has consistently shown that lower risk coupled with improved MTBF/MTTR directly translate to greater efficiencies and cost savings. These savings are further amplified with additional savings in labor costs. When these cost reductions are combined they provide strong financial justification for acquiring an IPAM solution by delivering a payback period measured in only a few months.


Perhaps the most compelling evidence for IP address management is how it helps network administrators deliver reliable IT services in spite of every-day challenges like creating, migrating or re configuring subnets, maintaining high-availability of DHCP and DNS services, and ensuring reliable operations through monitoring of critical resources and proper forecasting and planning.


Your peers have spoken. The insights they provided are invaluable because they can help us learn and improve. We hope you find this survey helpful to that end. What are your thoughts?  Do your experiences align with the findings of this survey?


The survey results:

Click here if you would like to review Part 1 of this series