Many of us use Microsoft Server in a variety of roles, including DHCP and DNS. Microsoft DHCP and DNS services are provided at no extra cost and do a good job. Besides, the Active Directory service depends on the use of DNS, so many organizations choose to use the Microsoft DNS services if for no other reason than to support the Active Directory.
Many of us (especially those still using spreadsheets to track IP’s) were excited to see a new IP Address Management utility bundled with Windows Server 2012. However, Microsoft IPAM is somewhat comparable to many of Windows Server’s other built-in management tools. That is to say that these tools are functional, but are not necessarily elegant and often suffer from a number of limitations. In fact, the Microsoft IPAM tool has many of the same limitations as the built-in DNS and DHCP management tools.
For example, Microsoft IPAM works great within a single AD forest, but it won’t work across forest boundaries. Organizations that have multiple Active Directory forests can deploy multiple IPAM instances, but these instances are not aware of one another and do not provide any sort of data synchronization.
The Microsoft IPAM console does a decent job of managing Microsoft DHCP servers, but is not designed to replace the DHCP MMC. Unfortunately, the Microsoft IPAM console provides very little DNS functionality, although this is expected to improve over time.
So why does any of this matter? Because your time is worth something. If the tool is free, but it doesn’t save you time then the solution is not cost effective. This is why some organizations eventually graduate from Microsoft bundled tools to third-party solutions.
What is your point of view? Do you use Microsoft IPAM? Why or why not? Have you graduated? If so, to what and why? If you would like to learn more about how Microsoft IPAM may cost you more, view this recorded webinar.
9 time Microsoft MVP and freelance writer.
Formerly a CIO for a national chain of hospitals and healthcare facilities. Previously worked as a network administrator for several large insurance companies and for the Department of Defense at Fort Knox.
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