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Level 13

I Don't See the Point of IPAM

"So I get that IPAM is a cool idea, but really what's the point of putting all my data into some tool that doesn't do anything more than I already have?

I have six spreadsheets right now that represent our IP address space; one of them has all our public IPs in it, then there's one for each of four data centers (each team looks after their own IP space), and the last one is used by the internal IT team for their addressing needs. It works pretty well - each team gets to manage the spreadsheet in the way they like. For a few years we stored the data center addressing sheets in a network file share, and had a few problems with various people overwriting the spreadsheets but we probably only find 1 or 2 duplicate assignments each month now, so we just reassign as required.

For a while we tried tracking individual host assignments in the spreadsheets too, but the files started getting big; so now we - or at least two of the data center teams - just track which subnets are in use, and we check the BIND zone file when we need to give an IP address out - if the IP we want is free in the appropriate file, we tell the requester the IP we're giving them, then send an email over to the DNS team to update the files.

So really, why would I bother spending money on something that's just a fancy spreadsheet?"

Ok, let's be clear - that's not me speaking. But I'll bet that either you know somebody who has made some of those arguments, or perhaps you feel that way too?

So let's take a straw poll: Be honest, do you (or your company) manage your IPs in a spreadsheet? If so, how is that working out for you? Do you know why you choose spreadsheets rather than an IPAM solution?

I'm looking forward to hearing your opinions. In my next post I'll share some of mine!


96 Replies
Level 10

Hi everybody,

so i just added IPAM to solarwind server/orion.

what i can see i really like idea, but 1  basic feature is missing. And i believe it is not so hard to do it. IPAM is not integrated fully to Soalrwinds NPM at this moment. What i mean? I mean there is no e simple pooler/ way to update IPAM database from existing network ( we do not use dns/dhcp. just mesh of routers, and hundred-thousands of subnets ) I had to export all data from solarwinds, and then prepare nice xls sheet & import. Then i had to request support to help me howto add all addresses for all imported subnets -  it is solved. but its nothing simple to do. Moreover to keep it updated will be nightmare

i sent new feature request - please support me if you agree on it. ( i hope there is no similar request)



Level 9

We presently use the IPAM tool in the Engineer's Toolset and have it set to publish all subnets automatically to the web with a directory in the solarwinds web root.  We then have a link in our menu bar that points to the index.  This works... but only as long as we have someone logged in with the application open.  I've been trying to get buy in to purchase the web version for easier consumption/updating without having a user logged in. With the number of systems and admins as we have IPAM is almost a requirement.

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can it also work with MS AD?

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Inspired by this great thread, we prepared 10 questions in this short IP Address Management Survey. I would love to see the summary of your votes and thoughts.

Level 12

Our ActiveDirectory team recently advised that Windows 2012 has IPAM now. It does, but it's pretty weak. It only tracks devices that register with Windows DHCP. It cannot handle statics automatically like SolarWinds can. It cannot handle BIND or Cisco DHCP like SolarWinds can.

Finally, I really wish IPAM would get its address info from ARP tables, and possibly based on MAC address change traps.


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I never got Windows 2012 working correctly.   We have some crazy group policies that prevent IPAM from auto provisioning.  On a side note, I hate spread sheets.  Only one person can work in Excel at a time without the risk of over writing someone else's changes.  In addition, I like to know historical data for an IP address.  It helps us figure out why we might of had certain rules in our ACLs.
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The new sharepoint 2013 allows for dual editing... and I am sure there are better solutions for sharing/editing network documents.

  But IPAM gives you that central repository to hold that data; just export it to the Network Drive or SP for others to view and utilize.

  Update Weekly or monthly depending on your size so this is not something you are exporting daily.

this is what Neighbour polling does in IPAM (grab the ARP table from the router supporting the subnet)

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Richard -

Ya know, I missed that completely. I am totally opposed to scanning.

With IPv6, of course, it's impossible, and I had read that SolarWinds was using NDP, and I wondered why they didn't just do that for IPv4 also. Doh!

I am awake now.


Level 17

Integration with UDT is great, and once you get the grand experience of managing anything massive with a simple spreadsheet you begin to demand a tool to assist with the congurency and even proper backup. IP duplication may be a minor issue in come cases, but when you duplicate an important IP and everything goes awry it is good to have a tool to easily reference and know that it is updated properly. Having the experience of seeing inventory managed by spreadsheet and the disasters that can happen with that it just makes sense to manage your IP inventory with something that is a little more than fully static. IPAM can also assist in some inventory management. Most tools allow for some additions or customizations so you can get more out of it, rather than just a glorified spreadsheet of your network space allocation.

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Level 9

We currently use spreadsheets and like everyone else they are an issue because not everyone works on keeping them up to date and current. We have begun trying to clean this up but it's a time consuming process going by the ARP table in our router.

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Spreadsheets are useful for a small enviroment...

For medium/large environment an IPAM could be useful... but maybe better could be an assets inventory and management system.

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see my post above; we manage a large amount of IPv4 and IPv6 space using spreadsheets, text files, wiki pages, and a small amount of database (pretty much one table making it no more complex than a spreadsheet)

IPAM's sweet-spot for products appears to be:

- medium sized environments (anything with a /16 or smaller of public IPv4 space) [see ARIN definitions for size: ARIN Fee Schedule]

- standardized environments (think an organization with many retail stores, each with very identical network configurations)

- service provider (where you don't track more finely than subnets)

My first task with our IPAM environment is to normalize our data into one database, and the user-interface on products is not helping with this.

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Level 13

We used spreadsheets in the past and they were problematic.  Lot's of errors, poor clean up of retired addresses, etc.  We don't use solarwinds IPAM but we do use Infoblox Trinzic appliances.  We just finished a hardware refresh on them.  We are so confident in the solution that we let appropriate end users do what they need all by themselves.  Get there own IP's, add, delete, change DNS records, reserve DHCP addresses, etc.  I can't remember the last time a duplicate IP was accidentally assigned.  The solution we use can also do an active discovery on network segments to try and expose machines not responding to ICMP and that do not have any other records within the services running on the Infoblox..  Very similar to nmap. 

Level 14

Our network engineers resisted IPAM, and were decided to stick to their spreadsheets...but now use IPAM a lot.  I think the reason for their reluctance had a lot to do with the way the IPAM tree was designed before I took over.  It was very confusing and also hard for users to know where each subnet was in the tree.  When I took over, we did the following:

  1. Checked out the IPAM tree on the SolarWinds demo site (, whcih we liked quite a bit. 
  2. Re-designed the IPAM tree based one from the SolarWinds demo site, with customizations applicable to our firm.
  3. Made some presentations to our users and showed off the new IPAM tree. 

From then on, the spreadsheets are pretty much all gone.  So, I would recommend that you consider re-designing your tree so it works best for you and the IPAM users. Best wishes.

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thanks newkidd2, funny i have my tree almost identical to the Demo. thanks

for the info

On Wed, Jul 24, 2013 at 11:22 PM, newkidd2 <

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I'm interested in how to design a tree that works at our scale (14,000 subnets): How many IP addresses/subnets do you have in your tree?

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I may be able to rival that #.. though I don't quite have the time to count them all out

But 30+ buildings with anywhere from 4-30 floors and some floors using multiple user vlans, plus the building, security, pci in some places, etc., etc., for this device and that type of mutlicast unit... allows for quite a lot of sub networks.

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Level 9

IF you are using IPAM as a high lvl tool for subnets, it's great.  But should you ever need to run a report for management or someone just wanting to know which IP's are being used, well then IPAM just falls flat on it's face.  It will generate one excel spreadsheet for each subnet.  1200 subnet's = 1200 spreadsheets....

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Maybe I’m misunderstanding you …

I just ran a ‘canned’, out-of-the-box report for IPAM called “IPAM - All used IP Addresses” and it gave me a report that shows all in-use IP addresses. One report, all subnets included. I can even schedule it to be emailed weekly to management if I have the inclination to do so.

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