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jgherbert
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!

John.

96 Replies
jeffreyc
Level 12

Re: I Don't See the Point of IPAM


We used to use spreadsheets no we use IPAM. To me the value of IPAM is that it dynamically updates and also integrates with UDT

dcal
Level 9

Re: I Don't See the Point of IPAM

Just like @jeffreyc said it dynamically and most importantly automatically updates.  You don't have to think about managing a spreadsheet, it does it for you.

jgherbert
Level 13

Re: I Don't See the Point of IPAM

Hi @jeffreyc. Integration with UDT is definitely a bonus. I spoke to somebody once about IPAM and they insisted that by having a spreadsheet where they tracked their IP addresses, they were "doing IP Address Management". I guess on one level they were, but they really were missing the bigger picture.

jgherbert
Level 13

Re: I Don't See the Point of IPAM

Hi @dcal. Agreed about the dynamic nature of IPAM; it's a tool just like a spreadsheet though, so it still needs managing (in some sense of the word) and has to be treated seriously as part of the business processes. IPAM isn't, sadly, fully automatic!

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ElevenB2003
Level 11

Re: I Don't See the Point of IPAM

It also removes the "Did you update the spreadsheet with the new IP info?" or "Who is going to update all of the spreadsheets with the new IP info?" or "Wow, I didn't realize that DHCP scope was almost out of addresses!" - I could go on

jgherbert
Level 13

Re: I Don't See the Point of IPAM

*grins* Well, @Jon Scheler, I'd argue that it moves the problem from the spreadsheet to the IPAM system. It's a bit like getting a dishwasher - yes, it's all automatic and you don't have to wear rubber gloves any more, but it doesn't remove the requirement that somebody actually fills the dishwasher, puts detergent in, and presses the start button!

You're definitely right about scope utilization monitoring. Thanks!

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ElevenB2003
Level 11

Re: I Don't See the Point of IPAM

As long as the subnets are pre-configured, scanning of the subnets will automatically find and populate any new devices added with static addresses.  So I guess, the only "manual" intervention from an admin or engineer would be to add any new subnets into IPAM.  I would guess that happens a lot less often than spinning up new VM's or assigning static addresses to devices.  Way easier than a dishwasher!

jgherbert
Level 13

Re: I Don't See the Point of IPAM

*nod* I think it just depends how much you manage directly versus simply observing what's out there. e.g. It's one thing to see how busy a dynamic DHCP pool is, but when you start making manual DHCP entries or other static assignments within a subnet, the involvement grows, and the same risk exists as with spreadsheets, that somebody won't get round to updating it.

Perhaps it's like a semi-automatic dishwasher?

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ElevenB2003
Level 11

Re: I Don't See the Point of IPAM

I agree!! Something like this! Panasonic IRT dishwasher - YouTube