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I'm not sure where the .csv import process came from for IPAM, but that's not 100% accurate. You simply configure a subnet, or (my preferred method) use the SuperNet Wizard to create your subnets. During the configuration, there is a configurable variable, that is set to every 4 hours by default, to scan/update the network (basically a ping sweep like you want). Once it discovers all the active IPs, it polls configurable SNMP strings and DNS for node names. Very simple! Taking that to the next level, you can configure IPAM to update Windows DNS and use IPAM as your central point of administration. Then taking that to the next level, you can also create DNS zones from IPAM...and match up DNS zones to your DHCP server scopes. It all maps together nicely and most of time automatically.
I'm not saying 2012R2 doesn't do some of this, but using IPAM you can offload some of the day to day IP administration to other teams. Example: the network team builds all the networks, the sys admin and desktop teams can self-provision statics for devices (printers, servers, etc.).
Just my thoughts. I'm sure other folks have better examples, but it certainly simplifies my life.
Funny, we are in the budget process for the next fiscal year and I put IPAM into my list of desired software additions, but then I was thinking about maybe we should just use the IPAM for 2012R2. I was just getting ready to post a question in the forum when I stumbled across this posting. I found your insight helpful. I will keep my IPAM request in the budget and I look forward to the day of getting rid of the "spreadsheet(s)" in favor of more automated tools. I was just beginning to work my way through the documentation so I now have some topic points to be on the look out for. Thanks! deverts