Once upon a time, IT managers had a piece of paper in their hand detailing every IP address and MAC address within their organisation. But how could such an approach work now? The modern enterprise has to cope with BYOD with any number of workers bringing any number of devices; with IoT where even parts of the building’s infrastructure will have their own IP addresses. Then there’s the growing use of cloud deployment, where parts of the corporate system no longer have roots within the network perimeter, bringing a major headache regarding the thousands of IP addresses that need to be provisioned and deprovisioned in a flash.
Steps taken in the past to manage all this by worksheets or open-source software have brought minor improvements, but in reality there’s only one possible solution that brings speed, simplification and agility – DDI (DNS-DHCP-IPAM).
Explosion of IP devices and virtualisation strategies bring complexity and cost
Apart from the obvious missing automation piece, relying on Excel or open source software for IPAM has major limitations, particularly when it comes to implementing DHCP/DNS synchronisation workflows. Lack of synchronisation between DNS and DHCP brings inconsistencies of data, which inevitably leads to enormous time and cost spent to resolve resulting issues.
Then there are the major challenges brought by virtualisation strategies and next-gen data centres. It’s already a complex process when you’re dealing with one cloud provider, but the problems are exaggerated with multi-cloud. With no available API or automation of IP resource deployment, how could the beleaguered IT manager maintain central visibility or control?
Fortunately, organisations have resolved to find a better way to handle DNS and DHCP, those key elements of corporate networking. Although connected, the two serve very different functions: a DHCP service assigns IP addresses to devices tethered to the corporate network, including servers, desktops and mobile devices. DNS, meanwhile, maps a device or website domain name to its numerical IP address. Email systems and other network-dependent applications rely on DNS/DHCP servers as a bedrock technology. A related function, IP address management (IPAM), manages DHCP and DNS servers, keeps tabs on the pool of IP addresses available for assignment and prevents IP address conflicts. DNS, DHCP and IPAM can be combined in a single technology, DDI, to provide a great deal of additional functionality.
IT managers want a system that can integrate DNS and DHCP effectively so that changes in IP addressing can be recognised instantly. Nothing radical – there have long been solutions for managing IP resources more efficiently. However, few are capable of simplifying network management functions, and almost none have been designed for the speed and scalability requirements that moving to a cloud-driven implementation brings.
DDI – The foundation for flexibility and control across IP networks
DDI is fundamental for simplifying management and automation of IP resources, DHCP leases, security filtering and DNS. Take the example of a large retailer that is constantly setting up new stores. When a new store opens, multiple subnets, DNS and DHCP servers and network devices have to be allocated. The IP resource provisioning process for each store typically involves hundreds of manual tasks, consuming time and running a high risk of misconfiguration due to infrastructure complexity. An integrated DDI solution, using customisable templates and automation of processes, reduces this to one single task. It ensures fast, easy, error-free generation and deployment of IP architecture for each new store, whilst offering holistic visibility of IP resources deployed.
In the early days of cloud computing, much attention was focused on cost savings, but CIOs have realised that what really makes a difference is the way that cloud offers a great deal more flexibility in deployment and management of resources. However, this can only be achieved by integration and automation of DDI with the cloud orchestration process to accelerate provisioning and deprovisioning of VMs. In effect, DDI becomes a prerequisite for efficiently managing distributed infrastructure on top of multiple cloud providers.
Smart DDI for your network: enhancing agility, cost-effectiveness and security
It’s not just about making existing systems work better, however. The use of DDI brings a range of additional enhancements that take IT systems to the next level. For example, leading solutions offer a higher degree of scalability by allowing for the provision of up to 10 million IP addresses, simplifying IPv6 management and transition, as well as providing multi-tenancy support. Also, the capacity to handle large volumes of queries (up to 17M QPS for advanced solutions) greatly improves customer experience and security.
Last year’s Tolly Group report on ROI for DDI showed how efficient such systems could be. By integrating and automating DNS/DHCP and IPAM, companies could demonstrate a ROI of up to 263%. And when it comes to keeping track of devices and maintaining a record of changes, there’s also a huge advantage in the DDI approach; it’s about 90% quicker. With these efficiencies all mounted up, companies are, on average, about 400% more productive.
For staying aware of what’s happening in your network, DDI is a clear winner – it helps avoid costly errors and gives IT managers greater visibility and flexibility of what’s happening on the system, as well as making the whole infrastructure more secure. Most importantly, by utilising automation of policy-driven life cycle management, organisations will be able to roll out new services more quickly, thus improving dramatically company profitability.
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