SolarWinds' latest version of its IP Address Manager software now include support for Microsoft DHCP and DNS, Cisco DHCP and Cisco Adaptive Security Appliances. The company says this lets customers better manage their IP addresses without abandoning their existing DHCP and DNS systems, or having to invest in more costly appliance-based approaches, such as those offered by Infoblox.
SolarWinds' IPAM includes a Web-based console to manage the enterprise IP infrastructure. The new integration also lets administrators monitor and manage Microsoft DHCP and DNS services and Cisco DHCP services in real time, while also tracking IP address usage history.
The software can manage both IPv4 and IPv6 addressess. Tracy Corbo, principal research analyst at Enterprise Management Associates, says despite the ongoing transition from IPv4 to IPv6, many organizations still use spreadsheets or even pen and paper to keep track of IP addresses; they don't yet consider it a big enough pain point to adopt an automated solution.
"It's been good enough, so people have not been compelled to spend money on it," she says. "I thought IPv6 would compel people to find an automated solution." That's because the length and quantity of addresses in IPv6 make them unwieldy for manual operations.
But first, companies have to migrate to IPv6. Corbo's research shows that enterprises are dragging their feet when it comes to IPv6 adoption. That's bolstered by an InformationWeek IPv6 survey of 681 business technology professionals, which found deployment of IPv6 among organizations is slow. For example, 22% say they will adopt IPv6 within one to two years, while another 38% have no plans to run IPv6 for the foreseeable future.
Even if enterprises aren't moving to IPv6 yet, manual IP address management is inefficient and prone to errors. In addition to automating IP management, an IPAM product can provide insight into a company's use of IP addresses, such as revealing addresses allocated to devices that are no longer on the network, like decommissioned servers or retired network printers.
SolarWinds isn't the only vendor with an IP address management product. Other options include BlueCat Networks' Proteus IPAM software. Meanwhile, InfoBlox offers both physical appliances and software for IP address management, including its IPAM Express software for organizations with less than 1,000 employees.
Corbo says there aren't new entrants in the market, nor is there a great deal of innovation occurring. "It's on cruise control, but I see IPv6 as the tipping point where people are going to have to look at this more seriously and think about automating."
The latest version of SolarWinds' IPAM is available in December, including a free, a downloadable 30-day trial version. Pricing starts at $1,995 and includes one year of maintenance.