What is IPAM?

What is IPAM? Can you work without it?

In the modern tech world, we are surrounded by connected devices. Everybody wants to connect to the internet from their smartphone, tablet, computer, and sometimes, even with a few gadgets at the same time. For each of these devices, we need IPs, which identify them on the network. The IPs can be given manually or by software. IPAM is such software for IP management.

What is IPAM?

IPAM – IP Address Management. It is a method of planning, tracking, and administrating the information related to IP address space. With IPAM software, a network administrator can manage the available IPs. This type of software can automate IP management, DNS, and DHCP configurations. 

A typical IPAM software can:

  • Show you the available IPs at the moment.
  • The status of the IPs – permanent or temporary.
  • The hostname related to each IP address.
  • Routers in use by each device.
  • Show the subnets, who is using them and how large they are.

Working without IPAM

Yes, it is possible to live without IPAM, but it is harder. The IT staff can manage a small network with a spreadsheet. In it, there can be a table of IPs, connected devices, routers, and port numbers. The problem starts when the network gets bigger. The admin will have to check far many IPs and continuously update the spreadsheet.

Several obvious problems could arise:

  • IP address conflict. If there is no DHCP well-configured, and the admin is doing it manually, IP conflict could happen. If two devices get the same IP, none will be able to connect. This could be particularly annoying if one of the devices is a server, and it can lead to a massive outage.
  • Security problems. There is a high-probability of security breaches. The accountability is weak, and a new device could connect to the network.
  • Compliant issues. Depending on which country you are in, having logs and reports for your IP address space might be required. You will need to provide a proper report.
  • Troubleshooting problems. Manually, everything is harder. Finding the exact network problem might be a nightmare. Is it the port, IP conflict, or something else? It can take ages.

Open-source IPAM Software

There are plenty of IPAM software out there, but if you have a small or medium-size business a free open-sourced IPAM can be the right choice. All of these options support IPv6 and VRF (virtual routing and forwarding).

NetBox – It works with PostgreSQL database, under Apache license.

GestióIP – It has a web-based interface, advanced search options and uses MySQL under GPLv3 license.

phpIPAM – Another good free option with many features. phpIPAM uses MySQL and MariaDB under GPLv3 license.

These 3 options will get you started with IPAM. Later, if they don’t all of your needs, you can check paid software too.

Conclusion

IPAM is an excellent way of removing network burden from your IT staff. It will make the network administration far easier and organized. Applying IPAM in your company can improve productivity and reduce network problems.