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Recently I heard a term IPAM i.e IP Address management. Theoretically I got the definition from Wikipedia, but couldn't understand its actual need. Since for that we have DHCP then What is the need for seperate IP management service or hardware.

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    Please don't require an open-ended discussion of IPAM solutions; it would be very helpful if you explained what exactly is confusing in your research thus far. – Mike Pennington Apr 7 '14 at 21:02
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IPAM is the solution to using notepad to manage thousands (sometimes millions) of IP addresses. If you have a large enough IP space to manage, it's necessity will become immediately understood.

DHCP would be great if all hosts always got their addresses from the server, but that isn't always the case. If you were a provider that had a downstream network, it wouldn't be common to service their IP space. Maybe someone deploying assets at your site wants to hardcode the addresses. There is an infinite amount of 'what-ifs' when it comes to thousands of devices.

Most modern IPAM solutions provide additional features that you just can't be offered by DHCP, such as

  • Automated subnet polling

  • IP usage logging

  • Subnet usage statistics

  • DNS lookups

This is by no means an extensive list, just a listing of some of the common features most people look for. If you want more detail on some tools that are fairly popular, check out IPplan.

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  • I didn't understand DHCP would be great if all hosts always got their addresses from the server, but that isn't always the case. I still think that all the Internet Service Provider uses DHCP to allocate IP address to its customer and DHCP have the capability to allocate and reclaim the IP address. – Krishna Oza Apr 8 '14 at 7:32
  • I simply dont see any use of why people will assign manual IP address to the networked devices and keep their accounting. – Krishna Oza Apr 8 '14 at 7:36
  • @Surfing_SO That isn't how it works. If an ISP allocates a certain subnet to a customer, the burden falls on the customer to provision those addresses how they wish. – Ryan Foley Apr 8 '14 at 15:32
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We use Solarwinds' free IPAM for managing several aspects of our network. It's easier to assign our HVAC damper (and other devices) controllers IP addresses manually than to have DHCP running. IPAM allows us to all work in the same management database, reserve addresses, make notes about addresses, detect nodes that are offline for a while, and several other cool things. We also use it to manage the server network. The whole 192.168.169.0/24 network is assigned to our server network, and we seperate devices by scope, where active directory starts at 192.168.169.10, ans exchange starts at 192.168.169.25. This is all entered in the database for managing IP addresses, and reservations, comments, and other basic information. I'm not sure about Bluecar or Infoblox specifically, but those are just a few of the benefits and uses for IPAM suites.

I know several people that use them in network connected manufacturing robots as well as other industrial applications. I believe some software suites will tie into CRM and Monitoring solutions as well.

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    Why on earth you want to assign IP address manually to to the networked devices. Can you provide an example where manual allocation is the only sample and not using automatic allocation like DHCP. – Krishna Oza Apr 8 '14 at 7:35
  • You can start by reading the above comment by @Fizzle (which it seems you have). There are a lot of good reasons to assign addresses manually. I am not going to have a DHCP server giving my servers their IP addresses. That's just not how things work. People may disagree about an automation or probe network, and to each his own. My experience has taught me that my setup is easier, more effective, and more reliable; even in the face of having to make network changes that affect those controllers. With proper planning, this should almost never be a concern. – MagnaVis Apr 8 '14 at 15:45
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Recently I heard a term IPAM i.e IP Address management. Theoretically I got the definition from Wikipedia, but couldn't understand its actual need. Since for that we have DHCP then What is the need for seperate IP management service or hardware.

DHCP is just address assignment, usually just for users.

Most networking isn't just assigning user space addresses. Got to keep track of router-router connections, the DHCP server itself (it can't get DHCP from itself), those devices that you just want to static (set and forget type stuff) without setting up DHCP to assign static, and then you have to deal with equipment that must always work, no matter if DHCP is there or not. Then there are the networks that you just don't put a DHCP server -- either because it's a pain, a bother, faster than DHCP, or really not needed.

IPAM is just to keep track of all IP address assignments, not just the user space. Most are better than a spreadsheet and anything is better than reading the routing tables when managing networks. Smaller networks, especially home networks, would never need IPAM. The software only really becomes useful after a certain scale; before then too expensive to justify, after then just another network tool.

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