For enterprise IT and hybrid cloud environments, IP address management (IPAM) solutions have become increasingly important, as both security and availability issues can take down the most critical aspects of any digital business. If IP addresses end up in the wrong hands or they are not properly managed and assigned throughout the enterprise, the results could be devastating.
IP addresses provide a unique identity to every single physical or logical node on a network, so that information can be sent to and from each device, real or virtual, and can be assigned by an IPAM or set manually to connect to a private or public network. The sooner IT administrators can recover from a breach based on an IP address issue the better. Otherwise, business is halted, and a troubleshooting nightmare begins.
DNS Overview: Names to IP Addresses
Enterprises use a domain name system (DNS) to translate their public domain name to an IP address. For example, if a company has an internet address on the web as “www.mycompany.com,” the DNS service translates that to a machine-readable public IP address *.
This public IP address then becomes the initial gatekeeper for all internet traffic going to the enterprise web servers or being sent from the enterprise web servers. This is all pretty simple so far, but there’s a lot more complexity behind that web server needed to deliver digital value from within the enterprise.
DHCP Service and IPAM Behind the Scenes
In addition to the public IP address that an enterprise has for their corporate website, there are usually thousands of private IP addresses associated with the enterprise, behind a firewall, and configured as one or more private networks and subnetting. This means that there’s not only traffic coming to and from the main website for the enterprise, but also lots of other traffic in an enterprise that never goes through the “digital storefront”, which finds its way around using private IP address configurations.
This enables the work of the digital business. Addressing helps file transfers and computer processing between on-premises servers, databases, applications, services, and internet of things (IoT) devices to all the public cloud provider infrastructure resources used by most enterprises, but not those physically located on any site.
Every endpoint in the enterprise must have an IP address unique to the network where it resides. This is all managed by an enterprise domain host controller protocol (DHCP) service. The endpoints that need IP addresses can be workstation computers, servers, switches, routers, load balancers, printers, and wireless devices, but that is by no means an exhaustive list. A DHCP service must be able to handle IP addressing without creating conflicts across the entire enterprise. Most enterprises turn to an IPAM to make sure that IP addressing is handled smoothly.
As with anything else in a modern digital ecosystem of interdependent resources, the more the IP addressing process is automated, the less room there is for errors.
How does this relate to a hybrid cloud management platform?
Imagine a scenario where different teams within a large organization relied on their own DNS or DHCP services, but did not coordinate across the whole enterprise. There might be different policies set for security, and the environments could be changing very quickly without any oversight. If any IP address has a conflict with another as a duplicate, the information flow stops.
If you’re not able to catch IP address issues before they impact end users, IT service requests start to pile up and critical digital work is halted. The ability to address and manage all of this complexity is best handled by an enterprise-grade IPAM such as those from Infoblox and Solarwinds.
At CloudBolt we help you make sure you manage all IP address configuration from one central location. This way, you’ll be able to provision all your infrastructure resources, such as load balancers, web servers, app servers, and database servers, so that they are properly addressed without a hitch.
We integrate out of the box with Infoblox or Solarwinds IPAM, and you can also specify another IPAM system with a plugin.
To learn the details about how this works, read through our Solutions Overview.
*Some enterprises drop off the “www” to what is called a “naked” domain name for simplicity. However, most enterprises who do this will typically redirect a naked domain like Facebook.com to www.facebook.com for technical reasons, while some marketers believe the shortened domain name has more appeal.