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IP Address Management as a Service on the Cloud

Hanieh Taipalus

Consumption of software as a service with a usage-based business model has gained incredible popularity in recent years. On the other hand, other cloud services such as infrastructure and platform as a service are just starting to pick up. While compute and storage are by the far the most commonly used cloud infrastructure services, few consider core network services such as IP Address Management (IPAM) as something that could be utilized over the cloud. In this post, I will focus on IPAM software-as-a-service (SaaS) and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and its influence on the IT industry.

Regardless of the size of your organization, your firm's core network infrastructure including your DNS, DHCP and IPAM servers are the backbone of your IT system, supporting the growth and scalability of your business. Unfortunately though, many IT departments fail to realize that home-grown solutions, stand alone systems and Excel spreadsheets used to manually manage their IP-dependent infrastructure, simply can not support the dynamic nature and scalability demands of today's networks. With the imminent move to the cloud and the introduction of the hybrid cloud model to organizations' network infrastructure, how you manage your IP address space becomes even more important.

IPAM consumed as a software service on the cloud is one viable solution, especially for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with limited IT budget for capital infrastructure investments. Simply put, IPAM SaaS is a shared IPAM on the cloud through which the organization's DNS and DHCP servers are managed. These servers could either be in the organization's own private network or then dedicated server instances on the cloud. Here, the enterprise's own IT department would be utilizing the IPAM service on the cloud, through a secure remote access, to manage the DNS and DHCP servers. With a pay-as-you-go business model, this approach allows the SME to have access to state-of-the-art, scalable IP address management system with zero requirements for capital expenses, maintenance, license and renewal fees.

Another approach is to dispense with the major part of the operating costs by dedicating the task to Managed Service Providers (MSPs) who would then be managing the IPAM for you. Here, the MSP would be running a dedicated IPAM instance on the cloud to manage the organization's core IP network. All communications between the IaaS cloud and the organization's network are conducted through a secure tunnel without any need for public IP address routing, making the IaaS cloud a transparent extension of the organization's resources (see this post for more on security). In practice, this approach has all the advantages discussed in the previous paragraph plus the added benefit that it considerably reduces the operating expenses.

This has huge implications for an organization's resource planning strategy, and changes the competitive landscape in the industry. Thanks to services such as IPAM SaaS and IaaS, SMEs and start-ups now have access to the same computing resources and capabilities as their bigger rivals, allowing them to focus on getting the services they need without being constrained by the technology on which those services are based. Cloud-based service delivery with a pay-as-you-go business model has changed the rules of the game, paving the way for a fairer competitive environment based on innovative business models and sustainable capabilities.

By Hanieh Taipalus, Marketing Manager at Nixu Software
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