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Why Integrating IPAM Matters and How to Achieve It

Gareth Barnes

IPAM solutions are the source of truth for IP resources on the network, but when performing IPAM functions such as assignments, reconciliations, DNS updates, network plans, or Regional Internet Registry (RIR) requests, IPAM is often limited by its integration with an OSS. Operational teams can find it challenging to complete routine tasks without an integrated IPAM solution due to siloed data pools and swivel-chair environments.

Unintegrated IPAM can also create risks to subscriber services. When large volumes of IPv4 resources are assigned on a network, name-space collisions caused by duplicate IP assignments may interfere with service quality. A centralized IPAM solution integrated with your OSS helps to significantly reduce the risk of IP resource interferences due to automated rules that verify IP statuses before assignments are made. This simple check can make the lives of your customer service representative (CSR) team much less complicated.

Though the sheer volume and unique nature of IPv6 addresses reduce this risk, there are many use cases where a network engineer, administrator, or CSR are required to rapidly pull up IP address information. Integrating your IPAM solution can also help translate IP address management tasks into configurable business flows. This gives operators the ability to not just manipulate an IP block, but also to deploy a new service to customers by configuring business rules within the IPAM solution and extending them to the OSS workflows.

Having this functionality at your CSRs' fingertips is one way to go, but ideally, you want to require human intervention only under exceptional circumstances. Being able to define automated business rules that conform to processes is paramount for a system to be integrated seamlessly into a larger provisioning ecosystem. If done properly, this further reduces operational needs while granting faster visibility into the central repository of IP resources.

There are a number of methods for operators to integrate IPAM solutions into their existing OSS, however, REST APIs offer the most accessible way for the majority because of their fast performance, reliability, and their ability to be managed and updated during operations without affecting the system as a whole. REST notifications also offer a means for subnet and node status changes to integrate into downstream billing systems or automatically trigger other OSS functions. When block status changes occur, these automated rules can simplify processes even further and provide accurate information to administrative and billing departments.

Some operators are now taking the next step by encapsulating the network flow changes with automatic scope deployment, offering DHCP and routing element configuration to reduce event-routing tasks, streamline audit processes, and create scriptable logic that automates IP configurations.

IPAM and OSS integration is a vital component when future-proofing network services. By aggregating customer information in a central repository, where financial, service agreement, and IP resource information can be found with ease, while additionally simplifying processes with configurable and automated business rules, will bring OPEX benefits to operators of any size.

By Gareth Barnes, Product Manager at Incognito
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Related topics: DNS, IP Addressing, IPv6, Networks

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