IPAM or IP Address Management is a solution introduced by Microsoft to Windows Server starting with 2012 which lets administrators manage their DHCP and DNS servers from a single console. Now that is a very simple explanation of the concept; IPAM can do a little more than just manage the servers like find available free addresses, view the address spaces from a single place, track an IP’s allocation by date and much more.
This first post in the IPAM series will cover some basic topics regarding the product. In the next posts we will be installing it, configuring it and looking at some features. I am using Windows Server 2016 for the installation but most of the things are the same for 2012 and 2012 R2.
Microsoft’s IP Address Management solution first appeared on Windows Server 2012. This was a really needed and requested feature as the management of DHCP scopes would become really hard as the number of DHCP servers would increase in a company. IPAM provides a single console from where all DHCP and DNS servers can be seen and, especially for DHCP servers, can be managed. Domain Controllers are also indexed in the console but you cannot manage them. Besides seeing the actual servers, the IPAM console also presents all DHCP scopes in a separate tab, it shows the IP ranges, individual IP addresses and a lot of event logs like which IP was assigned to which PC at a point in time. The console also permits the creation, edit and deletion of DHCP scopes, reservations and much more.
All info collected is stored in a database and the gathering of the information is done using scheduled tasks. There are tasks that find new servers, collect event logs, check server and service status etc. The tasks are created when installing IPAM and the schedule can be changed to any other value if needed.
All managed servers can be configured to allow access for the gathering of the info and management by applying some group policies on them. IPAM can do this automatically so you don’t need to worry about it.
As far as deploying the solution there are 3 ways:
The distributed infrastructure deployment uses an IPAM server for every site in the infrastructure. A very important note is that the servers do not communicate with each other so each one’s database has info about the servers it manages and nothing more.
The centralized deployment means that a single IPAM server manages all sites. If the infrastructure is very big and wide spread geographically this might not be the best solution because of the network traffic being made.
Hybrid deployment uses a central IPAM server and also one for each site. The central server still does not communicate with the other servers.
The lowest version of operating system that can be managed is Windows Server 2008. This means that if you still have 2008 R2 DNS or DHCP servers you are safe for now. The actual IPAM server has to be installed on at least Windows Server 2012 and multiple OS versions can exist in the infrastructure if a Hybrid or Distributed deployment is used.
In the next part we will install and configure IPAM so get ready…