IP address management projects not a priority for IT

Enterprise IT shops say they lack the internal resources to overhaul IP address management practices, find commercial products cumbersome and costly

Corporate networks depend on IP to run smoothly, but that doesn't mean projects designed to streamline IP address management (IPAM) processes get top priority in most IT shops, survey results reveal.

BT Diamond IP, a provider of software and appliance products that help customers manage IP networks, polled close to 170 IT professionals in January to learn more about where IPAM and related projects stand in the eyes of IT. The results show that despite providing the backbone to critical network services, managing IP doesn't get the attention it deserves. Among those polled, 46 per cent said they assign, monitor and manage IT addresses using spreadsheets, and 5 per cent admitted they still manage IP address spaces manually.

Yet the primary reasons IT pros haven't updated their IPAM approach aren't technical. Forty-four per cent report that the biggest barrier to updating IPAM processes is the lack of in-house resources.

In addition, 27 per cent said the benefits of buying IPAM tools don't appear to be worth the effort. Another 27 per cent reported that other projects have a higher priority. More than 20 per cent said their networks are just too small to justify the expense, and 19 per cent noted that they "can't convince upper management of the value of an automated" IPAM product.

"The most common barrier to improving IP address management is not a technical issue; it is simply a lack of in-house resources," the report reads. "With many IT organizations rebuilding after the cuts of the early 2000s, this has actually become a larger problem since 2006."

Forty per cent of IT pros also identified a lack of management visibility into IPAM issues, and 39 per cent said cost and/or lack of ROI on investing in IPAM tools also caused the projects to be pushed to the backburner. Organizational and/or process issues was cited by 38 per cent as a major barrier to improving IPAM, and 33 per cent said available IPAM tools have limited capabilities, therefore not warranting an investment. More than one-quarter of respondents said they lacked in-house IPAM expertise and nearly 20 per cent reported difficulty in implementing IPAM tools.

The research also revealed network size plays a part in IPAM challenges. "While no single challenge stands hard and shoulders above the others, the size of a respondent's network can impact which is more likely to be their top challenge," the report noted.

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