Managing IP doesn't get the attention it deserves, if a new survey is to be believed. Although the technology provides the backbone to critical network services, projects designed to streamline IP address management (IPAM) processes rarely get priority in most IT shops.
Among 170 IT professionals by BT Diamond IP, a provider of software and appliance products that help customers manage IP networks, 46 percent of respondents said they assigned, monitor and manage IT addresses using spreadsheets, and five percent admitted they still managed IP address spaces manually.
Yet the primary reasons IT pros haven't updated their IPAM approach aren't technical. Forty-four percent reported that the biggest barrier to updating IPAM processes was the lack of in-house resources.
In addition, 27 percent said the benefits of buying IPAM tools didn't appear to be worth the effort. Another 27 percent reported that other projects had a higher priority. More than 20 percent said their networks were just too small to justify the expense, and 19 percent noted that they "can't convince upper management of the value of an automated" IPAM product.
"With many IT organisations rebuilding after the cuts of the early 2000s, this [lack of managerial backing] has actually become a larger problem since 2006," the report says.
Forty percent of IT pros also identified a lack of management visibility into IPAM issues, and 39 percent said cost and/or lack of ROI on investing in IPAM tools also caused the projects to be pushed to the backburner.
Organisational and/or process issues was cited by 38 percent as a major barrier to improving IPAM, and 33 percent said available IPAM tools had limited capabilities, therefore not warranting an investment. More than one-quarter of respondents said they lacked in-house IPAM expertise and nearly 20 percent reported difficulty in implementing IPAM tools.
The research also revealed network size plays a part in IPAM challenges. "While no single challenge stands head 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.