BT explains how IP address management can unlock further benefits from the multi-cloud infrastructure
The cloud offers global enterprises the ability to use infrastructure, platforms and applications when they need them, for as long as needed, and to pay only for what they used.
This ability to grow and shrink capacity on demand provides the elasticity multinational organisations need to support demand surges, new developments, business continuity and much more. The cloud enables an organisation to size in-house computing resources to nominal capacity and to cloud-burst computing capacity on demand. Dynamically sizing computing capacity is great, but what good is it if it’s not accessible by users via your networks?
By extending your enterprise network via virtual private networks (VPNs) to your virtual private clouds (VPCs) within a single or several public cloud providers, you can expand your enterprise network as you expand your computing resources. Once your VPNs and VPCs are setup, the critical step to making your new virtualised network functions accessible is the assignment of IP addresses and DNS names to each one respectively.
The importance of responsiveness
By assigning each virtualised resource an IP address within the subnets assigned to your VPCs, you can effectively expand your network and computing resources on demand. But to do that, you need to have the ability to instantly assign IPs and names. Taking the time to lookup subnets and available IP addresses in a spreadsheet just won’t do. You need to identify and assign an IP address and name during the very process of instantiation to retain the cloud benefits of agility and scale.
You can achieve this level of responsiveness by incorporating your IP address management (IPAM) system into the process. When your cloud provisioning system such as Ansible, Chef, Puppet, and so on, initiates a virtualised resource provisioning request, use the cloud automation capabilities of your IPAM solution to enable the automated flow of identifying available IP addresses for the VPC in question, along with associated names, assigning the addresses and names in DNS, then applying this information too in the instantiation of respective virtualised network functions.
Incorporating IP and name assignment into the instantiation process affords you the ability to elastically expand network-reachable computing capacity on demand. Automating IP address and name assignment process reduces manual effort, saves costs, and virtually eliminates duplicate IP assignments in your VPCs.
'You need to identify and assign an IP address and name during the very process of instantiation to retain the cloud benefits of agility and scale.'
Flexibility with authority
But eliminating duplicates requires your IPAM system to maintain an up-to-date IP inventory. Some cloud systems may hold over an IP address from a destroyed virtualised network function and disallow reassignment for a few minutes. Your IPAM system needs to reflect this in order to prevent the assignment of a temporarily unavailable address, which could result in a failed instantiation. A flexible IPAM system that respects the authority of each public cloud service while retaining authority in traditional network environments enables versatile automation as well as a holistic view of your entire IP address space. Such an IPAM solution also allows the monitoring of IP address capacity, so you can add and remove subnets as capacity demands dictate.
Achieve the benefits of the cloud to the fullest extent by automating your IP address and DNS name assignment tasks into your cloud management workflow tasks. Incorporate a robust, scalable and flexible IPAM solution with cloud automation capabilities to fully attain the agility, elasticity and scalability benefits of the cloud.
Find out more about BT's flexible, scalable, extensible IP address management products and managed services.
Download BT's white paper 'SD-WAN is the cornerstone of network transformation' here.