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What's new for Windows Server IPAM?

The next version of Windows Server comes with three important improvements and enhancements to IP address management.

In the next version of Windows Server, Microsoft is introducing many new capabilities and improving some existing ones. One of the existing features that Microsoft is improving upon is IP Address Management (IPAM). Unfortunately, the updates that Microsoft has made to IPAM are not available in the current technical preview, but the company is discussing them.

Microsoft's planned enhancements for Windows Server IPAM fall into three main categories. The first of these categories is improved DNS management. In Windows Server 2012 R2, IPAM-level support for DNS management was practically non-existent. Administrators needing to perform a DNS management function had to leave the IPAM console and open the DNS Manager.

Needless to say, improved DNS management capabilities will be a very welcome change for IPAM in the next version of Windows Server. IPAM will support the discovery of DNS servers within an Active Directory forest. More importantly, it will become possible to perform the same types of management tasks through the IPAM console that can currently be performed using the DNS manager. For example, administrators will be able to create, modify and delete DNS zones and DNS records.

Also, Microsoft is providing integrated DDI (DNS, DHCP, and IP Address) management. It remains to be seen what this integration will ultimately look like, but Microsoft has provided us with some hints.

According to Microsoft, IPAM will perform a DNS resource record collection. In doing so, IPAM will gather the PTR records for any existing DNS reverse lookup zones. If a reverse lookup zone is found to be mapped to an IP address range, IPAM will create IP address records for all of the PTR records within that zone. If a PTR record already has an IP address assigned, the existing IP address is then associated with the PTR record within IPAM.

Similarly, if an administrator uses the IPAM console to create a new PTR record within an existing reverse lookup zone, then IPAM will update the IP address inventory and the PTR record will be mapped to the IP address during the next DNS record collection operation.

The third type of improvement that Microsoft is making in the next generation of Windows Server IPAM has been referred to as enhanced IP Address Management. There are three new capabilities that fall into the enhanced IP address management category.

The first of these new capabilities is support for /31, /32, and /128 subnets. Although these particular subnets are not used for general address assignments, they do have their place. The /32 subnet, for instance, is useful in situations in which IPv4 is being used and a network switch needs to be configured with a loopback address. Similarly, /31 is a subnet that allows for two addresses and is useful for point to point links within a single data center.

Next on the list of enhancements is the addition of a PowerShell cmdlet named Find-IpamFreeSubnet. This cmdlet is designed to help an administrator find a list of subnets that are available for allocation. All the administrator has to do is to provide the IP block, prefix length and the number of subnets that are needed. It is worth noting that this PowerShell cmdlet does not actually create the new subnet, but rather reports subnet availability. Subnets can be created using the Add-IpamSubnet cmdlet.

The third and final Windows Server IPAM feature is another PowerShell cmdlet. This one is named Find-IpamFreeRange. This cmdlet is designed as a way of helping administrators to locate free IP address ranges within a subnet. The administrator supplies the subnet, the number of addresses that are required, and the number of ranges that are needed. Upon doing so, the command will search the subnet for a continuous series of available IP addresses that meet the requested criteria. Keep in mind that this cmdlet does not actually create IP address ranges, but rather reports on the ability to create the requested range. Ranges can be created using the Add-IpamRange cmdlet.

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