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Heather Oliver is a Technical Writer for Constellix and DNS Made Easy, subsidiaries of Tiggee LLC. She’s fascinated by technology and loves adding a little spark to complex topics. Want to connect? Find her on LinkedIn.
Anyone in the industry knows the tech universe is vast. In fact, once you break through the atmosphere, the world of technology acts similar to a black hole—it sucks you in and you can’t escape its gravitational pull. In the center of this technological universe, you’ll find DNS and its related counterparts. I say in the center because without these technologies, we wouldn’t have achieved the digitized lifestyle we’ve come to know today. In this blog, I’ll be covering the term DDI.
In the tech world, DDI stands for DNS, DHCP, and IPAM, which ironically, are more acronyms. Let’s break this down even further: Domain Name System, Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol, and IP Address Management—yes, that’s a long one. All right, so that is what DDI stands for. But what does it do? To better understand how these three technologies work together, we first need to look at them as separate entities.
The Domain Name System is commonly compared to a phonebook. This is because DNS is a hierarchical naming convention for devices and resources that connect to the internet by means of strategically positioned nameservers across the globe. These servers store DNS records for domains and map domains to IP (internet protocol) addresses.
Whereas the average user only recognizes a web address by its domain name ( Amazon.com, YouTube.com, or Twitter.com), computers and IoT devices can only understand numerical addresses. This is where DNS comes in. DNS isn’t just a directory for web addresses, it also acts as a translator between computers and people by translating domain names into numerical IP addresses. It is by a domain’s IP that devices can connect with one another.
Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol is a network protocol that automatically assigns IP addresses and any corresponding information to each host on a network. This allows endpoints to communicate more efficiently and simplifies IP management. DHCP also defines related configuration variables and allocates the subnet masks and default gateway addresses for a network. Because IP addresses using DHCP are generated automatically rather than manually, networks are less prone to experiencing errors.
IP Address Management (IPAM) is exactly what it sounds like—a management system that helps administrators organize, track, and fine-tune data related to a network’s IP address space. You can think of it like an inventory that tells you what IPs are in use or that haven’t been assigned. It also holds details such as IP address subnets and host info, along with the status of each. This technology integrates well with DHCP and is becoming increasingly popular with enterprise-level businesses.
Tip: Always take into consideration the possibility of vendor lock-in when choosing a provider for DDI solutions. While it may seem convenient, going all-in with one provider can cost more in the long run and become a hassle if you choose to switch services.
As you may have surmised by now, DDI is the culmination of each of the aforementioned networking services and specifically relates to communication over an IP-based network. What makes DDI a “thing” is how they work together when fully integrated. This technology is all about simplifying processes and making them more efficient and secure.
There are many advantages to incorporating DDI into your organization. The most obvious reason is ease of management. Rather than having to maintain separate DNS, DHCP, and IPAM services and configure them manually, DDI automates many networking tasks and centralizes IP management. Because many aspects of DDI are on “auto-pilot,” DDI can be a huge time saver. It also reduces errors that arise from manual configurations and using spreadsheets to manage IP addresses. DDI solutions are also built to scale with your business. This is especially important for startups, fast-growing businesses, or organizations that are following a strategic growth plan.
As with anything else in life, DDI isn’t perfect, and I wouldn’t be doing my due diligence if I didn’t mention them. For instance, if your organization wants a hardware-based solution, not only are the upfront costs expensive, but they must be maintained and replaced as technology advances. Cloud-based DDI solutions are typically subject to certain software stipulations that often require licensing and/or renewals, or they are provider-based and require long-term contracts and substantial monthly fees.
DDI is an excellent solution if you are interested in streamlining your network management and need scalability. The best approach when choosing which DDI solution is right for your organization is to weigh the pros and cons of each available option. Other things to look for are strong reporting and auditing capabilities, high performance and resiliency, and flexibility. Be wary of vendor lock-in and make decisions that will provide you with the greatest benefits as well as the ability to have redundancy at every point of failure. Knowing the pros and cons of DDI and what factors to consider will ensure you choose the right solution for your organization.
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