Less downtime, fewer network outages, and minimized security incidents.
More network control and visibility. Rapid innovation and productivity after migrating applications and infrastructure to the cloud.
Achieving these goals is possible.
But only if your network team adopts a mature approach to DDI. DDI stands for Domain Name System (DNS), Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), and IP address management (IPAM). They’re the core parts of your mission-critical network infrastructure. DDI services are essential to routing traffic and establishing network connections—your network can’t run without them.
The more mature the approach to DDI, the greater your assurance of reliable, secure, and rapid access from users and devices to clouds and applications.
But what does it take to reach DDI maturity? Read on to learn about the stages of maturity, as well as some of the key drivers for and perks of DDI investment. Plus, find out what to focus on when making the transition.
DDI maturity in stages
Approaches to DDI services can vary widely in their maturity, from homegrown to full-stack commercial solutions. New research from Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) and BlueCat surveyed 227 IT professionals at enterprise-level organizations (2,500 or more employees) and identified three stages of DDI maturity.
Stage 1: A do-it-yourself (DIY) approach characterized by the use of spreadsheets and open-source software for IPAM. These organizations struggle with error-prone systems that are insecure”—often due to manual configurations—making them targets for external DNS and DHCP attacks.
Stage 2: Organizations that have adopted a commercial IPAM tool that’s combined with a third-party DNS service. The IPAM overlay bolsters manageability and scalability, but security and automation challenges remain.
Stage 3: Organizations that have invested in a DDI management platform. Network resiliency has increased. Administrators have enhanced automation capabilities and reduced risk across the entire enterprise, including cloud and multi-cloud environments.
According to the EMA research, more than 35% of organizations have not reached maturity—with 3.5% at the DIY stage.
What makes network teams invest time and/or money in DDI technology?
Among the many factors that motivate network teams to invest their time and money in DDI technology, three stood out at the top: Public cloud migration or transformation (such as cloud first or multi-cloud), a network or IT automation initiative, or a security incident.
Resistance to the cloud… is futile
The stampede to the cloud isn’t slowing. Network teams that have resisted the migration find themselves scrambling to keep pace. That’s why most IT professionals pegged cloud migrations and digital transformation as the primary driver of increased DDI investments.
And it’s not one lone cloud provider that network teams must contend with. Organizations now use multiple cloud providers, making it harder to manage resources and risks. A mature DDI solution reduces risk and tames complexity, returning the reins to network teams and improving SLAs between different teams.
You can’t accelerate until you automate
Investing in a DDI management platform allows organizations to unleash operational efficiencies. Most would be next to impossible to do with open-source software. Automating network and IT configuration and provisioning frees network teams to tackle more complex business challenges.
A senior network engineer at a Fortune 500 retail company highlighted the changes for EMA. “We had too many things we were doing manually with our small staff. We were spending an hour a day just doing DNS entries. Now, we have ServiceNow integration. You can open a DNS ticket and it automatically generates a DNS request and a DNS update [in our DDI management platform].”
Hackers have targeted DNS for malicious activity. Distributed Denial of Service attacks have increased year after year. Less mature DDI solutions do not offer enough protection. What’s the point of renovating your entire house if you leave the back door wide open every time you leave?
Commercial DDI platforms provide advanced DNS security to network teams. This includes full visibility and enhanced analytics to isolate problems before they escalate.
Two key pointers for planning your DDI investment
Common missteps can derail your efforts when gearing up for any major IT investment. Keep these tips in mind as you adopt a mature DDI approach.
Provide proof to overcome budget objections. More than 50% of organizations, according to the EMA research, blame budget struggles for a lack of investment in DDI.
Network engineers must show—not tell—senior leadership what happens without DDI investment. Single out stalled digital transformation initiatives that gnaw at profit margins. Quantify the impact of outages and reliability issues that can pummel brand reputation and the bottom line. Leadership must realize that a failure to invest erects a hurdle to progress.
Invest in people and training. More than 42% of organizations don’t have personnel with DDI expertise.
Make it a priority to hire people who understand network security and automation. And get them the training—DDI vendors can assist—that they need to succeed. At the end of the day, your people may be the difference between arrested development and network evolution.
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