You’re ready for a serious IP address management tool when your company’s collection of IP address lists starts to look like the Manhattan phone book or a catalog of celestial objects. 

Does the following sound familiar? The sales people need a range of new IP addresses for the upcoming sales campaign. That departmental merger last week freed up a number of IP addresses, but they won’t work with the sales department’s router, and sales needs more addresses than the merger freed up. Meanwhile, the network architecture team is beginning their IPv6 deployment planning and need to start tracking their IPv6 subnets along with their IPv4 subnets. And just this morning you received a priority memo asking for several additional new large blocks of IP addresses that employees with mobile devices can use.

You expect your organisation’s IP Address Management(IPAM) system, which should include related Domain Name System (DNS) and Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) services - often collectively referred to as DDI, to be utterly reliable, perfectly transparent, scalable, easy to use and, above all, virtually instantaneous and responsive.

Dealing with a growing and rapidly changing population of IP addresses can be one of a network administrator’s most tedious and dismal chores.

If you’re using the DNS and DHCP services that are part of Windows Server, you’re almost certainly looking for better performance (i.e., quicker DHCP IP address lease responses and DNS name resolutions than what Windows is capable of), and you may have decided you need better security than Windows provides. For example, Windows DNS Service servers don't support encrypted zone transfer and update features like most non-Microsoft DNS server products do.

The perfect DDI system flexibly and efficiently assigns IP addresses to devices, is a central source of all IP address usage information across an enterprise, quickly and effortlessly equates host names with IP addresses, scales well, is intuitively easy to use, is pervasively platform-neutral and offers useful reports. It cooperates with Microsoft’s Active Directory, is LDAP-aware, and is highly fault-tolerant. Last but not least, the perfect DDI tool enforces security by helping you keep hackers at bay.

To find out which IP address management tool meets these standards – and that you should consider using – we evaluated three products whose vendors claim have the best performance, best features and best usability. Which vendor is right? And which is right for you?

In our network lab and at various customer sites, we tested three vendors' products – an Infoblox Trinzic Enterprise 1552-A, a BlueCat Proteus 3300 paired with an Adonis 1200 and an Efficient IP SolidServer 500. We chose this mix of devices primarily based on their similar performance characteristics, especially with respect to DNS.

Infoblox Trinzic Enterprise emerged the clear winner in all our tests. Trinzic Enterprise exhibited fast performance, scalability, a wealth of feature-rich options for dealing with IP addresses and an intuitive user interface. Trinzic Enterprise is an enterprise-ready management tool for dealing with virtually any set of otherwise intractable and difficult to herd IP addresses, no matter how large or complex.