Telekom Slovenije is a major telecommunications company in the Slovenian market. Following a merger with its mobile subsidiary Mobitel, IT staff faced extra work of administering the additional IP addresses, which highlighted the drawbacks of
the manual, spreadsheet-based method that it used for tracking IP addresses. Telekom Slovenije deployed the IP Address Management (IPAM) feature that is part of the Windows Server 2012 operating system. To begin, it installed IPAM in a small production environment;
however, Telekom Slovenije plans to use IPAM to cover all 4,000 IP addresses across the entire enterprise by the end of 2012. By using IPAM to discover, monitor, and manage IP addresses, IT staff allocates addresses 60 percent faster and reduces the risk of
conflicts, which contributes to an estimated 75 percent reduction in the time that IT staff spends administering IP addresses.
Telekom Slovenije plays a major role in the telecommunications business in the highly competitive Slovenian market. Its 11 subsidiaries operate in the fields of fixed and mobile telecommunications, system integration, telecommunication networks construction
and maintenance, and multimedia and digital advertising. In July 2011, Telekom Slovenije merged with Mobitel, a mobile services provider, to speed technological development and boost company responsiveness to market conditions. Today, its Mobitel and SiOL
brands are synonymous with high-quality, fast, and reliable mobile and broadband services.
Merger with Mobitel
With the merger, 1,000 Mobitel employees, 1,600 computers, and 500 servers were added to the jurisdiction of an eight-member network team that already managed the 2,000 employees, 3,500 computers, and 500 servers at Telekom Slovenije. The majority of
servers run the Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise operating system. The company uses Active Directory Domain Services, the directory service that is an integral feature of the Windows operating system, and maintains three forests: Telekom Slovenije and Mobitel
in two-way trust relationship and a third, for partners, in a one-way domain trust with Mobitel.
||IPAM has significantly improved our IP address management issues. I estimate that I’ll reduce the time I spend on IP address and network management by 75 percent.
| David Koprivnikar
System Administrator, Telekom Slovenije
Telekom Slovenije has three Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) servers that automatically provide computers, servers, and other network devices based on Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) that have valid IP addresses within
38 predefined scopes. Every computer or device connected to the Internet is given at least one IP address. The company also has four Domain Name System (DNS) servers that translate domain names, such as ts.telekom.si, into IP addresses. Because it is a telecommunications
company, Telekom Slovenije has more devices with IP addresses than employees: its DNS servers contain a database of approximately 4,000 network names and IP addresses at Telekom Slovenije. Within the database, 30 percent of the IP addresses are static, which
means that they are manually configured, and 70 percent are dynamic, which means that the IP address changes each time the device joins the network.
Manual IP Address Management
Until recently, the IT staff who managed IP addresses used a manual process that required a custom-built web application. Administrators used the application to enter scopes and manually search for and assign IP addresses that are recorded on a large
spreadsheet. If an employee wanted to install a new computer to the network, that person had to make a request to the network team. Then the team would forward the request to the IT department, which would identify the device and search manually for an available
IP address before making a reservation on the DHCP server.
“Whenever you have an inefficient manual process, there is an increase in the likelihood of human error,” says David Koprivnikar, System Administrator at Telekom Slovenije. “It was difficult to track and search IP addresses to make sure that we didn’t cause
an IP address conflict. Overall, we were spending 400 hours on network management, including IP address management, every year.”
An IP address conflict occurs when two computers on the local area network at Telekom Slovenije have been assigned the same IP address. IP conflicts between two computers normally render either one or both of them unusable for network operations, which could
potentially affect the business. With so many IP addresses to manage manually and more than one IT employee working on the same spreadsheet, there was potential for miscommunications and IP conflicts. This was a risk that Telekom Slovenije wanted to avoid.
Risk of Service Disruption
Another problem could arise with mismanagement of fixed IP addresses and corresponding rules configured for the company’s firewall; for example, a rule that only allows traffic from a specific IP address outside of the network through the firewall to
a single IP address inside the network. “Our administrators check from time to time to ensure that IP addresses and firewall rules are still valid, but if they come across a rule that hasn’t been used for a long time, and they can’t find a corresponding reservation
for the IP address, they might decide to disable that rule on the firewall,” says Koprivnikar. “But it could have been made for an administrator to access a server from home in the unlikely event that there was an issue in the middle of the night. It has happened
before that the administrator was unable to get to the server in question because the IP address and the rule had been disabled. If we can’t find the server to fix it, we could potentially impact customer service and lose money.”
Manual IP address management had been a concern for network administrators for years at Telekom Slovenije. The company estimates that its four network administrators spend 400 hours a year on network management tasks, 25 percent of which is dedicated to
IP address management. So when the company heard about an opportunity to remedy the situation by joining the Rapid Deployment Program (RDP) for the Windows Server 2012 operating system, it decided to investigate.
The opportunity to join the RDP came through one of the subsidiaries at Telekom Slovenije, Avtenta. A member of the Microsoft Partner Network, Avtenta has several Gold competencies and provides the help-desk services for Telekom Slovenije. When Microsoft
Slovenia asked Avtenta if it knew of any companies that would benefit from the RDP, Avtenta immediately thought of Telekom Slovenije and the IP Address Management (IPAM) feature in Windows Server 2012. “We knew that Telekom Slovenije used an internal web application
that lacked auto-discovery for IP addresses,” says Rok Nemec, Technical Support Engineer II at Avtenta. “The new IPAM feature seemed like a perfect fit.”
||With the statistics gathered together and available in IPAM, I can immediately see what’s going on across the corporate network.
| David Koprivnikar
System Administrator, Telekom Slovenije
Telekom Slovenije can use IPAM to discover, administrate, and monitor the company’s DHCP and DNS servers, collect IP address data in one place, and build a historical survey of IP address usage and server configuration changes. Through the IPAM user interface,
network administrators can manage the IP addresses that are used on the corporate network. “We are always interested in the latest technologies from Microsoft, as they help us stay at the forefront of innovation and improve our customer service,” says Koprivnikar.
“We wanted to make our IP address management less complicated. The IPAM scenario in the RDP would provide a quick fix to a longstanding issue.”
In March 2012, Avtenta and Telekom Slovenije installed IPAM in the company’s lab. In June 2012, they upgraded to the release candidate and installed IPAM in a production environment on a Hyper-V host in the company’s virtualized environment, which is based
on Windows Server 2008 R2 and Hyper-V virtualization technology. For the production environment, the teams used Server Manager, the management interface in Windows Server 2012. “Server Manager gives more information about the new feature, which was very helpful,”
says Nemec. “However, this was a very easy deployment—we just installed IPAM on a Hyper-V host and started the auto-discovery to locate the DHCP and DNS servers. More than 20 DHCP scopes were transferred to the IPAM, which covered approximately 1,000 computers
and users and 200 servers.”
IPAM communicates with the managed DHCP and DNS servers by using remote procedure call and provides automatic IP address discovery, custom IP address display, tracking of IP address usage, reporting, and a history of server configuration changes—all in one
easy-to-use interface. The scope of an IPAM is limited to a single Active Directory forest; however, Telekom Slovenije is planning to consolidate the Telekom and Mobitel forests into one Telekom forest and will maintain a single IPAM Server to cover the entire
enterprise after Windows Server 2012 is released to manufacturing.
Telekom Slovenije will use IPAM to streamline the process of adding a device to the network, enabling the automatic assignment of the next available IP address, with no intervention from IT staff. The company will use the same request form on the web portal,
but now it will trigger automated actions in Microsoft System Center 2012: look for a new available address in IPAM, add the registration to the IPAM database, register the IP address in the DHCP and DNS servers, and return the newly registered IP address
to the employee using that device. System Center 2012 provides a complete data center and desktop management solution.
Telekom Slovenije chose an HP hardware platform for its Windows Server 2012 environment. HP provides its own management solution and Telekom already uses HP definitions for monitoring HP servers through System Center 2012. “HP is an important Microsoft partner,
and this platform is well tested and supported by Microsoft,” says Koprivnikar. “Our experience with HP servers running Windows Server 2008 R2 has been very positive, so we decided to use it as a platform for Windows Server 2012.”
Telekom Slovenije is also interested in Windows Server 2012 for its improvements in failover clustering for file servers, which can be run in active-active mode with basic load balancing. “To ensure data availability on our file servers, we duplicated a
lot of data and maintained large servers,” says Koprivnikar. “Now we can set up file server clusters on virtual machines and use fibre channels [a gigabit-speed network technology primarily used for storage networking] and get rid of the big servers. With
the Mobitel merger and the acquisition of even more data, this will be a cost-effective way to ensure availability within a streamlined file services environment.”
Monitoring and managing the IP address infrastructure on a corporate network is a critical part of network administration. Telekom Slovenije used the IPAM feature in Windows Server 2012 to solve its ongoing challenges with IP address management, gaining
unprecedented insight into the more than 4,000 IP addresses that network administrators must manage. The company expects to reduce IP address conflicts and save significant time for IT staff.
Improved Insight into IP Addresses
According to Koprivnikar, the main benefit of IPAM is that he can see everything in one place through a single user interface and management platform for IP address administration on the network. Also, Telekom Slovenije administrators can customize how the
IP addresses are organized in hierarchical, logical groups that make sense for the company’s organizational structure.
||IPAM will notify us if there is a potential conflict, so we can reduce the risk of server downtime that could affect our business.
| David Koprivnikar
System Administrator, Telekom Slovenije
“With the statistics gathered together and available in IPAM, I can immediately see what’s going on across the corporate network,” Koprivnikar says. “The information available will become more valuable as we accumulate more statistics over time. We will be
able to audit server configuration changes and track IP address usage to refine our IP address management processes and better serve the company. And if we have any more mergers, IPAM will greatly simplify IP address administration as we incorporate additional
new servers, computers, and devices onto the network.”
When an employee makes a request to install a new device on the network, IT staff can use IPAM to quickly find an available address and assign it, and the network administrators do not have to be involved at all. “Now that we can see immediately which IP addresses
are available, I estimate that we could add a device to the network for an employee and assign a new IP address to that device 60 percent more quickly,” says Koprivnikar. “This is because, by using IPAM, we can automate processes that we are performing manually
Reduced Risk of IP Address Conflict
Telekom Slovenije intends to retire its in-house IP address management solution as soon as Windows Server 2012 is released to manufacturing. When that happens and network administrators stop tracking IP address allocation and utilization manually, the risk
of human error leading to IP address conflicts will disappear. “IPAM will notify us if there is a potential conflict, so we can reduce the risk of server downtime that could affect our business,” says Koprivnikar. “With IPAM maintaining up-to-date IP usage
and tracking, we will always be able to find a server, computer, or device on the network for troubleshooting, which reduces the risk of an outage that could affect customer service. This is a comforting thought.”
Lowered IP Address Management Time by 75 Percent
With automatic IP address discovery and easy access to historical IP address usage data, Telekom Slovenije expects the amount of time that IT staff spends administering IP addresses will be significantly reduced.
“We can’t estimate for sure at this point, but I know that we won’t be spending 400 hours on network management anymore,” says Koprivnikar. “IPAM has significantly improved our IP address management issues. I estimate that I’ll reduce the time I spend on IP
address and network management by 75 percent. And as we learn more about using Windows PowerShell scripts to automate processes for IPAM, such as importing DHCP reservations into IPAM or automating processes for allocating manual IP addresses, we expect even
more productivity benefits for IT staff. We are looking forward to deploying it globally.”
Windows Server 2012
Windows Server drives many of the world’s largest data centers, empowers small businesses around the world, and delivers value to organizations of all sizes in between. Building on this legacy, Windows Server 2012 redefines the category, delivering hundreds
of new features and enhancements that span virtualization, networking, storage, user experience, cloud computing, automation, and more. Simply put, Windows Server 2012 helps you transform your IT operations to reduce costs and deliver a whole new level of
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