DHCP relieves the system or network administrator of some of the time-consuming tasks involved in setting up a TCP/IP network and the daily management of that network. Note that Solaris DHCP works only with IPv4.
Solaris DHCP offers the following advantages:
IP address management – A primary advantage of DHCP is easier management of IP addresses. In a network without DHCP, an administrator must manually assign IP addresses, being careful to assign unique IP addresses to each client and configure each client individually. If a client moves to a different network, the administrator must make manual modifications for that client. When DHCP is enabled, the DHCP server manages and assigns IP addresses without administrator intervention. Clients can move to other subnets without manual reconfiguration because they obtain, from a DHCP server, new client information appropriate for the new network.
Centralized network client configuration – A network administrator can create a tailored configuration for certain clients, or certain types of clients, and keep the information in one place, the DHCP data store. The administrator does not need to log in to a client to change its configuration. The administrator can make changes for multiple clients just by changing the information in the data store.
Support of BOOTP clients – Both BOOTP servers and DHCP servers listen and respond to broadcasts from clients. The DHCP server can respond to requests from BOOTP clients as well as DHCP clients. BOOTP clients receive an IP address and the information needed to boot from a server.
Support of local and remote clients – BOOTP provides for the relaying of messages from one network to another. DHCP takes advantage of the BOOTP relay feature in several ways. Most network routers can be configured to act as BOOTP relay agents to pass BOOTP requests to a server that is not on the client's network. DHCP requests can be relayed in the same manner because, to the router, they are indistinguishable from BOOTP requests. The Solaris DHCP server can also be configured to behave as a BOOTP relay agent, if a router that supports BOOTP relay is not available.
Network booting – Clients can use DHCP to obtain the information needed to boot from a server on the network, instead of using RARP (Reverse Address Resolution Protocol) and bootparams. The DHCP server can give a client all the information it needs to function, including IP address, boot server, and network configuration information. Because DHCP network boot requests can be relayed across subnets, you can deploy fewer boot servers in your network when you use DHCP network booting. RARP booting requires that each subnet has a boot server.
Large network support - Networks with millions of DHCP clients can use Solaris DHCP. The DHCP server uses multithreading to process many client requests simultaneously and supports data stores optimized to handle large amounts of data. Data store access is handled by separate processing modules, and sites can add support for any database they want to use for their DHCP data.