Kea is ISC’s new open source DHCPv4 and DHCPv6 server.
ISC offers commercial 7 x 24 support for Kea, as well as consulting and contract development to assist in implementing Kea, including migration from ISC DHCP.
Kea is designed to be easily extensible through an applications API. This API can be called at multiple places during the DHCP processing, to consult or update enterprise provisioning systems, for example. Kea DHCP leases may be stored in a memory file database, or in a MySQL or Postgres database.
The Kea distribution does not yet include a DHCP client or relay, but because both are standards-based, the ISC DHCP client works fine with the Kea DHCP server. Kea is under active development. In 2017 we are adding a remote management capability, (this work is sponsored by Mozilla, through a Mozilla Open Source award). If you are interested in using Kea, we highly recommend joining the Kea-users mailing list, where users share challenges and successes and answer each others’ questions.
Take the Kea User Survey View the Kea User Survey Download Kea Inquire about Support Sign up for training with Men and Mice
Kea Project wiki
Kea Developer Guide
Broad, standards-compliant support for both DHCPv4 and DHCPv6 protocols
- Direct address assignment or DHCPv6 prefix delegation
- Dynamic DNS for updating DNS records as leases are renewed or expired
- Dynamic IP addressing for most clients and static host reservations, for servers and printers
- Tracking of MAC addresses, even in DHCPv6
- Most DHCPv4 and v6 options, or easily add your own
Kea Hooks Integrate with Your Other Systems
- Using Hooks, it is possible to control the assignment of options and even addresses from your own provisioning system
- Hook points include: packet received, subnet selected, lease renewed, lease released, ready to respond (different hook points for DHCPv4 and DHCPv6)
- Hooks allow the developer to edit information such as the lease parameters (time to renew), the subnet, address or options to be delivered
- The Kea distribution includes a sample hooks application that can retrieve per-user information from an external file (such as options)
- We have a recorded presentation on writing a Hooks application, given by one of our software engineers.
- For an example of how this can be used, see the FaceBook Kea Application
- If this sounds like too much – ask us if we can do it for you!
We are building a library of commercially-licensed hooks applications to help support Kea development. These are included with any Kea support subscription. These are distributed as a source package, but with an End User License Agreement that prohibits redistribution.
Weighing your options
|Feature Support||Kea Server||ISC DHCP Server|
|DHCPv4 or DHCPv6 server|
|Delegate lease allocation to external database||—|
|Uninterrupted service – online reconfiguration||no restart unless physical interfaces change||some changes can be made using OMAPI without restart|
|DHCP Failover||DB failover coming in Kea 1.4||DHCPv4 failover only|
|Management interfaces||RESTful/http interface using JSON commands in Kea 1.2||OMAPI (command-line tool using customer syntax)|
|Integrations||Documented, supported ‘hooks’ api||Community-contributed LDAP integration (unsupported)|
|Lease Database||PostgreSQL, MySQL or memfile. Experimental Cassandra support in Kea 1.1||Local text file|
|DHCPv6 Prefix Delegation|
|Dynamic DNS updating (DDNS)|
|Option Assignment Determined by||Global, Subnet, Host|
Or specify via hooks application
|Global, Shared Network, Subnet, Class, Pool, Host|
|Retrieve Host Reservations from external database||PostgreSQL, MySQL in Kea 1.1||—|
|Statistics||Extensive, documented statistics||Logging on passing thresholds|
|Documentation||Developer documentation, Administrative Reference||embedded ‘man pages’|
|Operating System Support||RedHat Enterprise Linux, CentOS, Fedora and FreeBSD|
Builds on: most Linux and BSD variants, including MacOSX
|Linux and Unix variants, Solaris, HP/UX & AIX with a single network interface|
|Bug Database||public Trac issue database||private, mailto: email@example.com|
|Community Support||Kea User’s mailing list||DHCP-users mailing list|
|Professional 7 x 24 Support from ISC|
Advice for ISC DHCP Users
You may be wondering whether we recommend you migrate from ISC DHCP to Kea at this time.
- Use Kea if you need higher performance
- Use Kea if you are modernizing your infrastructure
- Use Kea if you want a stateless DHCP architecture tied to your own provisioning system for device-specific information
- Use Kea for your DHCP server needs
If Kea is missing a minor feature you need
- Consider requesting a custom-developed hooks application
- Kea hooks can do everything from re-writing options in the packet to triggering external applications
Continue to use ISC DHCP if
- You need DHCPv4 failover (note that HA implementations of Kea are possible today using a HA database back end)
- If you are using legacy interfaces
Continue using ISC DHCP for client and relay functions
New to Kea? Check out these webinars.