Broad, standards-compliant support for both DHCPv4 and DHCPv6
- Free-open source, shared under MPL 2.0 licensing
- Direct address assignment (DHCPv4 and DHCPv6) or DHCPv6 prefix delegation
- Dynamic IP addressing and static host reservations
- Dynamic DNS for updating DNS records as leases are renewed or expired
- Tracking of MAC addresses, even in DHCPv6
- Extend and customize Kea through Hooks
- Add and change subnets and pools without restarting Kea
- Store leases and host reservations in a MySQL, PostgreSQL or Cassandra database rather than a text file
- Replace the entire Kea configuration, or separately manage leases, subnets and host reservations through a REST API
- Comprehensive Developer and Administrator documentation.
- 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 runs on Linux, BSD, and MacOS, like ISC DHCP. 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.
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).
- Kea 1.3+ also includes a hooks application for managing leases
- Kea 1.4+ includes a hook application for creating a load-sharing or failover pair of Kea servers operating in high availability mode
- 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 distributed as source packages, but with an End User License Agreement that prohibits redistribution outside your organization.
Premium Management Features
These are available for separate, one-time purchase from this web site. After you purchase, you may continue using the hook for as long as you like, there is no annual fee. If in the future you require an updated hook library (e.g. because you have updated to a newer version of Kea that requires a newer hook library) simply purchase the new version when you need it.
- Our Forensic Logging application works with Kea 1.1 and later versions and creates a separate log that may be useful for meeting law enforcement data retention requirements.
- The Flexible Identifier library is supported on Kea 1.2 and later and enables use of almost any available parameter as the identifier for host reservations.
- The Host Commands library, supported with Kea 1.2 and later, extends remote management to manage host reservations stored in a back end database.
In addition to the Forensic Logging (link), Flexible Identifier (link), and Host Commands (link) hooks from the Premium package, Kea support subscribers also receive the following hooks as well. Subscribers will also get any hook library updates that are released while they are active subscribers.
- The Subnet Management library, supported with Kea 1.3 and later allows you to add, remove and modify subnets via the API, without resending the entire Kea configuration. This hook library is only available to support subscribers.
- The RADIUS Integration library, supported with Kea 1.4 and later, allows Kea to delegate decisions about whether to permit access, and what IP address to assign, to your existing RADIUS server. This hook library, and the associated Host Cache library, is only available to support subscribers.
- The Client Classification library, supported with Kea 1.5 and later, exposes REST commands to list, get details of, add, modify and delete client classes in Kea.
Weighing your options
|Feature||ISC DHCP||Kea Open Source||Kea with Premium Package||Kea with Support|
|Leases, hosts in local file||√||√||√||√|
|Leases, hosts in database backend||X||√||√||√|
|Flex-ID (custom client IDs)||X||X||√||√|
|Host management api||X||X||√||√|
|Subnet, shared network management api||X||X||X||√|
|Client classes management api||X||X||X||√|
|LDAP integration||√ (community contribution – unsupported)||X||X||X|
|Management interfaces||OMAPI (command-line tool using custom syntax)||RESTful/https interface/ JSON commands||RESTful/https interface/ JSON commands||RESTful/https interface/ JSON commands|
|Uninterrupted service – online reconfiguration||Limited changes with OMAPI||no restart unless physical interfaces change||no restart unless physical interfaces change||no restart unless physical interfaces change|
|Failover||DHCPv4 failover||DHCPv4/v6 high availability mode||DHCPv4/v6 high availability mode||DHCPv4/v6 high availability mode|
|Professional 24 x 7 support||available||X||X||√|
- We liked the fact that ISC Kea is modern software and is designed to be extensible. Kea has hook points where you can add your own logic to parse incoming DHCP packets and modify them as you like right before they leave the server network interface. We leveraged the hooks feature extensively to customize Kea to meet our requirements.https://code.facebook.com/posts/845909058837784/using-isc-kea-dhcp-in-our-data-centers/
- The University of New Hampshire Interoperability Lab uses Kea as part of their certification testing for DHCP. Read an interview with Tim Winters, IPv6 logo Technical Lead for the lab about how and why he uses Kea.
- Kea is awesome, and it was a huge windfall for our design when we found out about it. April 2017 post on Kea-users mailing list
- I really like Kea, and I think it is a HUGE step forward. I am using it with PowerDNS, and it is nice having everything in a database. 🙂 April 2017 post on Kea-users mailing list
- I'm using Kea 1.2 and I didn't have (any) problem provisioning CMs and CPEs on our DOCSIS/HFC networks. I didn't need to disable Client-ID on DHCP Offer packets. .... Kea docs are well documented... August 2017 post on Keafirstname.lastname@example.org
Blog posts about Kea
We wish all our customers, contributors, donors, and friends all the best for a wonderful holiday season and a...December 21, 2018
Speed, Agility, Accuracy Network administrators are under pressure to streamline provisioning of new devices so they can scale up,...December 14, 2018
Interest in YANG models for standardizing device configuration is exploding at the IETF. At last week’s IETF meeting in...November 9, 2018
Report from the Kea Hackathon in Gdańsk last week: We spent the first day of the hackathon working on...October 17, 2018
The Kea team is participating in the Google Summer of Code (GSOC) for the first time. The GSOC program pays...June 18, 2018
Kea 1.4 is ready for download and use. This is a big release, with several significant new features. ...June 13, 2018
We are excited to share our latest Kea release, Kea 1.4. This is the beta test version, posted so...May 18, 2018
ISC has a long history of participating in hackathons, starting a long time ago at Gdansk University, and continuing...March 20, 2018
Since we posted Kea 1.3, the team has been hard at work on plans for Kea 1.4. High...December 6, 2017
Thank You! We would like to recognize and thank the Mozilla Open Source Support and the Comcast Innovation Fund...October 27, 2017
Kea version 1.3 is ready for field testing. If beta testing goes well, we plan to release the Kea...September 29, 2017
Kea is a flexible open source DHCP server that is becoming popular among system administrators. One of the most...August 9, 2017