The Men & Mice Blog

Men & Mice Sensible IPAM Part 4: Managing Everyday DHCP, DNS, and IPAM

Posted by Greg Fazekas on 12/17/18 5:06 AM

We’re continuing our series on implementing sensible solutions to rein in scattered network resources, specifically IP infrastructure management such as DNS, DHCP and IPAM (DDI). In this post, we examine how to simplify day-to-day IP infrastructure operations, in-house or in the field, by rethinking priorities and streamlining the interface between you, your engineers and the network.

This Playbook series consists of five parts:

  1. Overview

  2. Conflict Resolution

  3. Scaling

  4. Cloud

  5. Day-to-Day Management

  6. Security

Each part of the blog series presents real-world scenarios that Men & Mice has helped solve.

When response time > features (agility)

Imagine that you are:

  • An infrastructure director of an enterprise company that’s recently experienced a merger. You’re evaluating newly acquired resources, and how to integrate them into the network. For the moment, however, you simply need to keep everything running smoothly while you evaluate how to merge the network resources. You need to quickly see network resource usage statistics, identify overlaps and bottlenecks, and monitor network health.

  • A network administrator delegating day-to-day management across teams and offices distributed over multiple international geographies. To minimize manual changes, cut network overhead and mitigate misconfiguration errors, you have to automate processes and set up local access controls that complement your network security strategy, in tandem with helping your team have the autonomy they need to operate unencumbered.

The integrity of enterprise IP infrastructure (DNS, DHCP, IPAM), factors heavily towards the business’s ability to execute on operations and even generate revenue. Yet, there’s very little knowledge, outside of core IT departments, about the functions and responsibilities of the company’s network. Likewise, IT operators don’t always have the full scope of understanding about how network complexities can hinder business efficiencies. What is known, however, is that agility is becoming more important as networks scale or adapt to meet changing demand, with speed and simplicity proving equally valuable to the robustness of the DNS, DHCP and IP address management solution.

What You Need from your DNS,DHCP and IPAM

How not to approach IP infrastructure management (2)

Instead of lugging the proverbial kitchen sink everywhere you go, or retro-fitting your network needs into a uniform solution (especially when doing so creates greater hurdles), that, well, doesn’t actually serve your needs, choose a lightweight overlay solution that lets you resolve common issues and manage network functions quickly, every day and provides the visibility necessary to maintain the network’s integrity.

As Elias KhnaserSenior Director Analyst, Gartner, pointed out in a recent Gartner IOCS talk entitled,“Technical Insights: Top AWS and Microsoft Azure Mistakes You’ll Want to Avoid,”  3rd party solutions (eh em) should be used to bridge gaps between on-prem and cloud for hybrid / multicloud environments. Likewise Bob Gill encouraged the use of overlays “to bring order to the chaos.” (Thanks, Bob! We agree.)

This will enable you to simplify workflow and minimize the complexities between you and the network, no matter which area of the network you are focused on any given day and no matter the underlying architecture behind it. Complete visibility helps you make informed decisions. Coupled with the flexibility to quickly maneuver, the solution you choose must enable you to adapt to changing needs without disruptions in network functionality.

Where Men & Mice Can Help with day-to-day IP infrastructure managment

With the robust and complete feature set of the Men & Mice Suite and the built-in visibility it offers,  you can tackle large projects and deep (re)organization all while getting a much clearer view of IP infrastructure management holistically. The newest version of the Men & Mice Suite, introduced a few months back, delivers the management power and day-to-day operational functionality through our light-weight overlay software, neatly packaged with an improved web application.  

The web application is designed specifically for day-to-day operations where speed and agility is paramount. For example, you can quickly organize and manage DNS zones and records or  IP address ranges, DHCP scopes and IP addresses. Its features are streamlined, to manage the most common tasks performed through the Men & Mice Suite with additional Quick filters and Quick command to further cut down time. If you need to deep dive into the guts of your network operations, fear not, you have the Windows management console as well.

Engineers overseeing various areas of your network can quickly respond to and solve IP allocation issues, move DNS zones and DHCP scopes, remove bottlenecks locally and experiment with moving more workloads to the cloud, without sacrificing the ever important visibility.

Automating and delegating tasks that are defined through fine-grained access controls within the Men & Mice Suite helps alleviate IT overhead and affords some localized autonomy in everyday scenarios, making day to day network management more efficient.

Infrastructure directors overseeing fragmented networks can get greater visibility and operational functionality. 

Men & Mice Suite distills powerful DDI capabilities into a non-disruptive software package, complete with an agile tool for day-to-day management, offering compatibility with Unix/Linux, Windows, and Cisco IOS as well as functionality across Azure DNS, Amazon Route 53, Dyn, NS1, Akamai Fast DNS, and IPAM in AWS, Azure and OpenStack.  Manage, sync and automate network changes and authorizations, filter and record changes through unified audit trails and get comprehensive insight into large-scale networks through one unified dashboard. 

In the last part of our playbook series, we’ll take a closer look at how to reinforce IP infrastructure security and prepare for DDoS mitigation and defense against other threats.

Topics: IPAM, IP address management, ip infrastructure, multicloud, hybrid dns, hybrid ipam, network security, network management, day-to-day IT

Men & Mice Sensible IPAM Part 3: Cloud integration

Posted by Greg Fazekas on 12/3/18 9:54 AM

 We’re continuing our series of posts on steps to creating a sensible environment from your scattered network resources, for business reliability and efficiency. In this post, we examine how to tap into flexible and affordable cloud resources without losing money on the hidden costs of migration and misconfiguration. This Playbook series consists of five parts:

0. Overview

1. Conflict Resolution

2. Scaling

3. Cloud

4. Day-to-Day Management

5. Security

Each post in the series presents real-world problems for which Men & Mice have solutions.

Pitfalls of cloud adoption on infrastructure

cloud_vendor_lockin

Imagine that you are:

  • A CTO of a global logistics company and your corporate network is diverse, due in large part to acquisitions, where segments are in cloud, co-located and in your own data centers. Your warehouses around the world have to run independently, to ensure there are no service or operations interruptions, even if cut off from the rest of the network. How do you consolidate and synchronize between on-prem and cloud networks, even when a location goes offline?

  • A network administrator and your company is tapping into cloud infrastructure for the first time. You’re tasked with overseeing workload migration and establishing processes for orchestration. Where do you start?

  • The Director of Infrastructure Services at an IoT company providing personalized services for users. Privacy is paramount, and your solution relies on heavy cloud usage — but utilizing virtual machines on-demand is slow and customers experience issues. You identify that your on-prem DNS is the bottleneck.

From a business standpoint, the advantages of cloud services cannot be overstated. While attending Gartner IOCS London last week, we saw our vision validated. The overarching message to IT Infrastructure and Operations leaders was to modernize, diversify and synchronize. Further, AWS re:Invent, which we also attended, showcased Amazon’s focus on streamlining hybrid environments, which was great news for customers of Men & Mice Suite who capitalize on our compatibility with AWS and AWS Route 53, from an IPAM and DNS perspective respectively.  The modern strategy in network is to align network architecture and operations with business logic and policy for more intelligent infrastructure.

This means capitalizing on and properly integrating cloud resources into existing networks, and avoiding hidden and unexpected costs (“What is this $100,000 bill from our [cloud provider]??” --Philip Dawson, during Gartner IOCS London). Integrating is the hard part… or at least it used to be.

We’re very much looking forward to continuing the conversation around hybrid cloud efficiencies and our leadership in DNS, DHCP and IPAM for complex hybrid networks at Gartner IOCS in Las Vegas this week.

What You Need

Every network management solution must include some kind of integration with cloud services. There’s a difference, however, between cloud-native integration at the core and compatibility as a feature or an afterthought. Worse, forcing customers to retrofit antiquated solutions into cloud services as a means of retaining a revenue model destined for extinction.

Furthermore, compatibility with a range of cloud services (from AWS to Azure to others) is important: flexibility means little if it comes with a set of strings that lock your business in. You need portability. Your network will scale up, down, in and out faster than ever before. Adaptability is key. Plus, distributed resources and redundancy protect against DDoS and other failures.

Where Men & Mice Can Help

men_mice_dns_ipam_cloud

Men & Mice Suite is an overlay solution for core of IP infrastructure management. Its flexibility as an overlay above the entire network, regardless of platform and environment, extends beyond on-prem, into cloud services as well.

Because the Men & Mice Suite handles network the same way, no matter the underlying setup or location, it’s especially suited to consolidate and synchronize, making management more efficient and automation easier. Further, its built-in reporting features (specifically audit trails) channel all network information from various resources through a central component, enabling quick, transparent data on what’s happening in your IP infrastructure and where.

If a part of the network becomes isolated, for example, Men & Mice Suite will then seamlessly sync and update once reconnected.

Another roadblock for business at the network level is incompatibility between cloud services.  Each vendor organizes data differently, with different APIs, which creates a need for specialized personnel, support services and added costs and can make moving workloads to or across cloud infrastructure frustrating at best and impossible at worst.

The Men & Mice Suite simplifies orchestration and automation through its reliable APIs, which are compatible with the best-in-class cloud services, even capitalizing on their cloud-native features.

It utilizes the existing service features to pull valuable Cloud IPAM and DNS information into a centralized management interface together with on-prem data. And all is done with minimal disruption, thanks to the software-based design and virtual appliances. 

From AWS to Azure, from on-prem private clouds to public infrastructure, the Men & Mice Suite brings a holistic approach to network core management in the age of cloud. Its simplified operations workflow cuts out hidden costs and creates a single reliable management layer for DNS, DHCP, and IPAM.

In short, Men & Mice Suite lets you scale your network to suit YOUR needs and we’ll focus on providing you with the management capabilities and visibility, no matter what’s under the network hood and how it changes over time.

In our next post, we take a look at day-to-day network core management of IP infrastructure, and how we make that simple and straightforward as well.

 Already a customer of Men & Mice Suite? You can now share your experience through Peer Insights and G2Crowd! 

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Topics: multi-cloud, hybrid cloud, hybrid network

Men & Mice Sensible IPAM Part 2: Scaling your IP Infrastructure

Posted by Greg Fazekas on 11/21/18 6:13 AM

Continuing our series on creating a sensible strategy to consolidate management of your scattered network resources, we take a look at what happens when new resources need to be added to your network.

This Playbook series consists of five parts:

Each part presents real-world problems that Men & Mice have experience in solving.

Scaling existing configurations

Imagine that you are:

  • an MSP Infrastructure Server Admin, using Microsoft. Your business utilizes Virtual Machines to handle client workloads, but without an efficient handling of IP addresses, your DNS doesn't get updated fast enough. Customers complain about lags.
  • a Product Manager for a SaaS company seeing an uptick in customer numbers. You have the system set up just right, but to handle all the demand, you are looking at pulling in dynamic resources using multi-cloud accounts. You also don’t want to add more team members to handle it, but automate instead.
  • a Director of Operations overseeing a large network spanning several locations. At the start, you used to have spreadsheets to track IP addresses, and kept configuration files practically in your head. Surely there must be a better way.

It makes no sense to start from scratch unless you have no other option. Any business that's been around for a while will have their workflows and configurations set up for the most part. And with the array of affordable cloud resources in services like AWS and Azure, moving on-prem configurations to cloud infrastructure becomes a viable option.

From smaller networks to large, from on-prem to cloud, from manual spreadsheets to automation: it’s just a matter of scaling.

What You Need

heterogenerous_IPinfrastructure

A DNS, DHCP, and IPAM solution to pull data unobtrusively from your existing configurations. You may have been using spreadsheets for tracking IP addresses, and a local library with DNS configuration files. Whatever they may be, you need to plug them into the new solution.

In addition, it needs to replicate and automate provisioning for new resources. Bonus points for a holistic approach, where various vendors can be brought in without the accompanying overhead, special training or new personnel. In short, you want to use an API-driven solution to control and manage all others.

Where Men & Mice can help

Men_Mice_DDI-1

A software-based, API-driven, and back-end agnostic solution, the Men & Mice Suite was developed to simplify core management of IP infrastructure in heterogeneous environments.

The Men & Mice Suite is a single-pane-of-glass overlay for your entire IP infrastructure, current, and future. Adding new resources, regardless of platform or vendor, isn’t hindered with compatibility problems since the software takes care of communicating with various on-prem solutions and cloud services through powerful, reliable APIs.

Overseeing multiple locations and resource allocations for different teams or projects can be done elegantly and easily. Already tested configurations can be deployed swiftly in new environments, extending oversight and reducing time for onboarding.

Once in place, configurations can be scaled and replicated easily and automatically. Copy or extend DNS zones and DHCP scopes, and deploy user authentication (including MS Active Directory) for new locations.

Spawning new virtual machines on cloud infrastructures is supplemented by IP address assignments that are reflected in all DNS servers. Once those IPs are released, the changes are automatically propagated through the network at once.

You and your team can reduce project time and cost significantly through more quickly responding to the changing needs of your business, without the need to set up lengthy processes each time.

Multi-cloud environments can be plugged into the Men & Mice Suite. Automated through a single API layer, and secured with role-based access control the network can scale out to any size and into any platform to accommodate workload, and scaled back once resources become unnecessary.

Plus, with Men & Mice, you can manage and migrate workloads to, from and between your on-prem and whichever best-in-class cloud service make sense for you. We'll cover hybrid and cloud-native solutions specifically in our next post.

 

Topics: IPAM, IP address management, IPv6, IPv4

DNS Cookies, Response Policy Zones (RPZ), Response Rate Limiting (RRL) and DNSTAP added to Training course curriculum.

Posted by Greg Fazekas on 11/13/18 7:27 AM

If you’re looking to advance your understanding of one of the most fundamental aspects of public and private networks, from the internet to corporate intrawebs, consider that Men & Mice has been delivering DNS and BIND training courses since 1999.

menandmice_unified_console_

In the coming year, we will augment these popular courses with entirely new sections on DNS Cookies, Response Policy Zones (RPZ), Response Rate Limiting (RRL) and DNSTAP as well as updates on DNS Security and DNSSEC. Many other enhancements are also being rolled out in 2019 for the DNS & BIND courses, including refinements to course materials and the introduction of new labs (including Debugging labs). Register today, to secure your spot in one of our upcoming courses.

To ensure there is a conveniently located training program nearby, Men & Mice Training events have taken place in locations spanning four continents, and deliver learning opportunities to organizations of all sizes and functions, such as:


  • Top Level Domain (TLD) operators,
  • DNS registrars,
  • Governments,
  • Universities,
  • Enterprise and SMB businesses

DNS&BIND trainingsMen & Mice's work in developing DNS, DHCP, and IP Address management (DDI) solutions has led to the development of the vendor and environment-agnostic Men & Mice Suite, which provides a holistic DDI overlay for simplifying complex management of critical network infrastructure for enterprise organizations.

The development of our public training courses and private on-site training programs utilizes our deep expertise in DNS and BIND. The courses, which are  independent from our software solution, are designed to strengthen DNS know-how both for individual career development and to bolster expertise across network teams.

Not only useful for beginners, they’re valued by those with years of expertise. Here's what as student from one of our fall 2018 courses had to say:

“There's nothing more basic to the internet than DNS.  I've been using the internet since the days of gopher in 1995.  And running networked linux systems since 1997. But this course refreshed my understanding of the fundamentals of the internet more than anything else I've done in the last 21 years. By teaching me in-depth how the internet WORKS.”

Our training courses are designed to cater to both new students and seasoned professionals. Students often realize that while their base knowledge is valuable, taking a different approach illuminates concepts they weren't aware of before. They return to work with a deeper understanding of how their roles, tasks and input related to DNS, as well as that of their colleagues, impacts the entirety of the network.

Comprehensive Training in DNS & BIND

trainingl-1

DNS & BIND Week (DNSB-W) provides an overall understanding of the fundamental building blocks of a network.

Students get hands-on workshop experience with DNS in a practical environment. Men & Mice maximizes the efficiency of training sessions by promoting tactical application rather than simply studying, pointing out along the way the large-scale correlations born from localized concepts.

DNS & BIND Advanced (DNSB-A) - following the DNSB-W and DNSB-F programs - and DNSSEC & BIND (DNSSECB) - offered again in 2019 - programs offer more advanced knowledge and practice. Designed primarily for those responsible for some of the most mission-critical of internet services - such as DNS registrars and TLD operators - they bring students to the top of their expertise.

Foundational Training in DNS & BIND

For those peripherally working with DNS, or looking to learn the basics, the first three days of DNS & BIND Week is available as DNS & BIND Fundamentals (DNSB-F).

To learn about the Men & Mice Training Program, visit our menandmice.com/training.

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UPCOMING COURSES:

NOVEMBER 12 –

NOVEMBER 16, 2018

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND

 

FEBRUARY 11 –

FEBRUARY 15, 2019

PORTLAND, OR, USA

 

MARCH 4 –

MARCH 8, 2019

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS

 

APRIL 22 –

APRIL 26, 2019

CENTENNIAL, CO, USA (NEAR DENVER)

 

JUNE 3 –

JUNE 7, 2019

GDANSK, POLAND

 

JUNE 24 –

JUNE 28, 2019

RESTON, VA, USA (NEAR WASHINGTON DC)

 

Topics: DNS training, BIND, Response Rate Limiting (RRL), Response Policy Zones (RPZ), DNSTAP, DNSSEC, Men & Mice, DNS Cookies

Men & Mice Sensible IPAM Part 1: IP Conflict Resolution

Posted by Greg Fazekas on 11/9/18 7:56 AM

Picking up on the deep dive into sensible management for your scattered network resources, this Playbook blog series consists of five parts (plus the overview we've published previously) that are:

0. Overview
1. Conflict Resolution
2. Scaling
3. Cloud
4. Day-to-Day Management
5. Security

Each part of this blog series presents real-world problems that Men & Mice have experience in solving. This week’s focus is on Conflict Resolution.

Addressing IP overlaps and DNS conflicts

Imagine that you are a:

  • CIO with several geolocations but lacking a core network management solution, whose company just got acquired. You're looking for a solution that would be a good fit for the merged environments.
  • CTO of a solutions provider for companies. One of your customers, operating two data centers and building another for cloud services, needs an IPAM solution that can bridge between on premises and cloud.
  • Consultant, advising with a project involving the merger of two environments. You're looking for a single automation platform that can resolve the issues arising from overlapping network spaces.

The number one obstacle is resolving conflicts between services, applications, network environments and geolocations, at the IP address, DHCP and DNS levels.Conflict resolution increases security, efficiency and availability. 

What You Need

dns_dhcp_ipam_analysis

An overlay solution deployed on top of your IP infrastructure. A complete overview of every asset you have, and a convenient (preferably automated) way to resolve existing conflicts between them. (And, of course, prevent further ones.)

At the first step you need an easy way to analyze data from across network components. Longer term, one that helps ensure that new IP address assignments, DNS zones, and DHCP scopes are not created without cross-checking for conflicts throughout the entire network environment, including your on-prem and cloud (and multi-cloud as is often the case now).

How Men & Mice Can Help

DNS_DHCP_IPAM

A software-based and API-driven solution, the Men & Mice Suite was developed to simplify core management of IP infrastructure in heterogeneous environments.

Software-based means nominal performance impact on your hardware and cloud resources, and easier deployment because there are no physical appliances to implement. The Men & Mice Suite works on top of any environment(s) you have without impeding performance or disrupting operations.

API-driven design creates convenient ways to manage and automate your DHCP, DNS, and IP Address Management. It also collates various platforms into a single control mechanism through a central interface. The Men & Mice Suite boasts a backend-agnostic API that plugs into network components seamlessly.

You and your team can reduce project time and cost significantly through more quickly identifying overlaps and conflicts, which are visible in the Men & Mice Suite, as well as  more quickly identifying means for resolving them. Resources, be they related to DNS, DHCP, or IP Address management, can be replaced, upgraded, or expanded without the need to start over from scratch. Plus, with Men & Mice, you can capitalize on and migrate to/from whichever best-in-class cloud services make sense for you (Azure, AWS…).

DNS, DHCP and IPAM Demo

Topics: multi-cloud, IPAM, IP address management

Fast-tracking Azure adoption with Men & Mice Suite for hybrid and cloud

Posted by Greg Fazekas on 10/29/18 9:52 AM

Creating sensible DNS, DHCP and IP address management (DDI) isn't always easy - as we've seen. Consolidating management of DNS, DHCP, and IP addresses, particularly those scattered across multi-vendor platforms both on-prem and in the cloud, is a common challenge for enterprises.

Management and migration at scale requires tools optimized for this purpose.

Fortune 100, 500 and 1000 companies as well as large-scale municipalities, education and research institutions rely on Men & Mice Suite for their IPAM and DNS. More and more are moving workloads into the cloud, which is easier with Men & Mice.

Have DNS zones scattered across different platforms and environments, and you want to migrate to Azure?

By deploying the Men & Mice Suite management solution you can:

  • bulk migrate or import DNS zones into Azure DNS
  • Use workflow extensions to automatically tag zones throughout the migration phases
  • Identify zones that have been changed at their previous provider during the migration and would need to be updated with Azure

After migration, you have the ability to:

  • track changes, delegate access,
  • see all zones across multiple subscriptions,
  • and manage the data through APIs.

In the end, you’ll have increased service levels, improved network security, and overall uptime of critical network resources.

Men & Mice: changing the way the world sees (Microsoft) networks

Utilizing cloud services is a priority for enterprises challenged by infrastructure sprawl, segmented projects, and mergers & acquisitions. But they also face obstacles in the forms of migration costs, loss of control and security, and lack of compatibility between services.

A simple, enterprise-grade product like the Men & Mice Suite offers a solution to both set of problems. It enables customers to scale with and into Azure while leveraging existing network investments.

Core benefits of Men & Mice

  • Backend-agnostic design and software-based architecture.
  • Simplifies workflows and consistency across different network operations.
  • Automates through powerful API-first design.

Intuitive integration for Microsoft environments

men_mice_DNS_IPAM_timeline

Men & Mice has been supporting Microsoft products and services since the very beginning. Working closely with Microsoft's development teams, the Men & Mice Suite was the first IP Address Management solution to fully integrate with Active Directory.

Deployed on top of Microsoft or hybrid network environments the Men & Mice Suite provides unified access and control through a single-pane-of-glass interface. Azure's built-in features for resilience, scaling, and security are integrated into an unobtrusive overlay, while gaining full Active Directory integration, network visibility, and functionality.

For more information on the benefits of using the Men & Mice Suite with Microsoft environment, download our fact sheet and watch a short introductory video:

Topics: azure, Azure DNS, network security, IP address management, DNS redundancy

5 steps to sensible IPAM for multi-faceted networks

Posted by Greg Fazekas on 10/15/18 6:57 AM

Let's say your business has just gone through a merger or acquisition. The network environments and resources are incompatible-- each using different vendors to operate and manage various segments of your network. You want to consolidate these network resources for better control, security, and efficiency. How do you go about it? Creating a project plan is a good start, until it gets out of hand and vendor lock-ins create impossible, costly hurdles. 

You need solutions that support your plan.

Men & Mice Suite DNS DHCP IPAM

Here are our five basic steps to successfully taking control of your scattered network assets. We'll cover each step in greater detail in later posts.  Think of this as a 'big picture' blueprint.

1. Addressing IP overlaps and DNS conflicts

The number one obstacle to control is resolving conflicts, at the IP address, DHCP and DNS levels. It's true, whether you're trying to integrate new network groups after a successful merger or acquisition, or simply need to get a better handle on the ones resulting from various segmented projects across your business.

Look for a solution that gives you a complete overview of every asset you have, and a convenient - even automated - way to resolve conflicts. An overlay, a solution that lives on top of your IP infrastructure and analyzes data from across network components, can help ensure that new IP address assignments, DNS zones, and DHCP scopes are not created without cross-checking for conflicts throughout the entire network.

2. Scaling existing configurations

Then there's the issue of 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it'. Many neglect to upgrade software services in fear that it will cause unforeseen conflicts that could potentially render a network inoperable. Plus, any organization that's been around for a while generally has its workflows and configurations worked out. It makes no sense to start from scratch or risk misconfigurations, unless you have no other option, right?

A proper DNS, DHCP, and IPAM suite should be able to unobtrusively pull data from your existing configurations, without further complicating the network. Even better,  if it can replicate at scale to suit your expanding needs, particularly into cloud. Look for API-first solutions that demonstrate compatibility with best-in-class providers. 

3. Taking advantage of the cloud

Speaking of expanding needs: cloud platforms offer many advantages to businesses experiencing network strain as a result of business growth and the digitization of every aspect of life and commerce. Little to no up-front costs, metered billing, and flexibility to scale up or down as needed makes cloud services attractive. They also introduce new problems, chief of which is additional network complexity and vendor 'lock-in'.

To avoid lock-in, increase scalability and portability, find a backend-agnostic solution that reduces the need for non-scalable, home-grown software and frees up valuable engineering and operational resources to focus on growth. Data and network assignments from core network components should work and synchronize across multiple platforms to adapt to changing needs.

Further, a solution that capitalizes on its compatibility with cloud-native functionality in cloud services like AWS and Azure, rather than retro-fitting its own solutions into cloud environments, is more apt to mitigate additional complexities down the line. It also give network administrators the ability to migrate between services as needed.    

4. Simplifying the day-to-day

Simplicity also boosts operational efficiency. Automating mundane network functions and unifying all on-prem and cloud DNS, DHCP and IPAM into a single-pane-of-glass console reduces network complexities.

A lightweight, agile management software should complement your desire to easily see and control everything across your network while enabling you to simplify everyday actions, scale and replicate as well as control delegation responsibilities to those in the field.

5. Securing the networks

Delegation can become one of the largest pain points when proactively defending against security issues, however. Increasing access can create more attack vectors. This combined with the utilization of multiple vendors across network functions, creates opportunities for misconfigurations and vulnerabilities. The balance between implementing conveniences and ensuring network security can often be tricky. 

Choosing a solution that enables granular, role-based access and complete operational transparency is not only useful but critical. Find a solution that allows you to retain access controls from various network components and delegate only a well-defined set of permissions to individuals or groups across network resources, whose actions are then logged through a unified audit trail.  

Keeping an eye on your bottom line

Consolidating and upgrading your core network components doesn't have to be riddled with runaway costs and operational headaches. Just like your network itself, your network management toolset needs to work for you. Both operationally and financially you need something as complex as it absolutely has to be.

Men & Mice Suite is a robust, agnostic, overlay software solution for DNS, DHCP and IP address management that includes a powerful unified console for consolidating control and visibility over hybrid and multi-cloud networks. 

Trusted for decades by the architects and managers overseeing some of the world’s largest network infrastructures, Men & Mice Suite offers simplified integration, advanced control, and improved security.

DNS, DHCP & IPAM Software Trial

Topics: multi-cloud, "cloud dns", CLOUD, networking best practices

Microsoft Ignite 2018 Takeaways: the four pillars of Network Management for DNS, DHCP, IPAM

Posted by Greg Fazekas on 10/3/18 5:30 AM

Microsoft's push for a global Azure cloud has not gone unnoticed. We have integrated with Azure and Azure DNS, which is why we exhibited at MS Ignite and why meeting our customers and talking to attendees was validating. Our solutions and development roadmap addresses their pain points in network management.

petur_petursson_msignite_2018-1

As Yousef Khalidi on the Azure blog writes: "Customers continue to ask for better ways to connect to the cloud, better protection of their cloud workloads, optimal application performance delivery, and more comprehensive monitoring services.

That's a great summary of the world of network management today, and a telling prediction of where it's heading. These core issues affect enterprise businesses who have to:

  • Balance between the needs for efficiency, scalability, and security;
  • Manage the increasingly scarce resource of IP addresses that connect the explosive growth of digital devices;
  • Strategize network restructuring to address overlaps in private namespaces that result from segmented projects, mergers or acquisitions,

We work with our enterprise customers on solutions that address these requirements, as well as providing centralized visibility and control for all their networks. Four pillars of effective network management while integrating with cloud services

1. Connect

Attendees at Ignite came with questions about migration to cloud environments. Enterprise businesses have invested significantly into on-premise networking and IT over the last two decades. Those investments are still precious. Migrating to a cloud platform can indeed seem a daunting - and expensive! - task.

We offer a solution that bridges the visibility gap (and increases operational efficiencies) between on-prem and cloud. Customers looking to migrate select workloads onto the cloud can still manage and scale their network as if it was one.

2. Protect

Security has always been a top priority in network management. And it is even more so, when heterogeneous environments share workloads with external cloud services. Cloud platforms like Azure have natively built-in redundancies and security guarantees, and the Men & Mice Suite takes advantage of those cloud-native features to deliver a holistic view across network environments.

Our xDNS Redundancy™ streamlines the migration and management of large DNS zones to monitor and synchronize changes, for example.

The Men & Mice Suite’s exceptional synergy with Active Directory (AD) was also well received. Customers can keep their on-prem configurations and access control intact and secure, save their previous investments in AD, synchronize and modernize their network management operations at the same time. It also enables access controls at the group and individual levels for greater security.

3. Deliver

We met a lot of network administrators and architects at Ignite who understood the value of non-disruptive deployment, and who were seeking solutions that can be integrated into their workflow unobtrusively.

Our goal is to provide a layer of abstraction through which you can better understand your networks. The Men & Mice Suite's architecture is software-based and API-driven. Deployment poses no interruption to existing services, and the performance impact is nominal.

The Men & Mice Suite gathers data from existing sources, and can control them, without overhead and performance impediments.

4. Monitor

Visibility in DDI provides a significant edge to businesses looking to optimize their resource use. We’ve always put that visibility front and center.

With a single-pane-of-glass interface we've made network management simpler and more efficient. Customers can save time and money by viewing and managing network resources regardless of where they are or what platform they're using.

Both the Men & Mice Suite and its recently improved web-based management application share the same affinity for simplicity and visibility. From customizable filters to automated reporting and alerts, your network is constantly under supervision.

'Ignite' means ‘start’ - where do we go from here?

Attendees of Microsoft Ignite came from companies whose IT is largely or entirely based on Microsoft products. They’re naturally looking at Azure as a complementary service to their existing resources. (Or as a competitive alternative by itself.) Our long-standing integration with Microsoft’s networking products is carried over to extend to Azure’s cloud services as well.

The aptly named event has been a great experience for us. In addition to meeting those who use technology and those who make technology happen in the business space, we’ve gathered feedback that both reinforced and expanded our development focus.

We may have been in the DNS, DHCP, and IP Address Management business for decades, but as cloud services like Azure rise and network architects have to keep reinventing themselves, so do we.

Men & Mice Suite free trial

Topics: windows 2016, Azure DNS, azure, network security, hybrid cloud, hybrid network, Redundant DNS, Microsoft Ignite

Reason to use Men & Mice for IPAM and DNS with Windows 2016 and Azure

Posted by Greg Fazekas on 9/20/18 10:30 AM

Men & Mice + Microsoft Ignite

Men & Mice at #MSIgnite

It's no surprise, given our long-standing relationship and integration with Microsoft's solutions, as well as our mutual enterprise customers, that we'll be attending the Microsoft Ignite event again this year. 

Come to Booth 108, where we'll be answering questions and demoing the Men & Mice Suite. But if you want to learn more about Men & Mice and Microsoft, here's some information that can help you understand our compatibility and how that may be beneficial to your network infrastructure management and operations. 

Book appointment

Men & Mice and Microsoft

Robust and trusted: magic words in any enterprise IT environment.

Microsoft has been able to largely dominate this space because its products are robust and its reputation is trusted. Enterprise IT professionals understand the value accountability that their network infrastructure solutions brings to the table.

With the Men & Mice Suite for DNS, DHCP and IPAM (DDI), you can leverage your existing Microsoft investments without replacing hardware or adding additional appliances. Trusted for decades by the architects and managers overseeing some of the world’s largest network infrastructures, Men & Mice offers simplified integration, advanced control, and improved security.  

Why Men & Mice?

What makes the Men & Mice DDI Suite valuable? Using Men & Mice’s software solutions with your existing Microsoft environment has numerous important advantages through our architecture, Active Directory and Azure integration.

The more robust a network is, the more complex it becomes. Men & Mice, simply put, ‘takes the daunt’ out of network management, while still staying robust and providing the ever-expanding features and support our customers came to trust.

As you scale to meet your expanding networking needs, Men & Mice offers you flexibility, portability, and complete management - all while cutting operational expenses and strengthening overall network resilience.

Architecture

Any vendor-specific appliance, including Microsoft, works best in their own homogenous environment. But the everyday realities of life rarely afford businesses the luxury of such. Once a foreign element, from another vendor or from the same but in another location, is given entry to the network, the chances for strategic disconnect and vulnerabilities multiply.

The Men & Mice suite (now at version 9.1) is an overlay DDI solution. Its architecture is designed to intuitively integrate with a Microsoft infrastructure environment or multi-vendor, multi-platform networks.

The Men & Mice Suite takes care of coordinating between hardware, software, no matter where they are or where they’re from. It unifies resources under a single-pane-of-glass interface, and can be deployed non-destructively. A powerful API serves the users for automation, while redundancies and fine-tuned access control ensures security.

Core advantages of the Men & Mice Suite architecture include:


  • Single pane of glass visibility over all DDI operations on-prem and in the cloud.
  • Audit trails across all changes to DNS, DHCP, and IPAM.
  • Granular, role-based access to objects residing with MS servers, services, and cloud subscriptions.
  • Easy and automated migration of data from server to server, or between on-prem and cloud.
  • Reliable and widely compatible APIs to automate and manage all your DDI operations and data.
  • Monitoring of data integrity and usage, such as DHCP scope and subnet utilization.

Active Directory

The Active Directory synergy of the Men & Mice suite is at the core of our product, and has been since the earliest days. As the first IPAM solution to fully integrate with Microsoft Active Directory, we can list - among others - functionality essential to enterprise businesses powered by Microsoft software:

  • Synchronization ensures real-time system integrity, allowing and propagating changes through both the Men & Mice Suite or Active Directory.
  • Role-based granular access (both for users and groups), tracking, and auditing fortifies security and boosts administrative efficiency. Users can be authenticated through Active Directory (AD) and use single sign-on (SSO) to access Men & Mice Suite.
  • Global overview and administration of Sites and Subnets directly through the Men & Mice Suite.

Portability

With the 9.1 release of the Men & Mice Suite, we've introduced a web-based application. It is designed to (further) simplify the day-to-day management of your company's network,

Having everything at your disposal all the time can often result in complicated, slow processes for even the simplest tasks. We’ve cut down on the noise, deploying our wealth of experience working with and listening to enterprise IT professionals, to identify the most common tasks.

And then we made them lightning-fast and possible to do on any device, from anywhere in the world. (While still plugging into Active Directory, if required. Portability is no excuse for less security.)

Azure

Our customers are the customers of Microsoft as well: we support their needs and investments in IT.

Microsoft takes their cloud strategy seriously, and so do we. We've been working closely with various solutions teams at Microsoft to build compatibility into the Men & Mice Suite. For example, we were the first to offer comprehensive support for Windows Server 2016 (including zone scope and DNS policies) and Azure DNS.

Whether your company is migrating to Azure from another provider, or looking to scale its existing network, Men & Mice provides support through:

  • Cloud-native integration with Azure and Azure DNS.
  • Bulk migration or import of DNS zones into Azure DNS.
  • Tracking changes, delegating access, and seeing all zones across multiple subscriptions, and managing data through APIs after migration.

It's only natural that the same compatibility, ease-of-use, security, and portability that our customers got used to with regards to Microsoft’s existing software and Active Directory, exists for Azure DNS as well. 

Topics: Microsoft Ignite, microsoft active directory, Windows, windows 2016, azure, Azure DNS, Men & Mice Suite

Men & Mice at Microsoft Ignite 2018: hybrid compatibility with on-prem Windows Servers and Azure / multi-cloud portability

Posted by Greg Fazekas on 9/5/18 2:25 PM

Fresh from the great experiences at VMWorld in Las Vegas — including a Finalist nod in the Networking category for the Best of VMworld Awards, thank you very much — the Men & Mice team is heading to Orlando, FL at the end of September, to talk all things Windows, Azure, hybrid DNS and IP address management at Microsoft Ignite 2018.

(Best of) VMworld 2018

menmice_vmworld_bestof

Men & Mice was awarded as the Finalist in TechTarget’s ‘Best of VMworld 2018’ awards in the Networking category, and we couldn’t be more proud.

We brought the Men & Mice Suite to VMworld to showcase our no-nonsense, unified approach to simplifying enterprise DNS, DHCP and IP address management. Our commitment to developing software solutions that scale and adapt to changing network needs while keeping costs and complexity down (through automation, virtualization and full network visibility) were validated both in conversations we had at our booth and reflected in the award we received for Men & Mice Suite v9.1.

The Men & Mice Suite is an overlay management solution that can be dropped on to an organization’s existing on-prem and cloud infrastructure, maximizing investments to give full visibility, synchronization and added security across network environments. Its fast-implementation and non-disruptive deployment, as well as reliable REST APIs, cloud-native functionality, fine-grained access controls and web-based management application simplifies day-to-day operations while amplifying compatibility with best-in-class platforms and vendors for greater network flexibility and portability as an enterprise network evolves.

ignite2018

At Microsoft Ignite 2018 -- Hybrid & Multi-cloud Network Management

Microsoft Ignite is a prized opportunity not just for Microsoft, but for third-party developers, like Men & Mice, to connect with customers, partners (and each other) in order to advance Network technology further.

The Men & Mice Suite was born amidst the rolling green hills of Iceland but feels right at home flying in the Azure skies of Microsoft (and on the ground in Windows Servers-based on-prem).

Ignite will focus on cloud and networking (and cloud networking.) as dialog around cloud integration shifts from“if” to “how” and “how to make it better.” From datacenter modernization, and its fundamental transition to Managed Services, to cloud-native development for future-ready network infrastructure, Men & Mice will feel right at home. We are about simplified DNS, DHCP and IP address management, after all.

Azure DNS

Men & Mice has been working closely with the Azure DNS team for a long time, to implement full support for Azure DNS in the Men & Mice Suite, an augmentation of the suite’s existing functionality with Windows-based on-prem environments, unparalleled Active Directory integration and hybrid IPAM synchronization with Azure cloud instances.

Men & Mice customers have been able to enjoy the same high availability, performance, and convenience of Azure DNS while maintaining the low cost and full control of their DNS domains and IP address blocks via the tools provided by the Men & Mice Suite.

With the newest additions to the Men & Mice Suite  v9.1, including xDNS Redundancy, which includes cloud-native integration and support, full portability of DNS zones between on-prem, cloud and between cloud vendors, fully leveraging your resources has never been simpler and more efficient. With our web-based management application you can even take everyday network management on the go, while our APIs offer powerful automation (and more!).

Meet Us at Booth 108

Drop by our booth to see how the Men & Mice Suite can increase network flexibility, scalability and simplify your Windows and Azure-based network management — including hybrid networks with on-prem Windows servers, IPAM in Azure and DNS on Azure DNS — without burdening administrators and end users with the complexities.

Come meet us in Orlando to see for yourself.

DNS, DHCP and IPAM Demo

Topics: azure, Windows, Azure DNS, Microsoft Ignite, hybrid cloud, multi-cloud, Men & Mice Suite

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The Men & Mice blog publishes educational, informational, as well as product-related material for everyone and anyone interested in IP Address Management, DNS, DHCP, IPv6, DNSSEC and more.

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