The Men & Mice Blog

Greg Fazekas

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It's a multicloud world, we're just managing it.

Posted by Greg Fazekas on 1/22/19 10:13 AM

 

After initial resistance, the IP, and more broadly network, infrastructure market has begun its love affair with multicloud in earnest. During the Gartner IOCS events last fall in Las Vegas and London multiple analysts expressed how the maturing of network management includes not only cloud, but the use of  multiple cloud vendors within a network architecture.

But in business circles multicloud can still present a number of questions, such as:

  • What is a multicloud network?

  • Why choose (or learn about) multicloud?

  • What are the advantages (and disadvantages) of multicloud networks?

In this series we'll answer those questions, and more - from business use cases to vendor-specific (AWS, Azure, VMware) implementations.

What is a multicloud network?

Simply put, 'multicloud' is the use of multiple cloud environments within one network.

A multicloud network can be

  • comprised solely of multiple cloud vendors,

  • or a hybrid network utilizing both on-prem infrastructure and more than one cloud service.

Hybrid multicloud IP management

For network managers, the multicloud’s advantage is diversity of supply chain and distribution of resources. In addition, multiclouds offer automation for streamlining task loads and eliminating misconfiguration (human error) as well as adding redundancy to protect against attacks, all while ensuring a backend-agnostic implementation of cloud network technology.

Why multicloud?

By utilizing various vendors, IP infrastructure managers can take advantage of the strengths of each cloud service. This affords companies more

  • flexibility & portability,

  • agility,

  • security & reliability.

Both cloud-native and external support IPAM and DNS services benefit from a multicloud management approach.

Flexibility & Portability

Cloud networks can do many things, but there's no vendor that does everything for everyone. For example, some may offer robust facilities for IP addresses but lack the requirements for a proper DNS solution. Another vendor’s great infrastructure for running DNS may lack the necessary pool for allocating IPs.

Due to this, and the desire to capitalize on best-in-class solutions for complex network needs, cloud adoption often naturally turns to multicloud. With overlay solutions that integrate with compatible APIs configurations can be freely migrated, replicated, and scaled - therefore creating agility.

Agility

Companies who take advantage of multicloud with the visibility of overlays have better tools to achieve better resource utilization across the board, and easier migration and scaling processes to meet business demands, rather than limit them.

Furthermore, multicloud networking offers better redundancy - a key for security and reliability.

Security & Reliability

When it comes to failover, redundancy is key. Dangers from both inside (such as human error) and outside (malicious DDoS attacks or simply hardware failure) can render networks unusable unless they can offload workloads seamlessly.

In the unlikely event of all things going wrong, any one cloud service’s all-encompassing SLA may still have blind spots for your network setup, particularly since you may be using those various services to cover a multitude of different needs. But a multicloud environment, and more so a hybrid environment (in this case we mean a mix of on-prem and cloud/multicloud), can offer reliability by enabling the distribution of resources (i.e. eliminating single point of failure in the network supply chain).

The Men & Mice Suite is built for hybrid and multicloud networking

multicloud-cover

To take advantage of multicloud networks, businesses need solutions that are widely compatible and capitalize on cloud-native functionality. Without the former the range of options is limited (defeating the purpose of multicloud) and without the latter much of the ROI of the process is lost (due to limited efficiency).

Men & Mice develops network management solutions at the DNS, DHCP, and IPAM level.

Like a multicloud, the Men & Mice Suite has been widely compatible backend-agnostic, beginning with on-prem compatibility with Windows, Cisco and Linux/Unix then into the cloud with AWS and Azure as well as several cloud DNS services like Akamai FastDNS, DYN, NS1, Amazon Route 53 and Azure DNS. Instead of relying on a specific vendor or technology (or even a select few of them) we've focused on facilitating the communication between them while also offering a powerful management solution within the Men & Mice Suite.

The Men & Mice Suite is API-driven, software-based solution that integrates cloud-native resources and functionality. We know that creating a network focused on strengthening business progress means creating a complex network. Our focus is on simplifying these complexities in the network management process-- helping the network help the business.

Stay tuned

After this overview, in the coming weeks we'll be examining the particulars of multicloud environments and networking.

Whether you’re looking for platform-specific information, business use cases, or technological discussions, you’ll find it in this series. Subscribe to our blog updates to make sure you don’t miss anything, and let us know if at any point you’d like to know more about a particular subject.

You can also find us on social:  

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Topics: multi-cloud, network management, ip infrastructure, IP address management

New Year Resolution: 20th Anniversary of Men & Mice DNS & BIND Training

Posted by Greg Fazekas on 1/10/19 12:12 PM

 

New Year, Newly Trained You!

Many people love to use the new year as an opportunity to set goals for self-improvement. Whether it’s improving health or taking a chance on yourself to go for those big career goals you’ve been putting off.

If you’ve been looking for the perfect opportunity to either learn DNS & BIND or refresh your knowledge, we have the perfect series of courses to bring you up to speed.

For 20 years Men & Mice Training has helped professionals in Network Management, including executives, System Administrators, Network Architects and Network Managers learn principles, best practices and strategies for DNS and BIND.

Why learn DNS?

Nothing in the Digital Era happens without DNS. Business functions and services are increasingly, exclusively online, as are nearly all areas of our lives. DNS makes networks work. If you want to know how to keep things running smoothly online, then it helps to fully understand DNS.

Suffice to say, DNS is important.

Why learn from Men & Mice?

It'd be easy to point to our track record (since 1990!) of developing DNS, DHCP, and IPAM software solutions to highlight why we feel (and our students feel) that our DNS & BIND courses are exceptional. Since 1999, we’ve offered independent public and onsite private training to professionals and organizations such as:

  • Top Level Domain (TLD) operators,

  • DNS registrars,

  • Governments,

  • Universities,

  • Enterprise and SMB businesses

Our instructors and program coordinators value comprehensive, practical teaching methods. As such, our course materials are decidedly not "animated user manuals" - they cover DNS contextually, with real world examples and hands-on labs.

Our 2019 resolution was to augment our course materials to include new sections on DNS Cookies, Response Policy Zones (RPZ), Response Rate Limiting (RRL), and DNSTAP as well as other refinements including the introduction of new debugging labs. This resolution aligns with our ongoing commitment to ensure our courses are relevant to real wold scenarios and stay up-to-date.

In short, you'll learn what DNS is, what it means today, and why having this knowledge is valuable to your own career growth and to your company’s network.

Training designed for context

Men & Mice offers two main training paths: DNS & BIND Week (DNSB-W) and DNS & BIND Advanced (DNSB-A).

The former covers the fundamentals, with practical training and tactical application.

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).

The latter DNSB-A, and the security focused DNSSEC & BIND that we will offer again this year, teaches the ins and outs of DNS mastery, and the subsequent use cases and resulting business values.

Even experienced network professionals get value out DNS & BIND Week, like this student who took our course in 2019:

"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."

When, where, and how

Men & Mice offers training courses and certifications in_ (1)

To learn about the Men & Mice Training Program, take a look below and visit https://menandmice.com/training.

 

FEBRUARY 11 –15, 2019

PORTLAND, OR, USA

 

MARCH 4 - 8, 2019

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS

 

APRIL 22 – 26, 2019

CENTENNIAL, CO, USA (NEAR DENVER)

 

JUNE 3 –7, 2019

GDANSK, POLAND

 

JUNE 24 - 28, 2019

RESTON, VA, USA (NEAR WASHINGTON DC)

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Topics: DNS training, BIND, day-to-day IT, network management, hybrid dns, DNSTAP, DNS Cookies, Response Policy Zones (RPZ), Response Rate Limiting (RRL)

Men & Mice Sensible IPAM Part 5: Security of IP Infrastructure

Posted by Greg Fazekas on 12/28/18 11:18 AM

In the final instalment of our 5-part series on IPAM (and really, more broadly, DNS, DHCP and IPAM), we’re taking a look at sensibly managing security in a scattered network environment. From large-scale DDoS attacks to mitigating human error, security measures come in all shapes and sizes — often overwhelmingly so. Here’s what you can do to stay ahead.

(TL;DR version: you need a DDI overlay to increase security on your network... and we happen to offer a great one).

This Playbook series consists of five parts:

Each part presents real-world problems for which Men & Mice has provided solutions.

Opposites attract… security problems?

Imagine that you are:

  • The CTO of a Managed Service Provider, whose own network is the first line of defense to protect customers. Your services are sensitive, as gaining access to or bringing down your network would compromise those utilizing your MSP solution. 

  • The Lead Network Administrator of a mid-sized enterprise company recently expanding with new employees (and devices), through M&A activities, arriving daily. Onboarding new people is your technological challenge, balancing their need for autonomy and network resources with your requirement to maintain security protocols.

While opposite in scale, these problems can wreak the same amount of havoc in both cases, and network security is of paramount importance, more than ever.

What You Need

Much of network security is inherently present in the technology used. Orchestration and synchronization between different software providers, interfaces and hardware, however, needs to be done well.

Good security practices have to be sensible to be ubiquitous across the network, instead of obstructive. They have to be simple at their core and robust in their execution to prevent and solve problems. Let’s face it, your network is complicated enough.

How not to approach IP infrastructure management (1)

Some of the more overlooked security vulnerabilities in network management today include:

  • Visibility challenges, or lack of central, unified overviews resulting from incompatible or simply different services (i.e. the variety of interfaces and functionality of each individual service that comprises the entirety of a network)

  • Misconfigurations or incompatibilities (what you do in one area of your network may not synchronize or be compatible with another area of the network, particularly with cloud vendors).

  • Human error (Hey, we all make mistakes. But automating can remove this ever-present challenge, increasing the health of the network).

  • Loss of control (how can you restrict access to increase security and focus on providing autonomy only where needed.)

Where Men & Mice Can Help

How to approach IP infrastructure management

Retaining network security on the DNS, DHCP and IP address level has been a core design principle for the Men & Mice Suite from day one (which was nearly 30 years ago). Managing the fundamental components of the network means great responsibility: if the foundations are compromised or out of sync, the entire network is at risk.

The first security risk the Men & Mice Suite has addressed in the evolving world of hybrid network management, was to eliminate synchronization and misconfiguration hurdles between on-prem services and cloud services, then across cloud providers, enabling greater automation and utilization of network resources, independent of what are the services themselves. Then, we centralized management of these diverse and otherwise incompatible resources into one place.  

This backend-agnostic, API-first overlay approach gave way to the xDNS Redundancy feature, which helps further mitigate DDoS and other malicious attacks.

If parts of the network become unavailable during an event like a DDoS attack, xDNS Redundancy prevents shutdown by switching to alternate resources. Once the affected resources are once again accessible, changes and updates are automatically synced across the entire network.

Due to the Men & Mice Suite's powerful, compatible APIs different network resources are processed and managed the same way within the Men & Mice Suite. This means that replicating or migrating DNS zones or DHCP scopes between network environments requires no special consideration or prolonged processes, making your DNS, DHCP and IPAM more nimble.

In addition, health alerts within the Men & Mice Suite provide the visibility necessary to proactively address misconfigurations, address space overlaps and malicious attacks while minimizing its effect on user experience.

Likewise, unified audit trails within the Men & Mice Suite help identify the source of an issue and on what area of the network, providing richer data to inform proactive decisions.

More often than any company would like to admit, especially in the age of post-Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) enterprise culture, security breaches can occur through human error. A simple password used across multiple mission-critical logins, a laptop stolen or left digitally unguarded, a malicious email attachment downloaded with malware, trojans or droppers, all can quickly take down or manipulate areas of your network, wreaking havoc.

The Men & Mice Suite’s granular access controls, including its integration with Microsoft Active Directory, provide solid security templates for preventing unnecessary access (and therefore unnecessary vulnerabilities) on the network. Retaining existing configurations and implementing new ones is easy, replicated, synched and scales as needed.

IT is no longer a department but a holistic and critical business resource. In 2019, we’ll be placing emphasis on closing the gap between IT professionals and IT users, on-prem and cloud teams as well as the increasing importance of overlays. It is our goal to showcase the importance (and value) of  proper DNS and IPAM for businesses, and the effects (and context) of eliminating network hindrances that complicate or slow business decisions.

Lesson 1: A quick way to learn about DNS Protocols

Here's a recent discussion during EuroBSDCon on DNS protocols and what will be changing in the future (DNS over TLS vs. DNS over HTTPS) by Carsten Strotmann on behalf of Men & Mice. We'll elaborate on this topic a bit more in 2019 during our talk at UTmessan in Reykjavik, February 8 & 9. 

What you need to know about DNS Protocols_ The good, bad and ugly of DoH and DoT

 

Topics: network management, hybrid ipam, hybrid dns, ip infrastructure, network security, Security

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:

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:

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

 
2019

 

LOCATION  

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:

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

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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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