The Men & Mice Blog

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

Men & Mice DNS Conference Roadshow 2018

Posted by Paula Gould on 5/28/18 12:22 PM

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Earlier this month we flew to Berlin to host an event at the residence of the Iceland Ambassador to Germany for customers, partners and interested DNS infrastructure managers. The event featured opening remarks from Ambassador Martin Eyjólfsson as well as talks from Magnus Björnsson, CEO of Men & Mice, Carsten Strotmann, who is a renowned DNS expert and also part of Men & Mice professional services; Sigfús Magnússon, VP of Product Management, Heimir Gunnlaugsson, CEO of Microsoft Iceland and Marc Eggenberger, experienced IT infrastructure consultant, iET SA | ITS - Central IT.  Closing remarks were delivered by Svana Helen Björnsdóttir, Chairman of Men & Mice. 

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As we expand the Men & Mice DNS, DCHP and IPAM solutions to cater to Network Managers expanding their DNS and IPAM to cloud and virtual environments, we’re increasing our focus on in-person events. Our event in Berlin was the first in our series of activities to meet our customers where they do business.  While your networks become more virtual and automated, we're making sure your engagement with our Men & Mice services team is personable.

Last week we spoke at Latitude59 in Tallinn, Estonia.

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This week we are onsite at Managed Services & Hosting Summit in Amsterdam  and will deliver a keynote at Startup Iceland on 31 May, an event for which we are also a proud sponsor. 

We'll kickoff our June activities by exhibiting at Cisco Live in Orlando, Florida from 10-14 June. We'll visit Microsoft Inspire in July and exhibit at VMWorld in August before heading to Microsoft Ignite as exhibitors in September. Hope to see you soon! 

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Topics: DNS events, CLOUD, DNS, Men & Mice

Version 8.3 – Faster, Leaner, Fitter DHCP

Posted by Johanna E. Van Schalkwyk on 1/11/18 11:16 AM

Doing DHCP

The beauty of DHCP is the speed at which it functions. Basically, DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) does what administrators can do manually, but DHCP just does it automatically, more efficiently, and in a fraction of the time.

Size can trump speed

Yet the bigger a network gets, the more DHCP servers and scopes are needed to dynamically assign, or lease, IP addresses and related IP information to network clients. The number of servers and scopes and the way the load is distributed and processed affect the speed at which networks can keep DHCP data fresh and IP leases available for use. On large networks, how efficiently DHCP lease data is documented, processed and synchronized becomes just as important as the initial matchmaking between DHCP clients and servers.

The relationship between DHCP client and server

DHCP does the hard work of handling communication between servers on a network, and client computers trying to access that network. If the series of messages between a DHCP server and a client computer would be illustrated as a conversation, it would probably look something like this.

DHCP conversation.png

Mind you, at any given moment on a large network, hundreds, or even thousands, such conversations can be occurring simultaneously. On top of that, the client computer sends its DHCPDISCOVER broadcast packet to all available servers, and all available servers can respond with a DHCPOFFER. The client is not programmed to be picky and always accepts the first offer it receives. Once they detect that their offers were not accepted, the other DHCP servers will withdraw their offers. In short, there’s a whole lot of to-and-fro action behind the scenes that is invisible to network administrators and users, but still finds its way into DHCP servers’ lease history. 

To complicate matters – or simplify it – these DHCP client-server relationships, or leases, are mostly temporary arrangements. Both parties know it will end. The server will revoke the lease once it’s expired. The client, on the other hand, can attempt to keep the lease by renewing it, or start looking for another IP address lease if the one they had had expired.

Apart from doing matchmaking between clients and servers, DHCP also ensures that each network client has a unique IP address and appropriate subnet masks. If two clients were to try and use the same IP address, neither of them would be able to communicate on the network.

These rotating relationships make the way DHCP lease data is documented, processed and synchronized so much more critical. If this is not done fast and efficiently, the whole process of dynamically assigning IP addresses can become slowed down, leaving DHCP clients, servers and ultimately network users, frustrated and ineffective.

Making DHCP management faster, leaner and fitter

Once networks run to hundreds, or thousands of DHCP scopes and servers, one needs to re-assess the way DHCP data is processed, and develop ways to improve speed and efficiency. This is exactly what Men & Mice developers set out to achieve in Version 8.3 of the Men & Mice Suite.

DHCP optimizations in Version 8.3 include:

  • Reduced network traffic, especially between the Central server and a DHCP server controller 
  • Improved database performance when processing data from a DHCP server
  • Reduced load on a DHCP server while it is being synced

Optimizing processes in these areas has resulted in lightening the often heavy load on DHCP servers, making DHCP server management considerably faster and more efficient – and more pleasurable for the people in charge of keeping it all going, all the time.

To dig into the more technical aspects of these enhancements and get the lowdown on what this boost in DHCP performance and scalability could mean for you or your network, get in touch with one of our sales engineers to walk you through the details.

 

Topics: DHCP, Men & Mice Suite, IPAM, CLOUD, Akamai, Performance

Men & Mice Breaks New DDI Ground with xDNS Redundancy and Multi-Cloud IPAM

Posted by Men & Mice on 6/29/17 1:30 PM

The joke goes: “How did God create the universe in seven days? No legacy infrastructure.”

Funny (or not) as that may be, how to make the most of legacy infrastructure in the age of accelerating technological disruption and rapid cloud services adoption, is the harsh reality most enterprises face today.

Well-known for its fast, reliable and efficient performance on large enterprise networks, the Men & Mice Suite already has a reputation as the go-to, enterprise-class, software overlay DNS, DHCP and IP Address Management (DDI) solution. With the release of Version 8.2 of the Suite, Men & Mice further solidifies our position as the commercial DDI solution best equipped to help large enterprises capitalize on legacy infrastructure, while adopting cloud services to advance business agility and scalability.

The Men & Mice Suite – IP wherever you are 

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Almost three decades of expert innovation in DNS, DHCP and IP Address Management has given Men & Mice unique insight and expertise into creating solutions that confidently mitigate the shocks of technological disruption.

Built as an enterprise-grade, back-end agnostic solution and deployed on top of DNS and DHCP infrastructure, the Men & Mice DDI Suite pulls together critical network data from wherever it is kept, on-premises, in the cloud, hybrid cloud or multi-cloud, and turns a potential hot mess into a comprehensive overview, accessed and controlled from a single pane of glass.

The Men & Mice Suite provides consistent administrative controls on heterogeneous networks, with unparalleled support for Windows DNS and DHCP, BIND, Unbound, PowerDNS, ISC DHCP, Kea DHCP, Cisco IOS, OpenStack and Azure DNS and Amazon Route 53.

Designed to integrate seamlessly with the VMware Orchestrator framework, the Men & Mice Suite VMware vRealize Orchestrator plug-in allows for fast and efficient provisioning of virtual machines.

The first DDI solution to fully integrate with Microsoft Active Directory (AD), the Men & Mice Suite incorporates management of users and groups through AD, while granting access rights and building up roles and responsibilities through the Men & Mice Suite, ensuring advanced and secure granular role-based access management.

Offering you the flexibility to control your network as it suits you best, the Men & Mice Suite provides three powerful interfaces: the Men & Mice management console, the Men & Mice web interface, and, the strong and consistent Men & Mice API, communicating in SOAP, JSON-RPC and REST. The Men & Mice API, especially popular with our customers, provides the robust abstraction tools necessary to build and extend automation.

New in Men & Mice Suite Version 8.2

From Version 8.2, the Men & Mice Suite’s back-end agnostic capabilities are extended to include advanced, multi-cloud IP Address Management and integrated support for external DNS service providers.

Building on the flexibility of its architecture, Men & Mice Suite Version 8.2 consolidates on-premises and cloud networks in one view and point of access through support for IPAM in Azure and AWS, and by adding support for DNS service providers NS1 and Dyn to existing Men & Mice support for Azure DNS and Amazon Route 53.

Unique on the DDI market, and new in Version 8.2, the Men & Mice xDNS redundancy feature enables multi-platform DNS redundancy for ultimate network high availability, and successful mitigation of the fallout from DDoS attacks and other DNS failures.

xDNS redundancy provides the abstraction level necessary to replicate and synchronize critical DNS zones across multiple DNS service provider platforms, eliminating the possibility of a single point of failure resulting from dependency on one external DNS service provider.

Men & Mice - Changing the way the world sees networks

As IT matures into a key element for easily scalable business development and product delivery, and ultimately a driver of business growth, the need for high network availability, reliability and performance escalates.

For Magnus Bjornsson, Men & Mice CEO, delivering DDI products that boost business performance by bridging the gap between on-premises, cloud, hybrid cloud and multi-cloud network environments, is a challenge happily accepted. “We live in a world that’s getting more complicated by the minute. Cloud vendors are continuously bringing powerful new services online and enterprises are wrestling with how and when to best utilize them. Men & Mice Suite Version 8.2 is a landmark release, tackling this great challenge with innovative new features. Consolidating hybrid and multi-cloud IP Address Management in a single view and bolstering DNS availability across service provider platforms with xDNS redundancy, are great steps towards strategically improving the most critical of a company’s IT assets – its network. The Men & Mice Suite, used to run some of the largest corporate networks on the planet, is designed to give you the freedom and flexibility to use the back-end platform you want, to build the network you need.”

Looking for more?

Follow these links for more information on Men & Mice xDNS redundancy feature, or multi-cloud IP Address Management.

To see Men & Mice xDNS redundancy in action, check out the xDNS Redundancy webinar, jointly presented by Men & Mice and NS1.

Curious about how the Men & Mice Suite can benefit your network? Get in touch with one of our Men & Mice Sales Engineersor get your free Version 8.2 license for a complimentary 30-day trial experience.

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Topics: DNS redundancy, CLOUD, High availability, Security, IPAM, DNS

Dipping into Azure DNS with Men & Mice DDI solutions

Posted by Men & Mice on 3/8/16 10:13 AM

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It’s snowing. Still. One could be excused for dreaming of azure blue skies scattered across azure blue oceans. Instead, the Men & Mice team is making do with a whole other Azure - Microsoft’s nifty cloud platform.

Though Microsoft’s Azure doesn’t come with cocktails on the beach, it definitely brings another dimension to the world of IT. And who are we to say no to that?

Not everyone is ready to ‘go’ cloud. Some organizations that host specifically sensitive data, such as in healthcare, for instance, are somewhat more reluctant to take the leap. Many others dive in wholeheartedly, making large parts of their operations, or even their entire enterprise, -aaS compatible by adopting platform as a service (PaaS), software as a service (SaaS) or transforming their servers, storage and networking into infrastructure as a service (IaaS). 

The saying goes that there’s more than one way to skin a cat, and there’s certainly more than one way to go cloud. The most basic division is private and public, basically meaning you want to keep yourself to yourself in a private cloud (on-premise, hosted or both) or you don’t mind sharing infrastructure in a public cloud. And for those who don’t want to limit themselves to one or the other and prefer to use a mix of on-premise, virtual private and public options, there’s the hybrid cloud, straddling the best of both worlds. 

Under all the private, public, virtual and on-premise versions of all the -aaS, there is a vast variety of applications, services, software and hardware offered by a large number of vendors. If you were to put your computing snorkel on and break the surface of this world of the cloud, there’s sure to be an array of IT wonders to be tried, tested and discovered – if you are that way inclined.

Even so, not everyone is blown away by the cloud – its beginnings can best be described as rather tentative – and not everyone is ready to jump on board. Yet there’s no denying that both business operations and IT business solutions are drifting towards the cloud at great speed. IDC, the market research company, projects growth in public and private cloud storage to go from 29% of the total market in 2014 to 60% by 2019. Carla Arend, IDC’s Program Director for European Storage and Cloud Research, was recently quoted as saying that “85% of new enterprise applications are developed for the cloud, while legacy applications are gradually migrating to cloud-hosted virtual machines and/or containers.”

We at Men & Mice are not here to tell our customers whether they should go cloud, or, if they do, which degree or combination of cloud-hosting they should choose. We do, however, feel our customers should have the freedom to explore cloud computing safe in the knowledge that the Men & Mice Suite will serve as their dedicated DDI sidekick during their cloud adventures.

To simplify our customers’ freedom of choice, the latest version of the Men & Mice Suite, Version 7.1 (released in January 2016), includes full support for Microsoft Azure DNS. This next step in cloud dexterity comes on top of support for AWS Amazon Route 53, which was already added to the Suite in 2014. Follow this link for instructions on how to configure an Azure DNS connector through the Men & Mice Suite. More information on Azure DNS can be obtained here.

So there you have it. Snow or no snow, cloud or no cloud, blue skies or no skies, at least we can safely say that the Men & Mice Suite is seeing in the virtual realties of 2016 completely Azure-sure.

Cheers to that!

 Request more info on  Men & Mice and Azure

 

Topics: DDI, CLOUD

Men & Mice Suite Version 7.1 Released

Posted by Men & Mice on 1/14/16 10:30 AM

Men & Mice, one of the world’s leading providers of DNS, DHCP and IP address management (DDI) software solutions, announces the release of Version 7.1 of the Men & Mice Suite.

The Men & Mice Suite is a software-based IP Address Management (IPAM) solution, used by many large and growing global enterprises, to establish secure and efficient control of their networks.

As an overlay solution with a particularly robust SOAP API, the Suite is deployed on top of existing DNS and DHCP servers, thereby granting seamless control over hybrid environments that include Linux, Unix, Microsoft and Cisco IOS servers - all without the need to replace your current IP infrastructure, and providing tight MS/AD integration where required.

Supporting a wide range of DNS and DHCP servers (BIND, Microsoft DNS/DHCP, Unbound, Cisco DHCP and ISC DHCP) and increasingly reaching further into the cloud with support for Amazon Route 53 and, from Version 7.1, also Microsoft Azure DNS, the Men & Mice Suite offers superb solutions for network administrators involved in the daily battles of administration, planning, auditing and reporting in large networks.

Major Version 7.1. Highlights

Release Strategy and Naming Scheme

Version 7.1 introduces the Men & Mice long term support (LTS) release strategy, concurrent with the new Men & Mice Suite version naming scheme. Both the LTS release strategy and the new Suite version naming scheme aim at better aligning Men & Mice products with the diverse protocols and demands existing in our customers’ individual operating environments. For more information on the Men & Mice release strategy and naming scheme, please read the white paper here.

Azure DNS

Together, Amazon and Microsoft are the undisputed leaders in cloud services with their respective cloud computing platforms, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Azure. In 2014, Men & Mice took the initiative with transforming DDI for the cloud by adding support for AWS Amazon Route 53. Now, from Version 7.1, Men & Mice is taking DDI cloud dexterity one step further by also adding support for Microsoft Azure DNS. Known for its versatility in heterogeneous operating environments, support for Azure DNS further strengthens the Men & Mice Suite’s ability to scale successfully with businesses as they grow outwards, and upwards, into the cloud.

Other highlights of Version 7.1 are:

  • Microsoft SQL Server 2014 is now supported as a database backend for Men & Mice Central.
  • Improved usability with the First Use Wizard. Users will now be able to paste in all license keys at once instead of having to paste them in one at a time.
  • The Linux installers for the Men & Mice Remote Controllers have been improved and features added, such as a silent mode which enables the user to automate the installation of the Men & Mice Remote controllers.
  • A new Scope Creation Wizard makes creating DHCP scopes even easier.
  • No need for untimely upgrading prompts. From Version 7.1, the Update Manager has been adapted to accommodate long term support (LTS) releases. Users can now select if they only want to be notified of LTS releases in the Update Manager.
  • DHCP lease history gathering has been improved, lightening the load on SQL servers.
  • Men & Mice Suite administrators can now disable one or multiple servers from within the Men & Mice Suite.

Detailed release notes on Version 7.1 can be obtained here.

 

Men & Mice Suite version 7.1 Free Trial  


 


About Men & Mice

Founded in 1990, Men & Mice is headquartered in Iceland.  Drawing inspiration from our strategic geographic location midway between the USA and Europe, we possess a unique perspective on the challenges of DNS, DHCP and IP address management faced by medium to large, and growing, global enterprises today.

The combination of our extensive experience and expertise and our excellent software products, provides our customers with versatile, yet highly reliable, DDI solutions.

In a competitive DDI market, we pride ourselves on our ability to adapt our solutions to suit our customers’ needs. We don’t expect our customers to adapt their needs to suit our solutions.

Men & Mice has operations in the US, Europe and Asia, as well as resellers in many countries.

Contact us at Sales or Call us at +1 408.516.9582 to speak to a sales representative.

Topics: Men & Mice Suite, IPAM, CLOUD

Hybrid Cloud DNS with the Men & Mice Suite

Posted by Men & Mice on 2/2/15 9:55 AM

Since its humble origins as QuickDNS for the Apple Macintosh, the Men & Mice Suite has evolved into a comprehensive management solution for existing heterogeneous DNS/DHCP environments, with a powerful IPAM module that allows for seamless AD Sites & Subnets management in Windows Active Directory environments. Since 2011 Men & Mice have also offered the Men & Mice Appliance for customers that desire integrated DNS/DHCP or caching appliance solutions.

Introducing the Generic DNS Server Controller

In 2014 Men & Mice introduced the Generic DNS Server Controller, an extension of the existing Men & Mice DNS Server Controller that allows the Men & Mice Suite to integrate with any DNS server product that features an API to access and update DNS data.

The result is a flexible DNS solution that can deploy and centrally manage a wide variety of DNS products within a single hybrid environment, all without having to replace existing DNS infrastructure.

Better living through scripting

With the Generic Controller, communication between the DNS Server Controller and the DNS server itself is not hard coded; instead, a scripting interface is called instead of directly accessing the server whenever changes are made through the Men & Mice Management Console (or any other Men & Mice client interfaces).

Men & Mice currently provides two scripts (written in python) to interface with a cloud based DNS service (Amazons Route53) and PowerDNS (with a MySQL back-end, which is widely used as authoritative DNS in the ISP market). These scripts can be further tweaked and configured to interface with any number of different DNS servers without changes to the core infrastructure.

Looking forward

What does this mean for Men & Mice's customers?

Put simply, it can significantly lower infrastructure costs when moving into the future; should you plan to migrate your data into a cloud based DNS service or even switch over to some other DNS product types like PowerDNS you can still use the Men & Mice Suite to manage the DNS/DHCP and IPAM with all the advantages it brings, such as audit trails, automation, and delegation.

Hybrid Cloud DNS with the Men & Mice Suite
  • An administrator requests a change on the DNS server via the Men & Mice Management Console, which connects to the Men & Mice Central server.
  • Men & Mice Central connects to the DNS Server Controller and relays the change request.
  • The DNS Server Controller deploys the change and reports success or error back to Central.
  • Central reports back to the administrator.

Topics: DNS, IPAM, DHCP, Men & Mice Suite, CLOUD

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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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