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.
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.