The Men & Mice Blog

Network virtualization with visibility and automation of DNS, DHCP and IPAM

Posted by Greg Fazekas on 7/16/18 8:45 AM

The Men & Mice Suite version 9.1, released last week, introduced several new features and improved functionality for hybrid and multi-cloud networks. One of the additions we developed in our mission to change the way the world sees networks is a cross-platform, easy-to-use web-based management application.

Seamless integration

We intend the web-based management application for the Men & Mice Suite to be the go-to interface for the most common tasks. In the future, it will also serve as the central platform for our innovations across DNS, DHCP and IPAM (DDI). We're highly focused on developing an increasing number of partnerships to make integration across services and vendors even more seamless.

Day-to-day DDI operations made simple


With three major sections — DNS, Networks, and Reporting — the Men & Mice web-based management application is organized around operational efficiency.

Where the existing Windows-based management console of the Men & Mice Suite gives you the full range of configuration and management options for your networks, the web-based management application focuses on day-to-day tasks, such as finding and working with DNS zones or records, IP address ranges, DHCP scopes and IP addresses. You may want to use the full Men & Mice Suite application for the yearly inspection or the large restructuring of your networks, but can quickly get things done from anywhere, on any device, with the web application.

Quick Commands: lightning-fast, best-in-class user experience

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Another way the web-based management application helps to efficiently manage networks is through its Quick Commands feature.

If you ever used the Spotlight functionality in MacOS or the universal search bar in other platforms or services, you know how a deceptively simple function can save incredible amounts of time. The Quick Command feature interacts with a single click or key combination (ctrl+space) and uses auto-complete to arrive at the needed information or function in just a few keystrokes. 

We’ll continue to focus on and add functionality to Quick Commands in future releases. As it gets smarter, so to will your network management get easier.

Visit the Men & Mice Suite web-based management console guide for more information on its capabilities and full functionality.

Virtualization and automation 

In addition to our virtual DNS/DHCP appliances and Virtual DNS Caching appliances, in a larger context of network management, the v9.1 release of the Men & Mice Suite continues to forge its path towards greater network virtualization and automation. The Men & Mice Suite restores and significantly improves the unified network visibility usually forfeited in the process of virtualization, intuitively pulling data from critical network components and consolidating it in an easy-to-use UI with extensive centralized control and functionality.

The Men & Mice Suite offers unrivalled integration with Microsoft Active Directory Sites and Subnets, combined with real-time synchronization across diverse server environments and distributed virtual and physical locations.

The comprehensive built-in tracking and logging tools ensure the systematic keeping of records. It's important to know who made what change, when, where, and why. Transparency takes the sting out of the fast and dynamic change procedures that are the hallmarks of virtualized environments.

Access management is granular and fully integrated with Active Directory. Role-based access provides strong, centralized control and delegation. Different IT teams experience painless cooperation and efficiency, respecting the often hazy task boundaries created by the transformation from physical machines to virtual instances.

The Men & Mice roadshow continues!

men&mice_vmworld_Booth #2124

What we do at Men & Mice is help companies with large, complex network infrastructure automate and virtualize their networks. We also believe in the value of other forms of networking-- meeting customers and future customers in person.

We’ll be exhibiting at VMworld in Las Vegas August 26-30, to showcase the Men & Mice Suite at booth# 2124.  We'll report in on our social media and on this blog — hope to see you either there!

Topics: hybrid cloud, hybrid network, IP address management, External DNS, VMware, vmworld, DNS, DHCP, Men & Mice, DDI

Men and Mice @ Cisco Live: Intuitive IT through intuitive DNS

Posted by Men & Mice on 6/5/18 8:00 AM

Visibility in DNS management is more important than ever. As networks become increasingly hybrid and migrate to cloud environments, managing multiple vendor systems and consoles adds new complexities to enterprise DNS management.

Men & Mice minimizes these complexities, reducing network vulnerability by unifying distributed DNS networks in one management console, additionally filtering activity through audit trails for full visibility and reporting.

We're excited to exhibit at Cisco Live (#CLUS) again this year to showcase how intuitive IT benefits from intuitive DNS. 

We're looking forward to showcasing what's changed since we visited Cisco Live last year:

  • We released version 8.3 of the Men & Mice Suite with unprecedented stability, performance and scalability.
  • We introduced xDNS for multi-vendor DNS management in the cloud.
  • We doubled the size of our service team to better cater to our customers. 
  • We added Live Demo capabilities to menandmice.com and streamlined our customer on-boarding process.

Visit us at Cisco Live! We'll be at booth #1113.

 Book appointment

Visit us to learn how to get DNS network visibility and manage complex DNS infrastructure with ease.

menandmice_dns_CLUS_ linkedin

Topics: hybrid network, DNS events, External DNS, Cisco Live

The Future of DNS Management. The DNS Management of the Future.

Posted by Greg Fazekas on 5/25/18 9:50 AM

 

Unifying_decentralized_DNS

Streamlining network management (bringing together on-premise DNS, DHCP, and IPAM with multi-vendor cloud DNS and IPAM, compatibly) is more important than ever. Cloud-based systems and the rapid expansion of digitally connected IoT are driving infrastructure growth. It’s especially important for companies to have full visibility, authority and control across public, private, and hybrid networks.

The foundational technologies of DNS operations have stayed largely the same. DNS management, however, has changed and adapted - and keeps changing and adapting--  to meet the new challenges of business services and growth.

Centralizing the decentralization of DNS

As enterprise IT moves to the cloud, it creates the necessity to have effective DNS and IPAM in the cloud as well. Importantly, it’s also necessary to have cohesive communication and oversight between both on and offsite environments to maintain uptime, smooth network functionality and prevent vulnerabilities.

But making the switch to hybrid and migrating to the cloud can have its challenges, especially for those who already made significant investments in on-prem hardware and software, have numerous established DNS zones or who have large networks that they would need to bulk migrate. Further, navigating legal compliances across multiple geographic zones and ensuring data security at every connection point adds to the hurdles that companies face in maintaining, scaling, and updating their networks.

Men & Mice knows a thing or two about these changing infrastructure needs and has been focused on creating solutions that simplify complex environments for nearly 30 years. Our software not only helps companies effectively manage existing DNS and IPAM needs, but adapts to meet future needs as networks scale. Our overlay network management solution, the Men & Mice Suite, provides customers with unprecedented stability, performance and scalability.

Future of DNS and IPAM in the Cloud: A modular overlay solution

Flexibility and scalability require a multi-platform solution where the same automation can drive DNS deployment no matter if it’s with AWS, Azure, NS1, Dyn, Akamai or something else. It also needs to effectively managing complex networks by eliminating visibility gaps between traditionally different deployments in public cloud and on-premise private configurations.

Our xDNS Redundancy streamlines DNS management across multiple service provider platforms, helping to mitigate DDoS attacks and other forms of DNS failure by providing centralized management of critical DNS services.

Men & Mice Suite offers consolidated views in a unified console, secure monitoring and integrated management of all network spaces across platforms and on-premises, in the cloud, or in hybrid or multi-cloud environments. Additionally, authorized administrators are allowed to make changes directly through the Men & Mice Suite, with its robust access control, ensuring they can only change entries that belong to them.

Men & Mice has been at the forefront of network management for almost as long as there were networks to manage. We’ve been creating DNS, DHCP, and IPAM solutions for decades for on-premise networks and have evolved our software solutions to cater to the growing needs of network administrators tasked with managing cloud-based DNS and IPAM.

See you at Cisco Live!

menandmice_dns_CLUS_ linkedin

We love the theme of this year’s Cisco Live: IT that informs, connects, predicts and enables.It embodies the principles of the Men & Mice Suite. We'll be in Orlando, Florida from 10-14 June, to showcase the next generation of DNS and IPAM solutions for those overseeing the staggering number of IPs that comprise today’s DNS infrastructures. Visit us at booth 1113 to learn more.

Topics: Monitoring, Redundant DNS, External DNS, hybrid network

Topics: hybrid network, External DNS, DNS redundancy, Redundant DNS, hybrid cloud

Secure Your DNS Across Multiple DNS Service Platforms with Men & Mice xDNS Redundancy

Posted by Men & Mice on 7/10/17 12:50 PM

DNS (Domain Name System) is the most critical aspect of any network’s availability. When DNS services are halted, or slowed down significantly, networks become inaccessible, leading to damaging losses in revenue and reputation for enterprises.

To ensure optimal network availability, many enterprises depend on top-tier managed DNS service providers for their external DNS needs. The basic “table stakes” characteristics of an enterprise-class managed DNS service are high reliability, high availability, high performance and traffic management. However, even the most robust DNS infrastructure is not immune to outages.

Outages may be localized, in which only certain DNS servers in the network are not responding, or, less commonly, system-wide. A system-wide DNS failure can take an entire business offline - the equivalent of power failure in every one of their data centers.

To prevent this, top-tier managed DNS systems have a great deal of built-in redundancy and fault tolerance, yet the danger of a single point of failure remains for enterprises that rely solely on a single-source DNS service.

If no system of DNS is failure proof, this begs the question: what should an enterprise do about it?

Using multiple DNS service providers for ultimate DNS redundancy

DNS availability statistics for managed DNS providers shows that the industry norm exceeds 5 nines (99.999%) uptime. This is the equivalent of about 5 minutes per year downtime. However, this top line number does not provide any detail on the impact of degraded performance, or the cascading effect of a system-wide outage of various duration, on individual enterprises.

To discover the true impact of a potential loss of DNS availability, enterprises need to properly assess the business risk associated with relying on a sole source provider, and compare that with the cost of a second source DNS service. What would a 30-minute loss of DNS cost the business in terms of revenue loss, reputation damage, support costs and recovery? What does it cost to maintain a second source DNS service?

Research amongst enterprises for whom online services are mission critical generally concludes that the cost ratios are in the range of 10:1 – one order of magnitude. Put another way, the cost of one outage is roughly estimated to be ten times the annual cost of a maintaining a second service. A business would have to have second source DNS for ten years to equal the cost of one major DNS outage.

Looking at the odds and costs of outages, many enterprises are opting to bring in a second, or even a third, DNS service to hold copies of critical DNS master zones.

This system of external DNS redundancy boosts DNS availability by:

External-DNS-Redundancy.png

1. removing the danger of exposure to a single point of DNS failure.

2. reducing traditional master-slave DNS redundancy vulnerabilities, where slave zones can’t be changed if the master becomes unavailable.

3. improving infrastructure resilience by hosting critical zones with multiple providers, ensuring continued service availability and updates of changes if one DNS service provider becomes unavailable.

The risky business of maintaining DNS redundancy across platforms

In theory, DNS redundancy across multiple DNS service provider platforms should be the best solution for optimal DNS high reliability, high availability and high performance. In practice, however, the complexity of tasks and scope for error involved in replicating and maintaining identical DNS zones on multiple platforms pose additional threats to DNS availability. The situation is made worse by:

  • A lack of centralized views
  • A lack of workflow automation
  • The difficulty of coordinating multiple platform APIs

This inability to view, synchronize and update identical zones’ data simultaneously can, in itself, lead to errors and conflicts in DNS configuration and result in a degradation of network performance, or even a network outage – the very events that multi-provider DNS redundancy is intended to prevent.

Protect your DNS on multiple platforms with Men & Mice xDNS Redundancy

Breaking new ground in the battle against DNS disruption, the Men & Mice xDNS Redundancy feature provides the abstraction level necessary to replicate and synchronize critical DNS master zones across multiple DNS service provider platforms, on-premises, in the cloud, or in hybrid or multi-cloud environments.

Men & Mice xDNS provides a unified view and centralized management of DNS data, regardless of the DNS service provider platform. Network administrators and other authorized users can use xDNS to perform necessary updates to their network’s DNS, as well as benefit from building automation with the powerful Men & Mice API, instead of having to dig around in different DNS platforms and deal with coordinating conflicting APIs. DNS-redundancy-and-Men-and-mice-suite.png

Combined with the flexibility of building automation on top of the Men & Mice Suite, xDNS offers you the freedom to better distribute your DNS load based on zone priority, performance requirements and accompanying costs. With xDNS, you are better equipped to steer the tiered price points of externally hosting, for example, critical high-performance or less essential low-performance zones, and utilize the DNS service best suited to your situation at a given time.

 


How xDNS Redundancy Works

Using the Men & Mice xDNS feature, create a zone redundancy group by selecting critical zones from DNS servers and services such as BIND, Windows DNS, Azure DNS, Amazon Route 53, NS1, Dyn and Akamai Fast DNS.

Once an xDNS zone redundancy group has been created, xDNS assists the administrator in creating identically replicated zone content, resulting in multiple identical master zones. Additional zones can be added or removed from the xDNS group as required.

All changes initiated by the user through Men & Mice, both the UI and API, will be applied to all zone instances in the group. All changes made externally to zones existing in the xDNS group, will be synchronized to all zones in that particular xDNS group. However, if DNS record conflicts arise, xDNS will alert the user and provide an option on how to resolve conflicts before the group is re-synchronized.

If an xDNS zone is not available for updating, for instance if one DNS service provider experiences an outage, that zone will be marked as out-of-sync. Once the zone becomes available again, it will be automatically re-synchronized and will receive all updates that were made while the DNS service was unavailable.

 

 

Men & Mice and NS1

NS1, the leading intelligent DNS and traffic management provider, recognizes the growing need for diverse application resiliency. NS1 has joined forces with Men & Mice in improving the efficacy of external DNS redundancy. Kris Beevers, Co-founder and CEO, says:

"Leveraging multiple managed DNS networks is the clear best practice for maintaining 100% uptime in today's rapidly evolving operational environment.  Configuring and operating multiple managed DNS services can be a complex, time-consuming process.  NS1 is excited to partner with Men & Mice to help enterprises minimize management overhead and seamlessly enable redundant DNS. xDNS Redundancy is well-suited to enable multi-network DNS without the usual headaches."

Men & Mice xDNS – making external DNS redundancy truly resilient

DNS redundancy is a great concept on paper, but a daunting challenge in practice. With xDNS, enterprises can seek out second, or even third source DNS services, confident in the knowledge that their DNS, and ultimately their business, will truly be safer that way.

Magnus Bjornsson, Men & Mice CEO, considers xDNS an important step towards providing enterprises with greater, and more reliable, network availability.
“Recent prominent network outages once again illustrate the critical importance of building more effective network resiliency through a powerful and secure system of DNS redundancy. Men & Mice xDNS provides a simple way for companies to manage their DNS on multiple external platforms, with the Men & Mice Suite software automatically taking care of the replication and synchronization of data in a reliable and consistent manner. We are looking forward to cooperating with NS1 on developing xDNS and extending DNS redundancy offerings.”

Men & Mice xDNS takes the ‘daunt’ out of maintaining external DNS redundancy, providing the centralized views and control necessary to reduce the risk of network exposure to a single point of failure, improve network reliability and performance and bolster the successful mitigation of DDoS attacks and other potentially harmful DNS incidents.

To learn more about xDNS Redundancy, check out the xDNS webinar, jointly presented by Men & Mice and NS1.

Check out the video to discover how it DDI all comes together:

Or try it out in the Men & Mice Suite:

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Topics: High availability, DNS redundancy, DDoS, External DNS, DNS, Failover, Security

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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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