The Men & Mice Blog

Men & Mice Suite version 9.2 released with AWS multi-account management, DNS Workflow, advanced Reporting and Azure Marketplace availability

Posted by Men & Mice on 3/6/19 7:11 AM

Men & Mice Suite Version 9.2 continues to deliver on the company’s commitment to making complex enterprise IP infrastructure management, across hybrid and multicloud environments, as elegantly simple and quietly robust as customer-grade technology, but on an enterprise-grade scale.

Men & Mice Suite Version 9.2 in a nutshell (tl;dr):

●   New Workflow module (add-on): greater ease and control of DNS management by enabling users to request and optionally schedule the fulfilment of DNS changes for administrator approval/denial.

●   New Advanced Reporting module (add-on): create tailor-made reports by correlating data and templates in just a few steps, scheduling the results to be generated daily, weekly or on a custom schedule.

●   Multiple account support for AWS: manage and retrieve data from AWS master account credentials associated with up to thousands of AWS sub-accounts.

●   Availability on the Azure Marketplace: try the Men & Mice Suite on Azure, or implement with one-click install (with step-by-step instructions).

●   Improved DHCP functionality for scopes and reservations on ISC DHCP, ISC Kea, and Cisco

●    A host of added functionality for filtering, quick commands, and data displays for further mobility and ease of operations.

Free Trial of the Men & Mice Suite version 9.2

Not sure yet? Read more about the Men & Mice Suite's new 9.2 features and functionality.

Artboard 1-100Five noteworthy updates in Men & Mice Suite 9.2 for a Future-ready IP Infrastructure Strategy

Beyond the consistent improvements customers have come to expect from Men & Mice, version 9.2 of the Men & Mice Suite focuses on the expansion of cloud integration, such as AWS multi-account support and Azure Marketplace availability, as well as simplifying DNS workflows and deepening reporting capabilities with new add-on modules.

AWS Multi-Account Management

Men & Mice Suite already features cloud-native integration with AWS and Azure as well as Akamai Fast DNS, Amazon Route 53, Azure DNS, Dyn DNS and NS1 to best manage and synchronize IP address management and DNS respectively. In the v9.2 release, Men & Mice has added multi-account support in AWS, to manage and retrieve data from AWS master account credentials associated with up to thousands of AWS sub-accounts.

aws-multi

DNS zones, VPCs and subnets can be listed for each AWS account subscription, dramatically cutting down administration while guaranteeing a global view/management of the cloud infrastructure.

New Workflow Module

One of the key new features in version 9.2 is the newly introduced Workflow module for efficient request and approval of DNS tasks. The Workflow module allows users to make requests for creating, modifying and deleting DNS records and optionally schedule the fulfillment of DNS changes. 

workflow

A common scenario for using the Workflow module would be a user requesting to add a new DNS record, modify or delete an existing DNS record. The request is created and is viewable to an administrator, along with other requests from other users in one comprehensive list, for approval or rejection, scheduling or immediate implementation. The new Workflow module can be licensed as an add-on to versions of Men & Mice Suite v9.2 or beyond. 

Advanced Reporting Module

In any enterprise-level organization, transparency and a clear line of responsibility are crucial. The new, advanced Reporting module, enables users and administrators with the ability to utilize, save and export for download a variety of report templates and customized reports.

reporting

In 2018, Men & Mice introduced simplified reporting features within the Men & Mice Suite. In Men & Mice v9.2, the new advanced Reporting module takes this several steps further, where reports can be tailor-made by correlating data and templates in just a few steps, scheduling the results to be generated daily, weekly or on a custom schedule. The advanced Reporting module can be licensed as an add-on to versions of Men & Mice Suite v9.2 or beyond.

We’ll cover the two brand new modules for Workflow and Reporting in detail in the coming weeks.

Men & Mice Suite goes live in the Azure Marketplace

azure-marketplace

Microsoft’s software and services are present in just about every organization’s infrastructure, making the business of keeping critical infrastructure up and running consistent, reliable, and familiar for a lot of network managers. Familiarity of technology has its benefits, particularly when it’s possible to extend your network into the cloud within the same Microsoft ecosystem, as is the case with Azure cloud services.

The first third-party solution to have integrated with Windows 2016 and Azure DNS, Men & Mice takes its long-term technological focus a step further by simplifying availability of the Men & Mice Suite for Microsoft Azure customers. From Version 9.2, the Men & Mice Suite is available through the Azure Marketplace. Deployment can be done in a matter of minutes instead of hours, with one-click install and easy-to-follow instructions. Simple as that.

Automation and the Men & Mice REST API

Not every network task requires human interaction. In fact, the life of a network manager can be simplified by automation in the right places. Men & Mice’s REST API offers the automation and customization needed to keep teams focused on the bigger picture and help keep networks secure.

network_menmice

In addition to improved automation and customization capabilities, some other great new features introduced in Men & Mice Suite v9.2 include added IPv6 support in its network creation wizard, single-click system updates and improved management of subnets, ranges, scopes, and more.

Changing The Way The World Sees Networks

Overlay solutions, such as the Men & Mice Suite, anticipate changing network needs, focus on compatibility between services and extend network investments while combating network conflicts and vulnerabilities. Likewise, Men & Mice’s dedication to establishing both technical and business partnerships for its solutions means customers can count on DevOps-friendly automation, synchronization and the unified visibility necessary to manage the next generation of enterprise networks.”  — Sigfús Magnússon, Head of Product, Men & Mice.

Let us walk you through a demo

Free Trial of the Men & Mice Suite version 9.2

Topics: Men & Mice, DNS, DHCP, IP address management, "cloud dns", Azure DNS, aws, azure, multi-cloud, ip infrastructure, multicloud, hybrid dns, hybrid ipam

Multicloud networking: Integrating your AWS accounts

Posted by Greg Fazekas on 2/1/19 8:38 AM

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is probably one of the most well-known and utilized cloud (and soon to be on-prem) solutions providers. In addition to its technical robustness and market reach, enterprise businesses can rely on its proven reliability, metered billing and multitude of partner solutions.

When it comes to multicloud network environments, two questions occupy the minds of decisions makers:

  • When do you utilize cloud?

  • How do you maintain network health and integrity while utilizing cloud resources?

In this post, we present a few possible scenarios where synchronizing AWS resources with your on-prem corporate network is beneficial, as well as what to look for when evaluating the implementation.

When do you need AWS integration?

AWS, and cloud services in general are an attractive option to modernize and extend corporate networks and IT, providing resource availability at scale. Here are a few scenarios where Men & Mice customers are using AWS. 

  • Mergers and acquisitions create fast and immediate demand for resource scaling or consolidation. Both for incorporating newly acquired networks and migrating them

  • Project fragmentation, which benefits from a dynamically available pool of resources, as well as self-service, keeps management overhead low and minimizes bottlenecks. 

  • Physical expansions, whether new local offices and data centers or diverse geographies, enterprises take advantage of locally available resources or factor network architecture to reduce latency and increase performance.

  • Network diversification to prevent against DDoS and other malicious attacks.

Dynamic cloud in the slower moving enterprise

Enterprise businesses have developed networking practices to mitigate downtime and more frequently than ever, prevent against attacks. Starting from small-scale on-prem installations to utilizing large-scale private data centers, then cloud, diversifying the network supply chain is as mandatory as maintaining different logistics providers or materials suppliers.

More often than not, regulatory oversight also dictates much of what can and cannot be done. That presents an obstacle enterprise businesses have to consider or work around, particularly with regard to onboarding and utilizing cloud.

How to utilize AWS?

AWS and Amazon Route53 for DNS address the growing need for networking resources management in the cloud. But even Amazon recognizes the importance of visibility across an entire network setup,  introducing last fall the Route 53 Resolver for Hybrid Clouds, for bi-directional querying between on-prem and AWS.

This is exceptional news for AWS customers, particularly customers of Men & Mice Suite using AWS. Any cloud/multicloud configuration has to work natively, dynamically, and securely if its benefits are to be fully realized, a guiding principle of the development of the Men & Mice Suite. 

Natively

Cloud resources offer the most benefits when utilized to their full native extent, and synchronize with on-prem at the same time. Like spreadsheets were to IP Address Management, managing cloud services separately is both inefficient and enables a host of trouble down the line.

Proper multicloud networking needs a single management interface, an overlay,  that natively connects to the cloud and the cloud services’ features while providing complete visibility across the network, down to the management of zones and unification of audit trails.

Dynamically

If provisioning cloud resources is on par with the procurement of new hardware for the on-premise infrastructure, what’s the point? Scaling up or down using the cloud is an attractive concept, but unless it’s also easy to implement, adapt  and migrate when needs change, much of the benefit is lost.

Dynamic resources require, beyond native integration, a programmable and automated interface, capitalizing on APIs to simplify processes and retain security configurations.

Securely

It's critical to network security to have the ability to enforce the same property structure and protocols for network entities, regardless of whether across multiple cloud platforms, accounts or on-prem, to ensure adherence to corporate standards for network and IP provisioning. Likewise, retention of access controls, and complete visibility in network audit trails is equally important. 

Your IP infrastructure management software has to be able to handle management, synchronization and reporting, cohesively, authoritatively and securely.  

Utilizing Men & Mice with AWS

multicloud-cover

Overlay solutions, such as the multicloud-enabled Men & Mice Suite, alleviate these management, visibility and portability concerns.

The Men & Mice Suite comes with

  • native integration with IPAM and DNS residing in AWS and Amazon Route 53

  • replication and synchronization of multiple DNS zones through xDNS Redundancy™

  • an easy-to-use, web-based graphical interface for management of the entire multicloud network and a single compatible API layer for automation,

  • enterprise-grade security feature set and granular, role-based access controls.

  • Multi-account management of AWS accounts or an AWS account with multiple child accounts (note: upgrade to Men & Mice Suite 9.2 required for this feature).

The Men & Mice Suite keeps the chief advantages of multicloud networking (heterogenization of resources) while maintaining a homogenized management overview.

More clouds

What happens when your network is fairly homogenous — like, say, relying mostly on Cisco, Linux or Microsoft servers on-prem? When looking into cloud solutions, what are your deciding factors? Does multicloud help minimize latency across specific global operations? Can you increase diversity in your network infrastructure supply chain and mitigate security risks simultaneously? 

The short answer is yes. We'll dive more into these topics in the next few posts. 

Topics: hybrid cloud, hybrid network, aws, Amazon Route 53, multi-cloud, ip infrastructure, multicloud, hybrid dns, hybrid ipam

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.

 

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

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

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, network security, ip infrastructure, multicloud, hybrid dns, hybrid ipam, network management, day-to-day IT

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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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